GEO

The monitoring of the official website of the Adjara autonomous republic supreme council

24 June, 2014

The findings related to transparency and monitoring of the AAR Supreme Council official website displays that the agency has failed to fully comply with information disclosure obligations and has not properly used Internet resources to inform citizens.

The AAR Supreme Council  website does not disclose critical information such as: the general overview of the Supreme Council functions and activities, reports of the Council committees’ performance, quarterly salaries, supplements and bonuses of the Supreme Council members and staff, as well as draft laws and legal actions initiated by the Council.

The technical status of the AAR Supreme Council website www.sca.ge is of great concern - the website  is not user friendly and lack functionalities, in particular: the website does not offer a search engine, it is impossible to identify the date and time when a legislative act was issued. Moreover, the web archive field that should contain information covering the period from 2008 to 2013 is blank.  

The monitoring of the AAR Supreme Council official website conducted by TI Georgia covered the period from May 1, 2014 through June 10, 2014 and resulted in the following findings:

Information on the AAR Supreme Council sessions

Pursuant to the AAR Supreme Council Rules of Procedure, the Bureau and Commission sessions are open. The pertinent website, however, does not publicize the place and time of the sessions or their agenda. The website does not have a separate field from which stakeholders can  choose scheduled sessions. The information on the scheduled sessions instead of being published in advance appears on the website only after the sessions have been held.

Absence of draft laws from the website

The AAR Supreme Council does not release information about the draft laws it has initiated.

Over the period from 2012 through May 2014, the AAR Supreme Council has submitted to the Georgian Parliament 11 draft laws. However, none of them have been posted on its website. For example, the website’s news box contains information from May 13 2014 on the Supreme Council Commissions consideration of the issue of setting up a Gender Equality Council and approving its regulations. However, the AAR Supreme Council website does not contain information on the amendments to the law on Gender Equality initiated by the AAR Supreme Council and approved by the Georgian Parliament within a very short time.

The Budget and the Document on Priorities

Under part 3 of Article 10 of the AAR Supreme Council Rules of Procedure, the AAR budget draft including annexed materials, as well as the document on priorities shall be placed on the AAR Supreme Council website for public access upon its submission to the Supreme Council.

As of now, neither the approved draft law on the budget nor the document on priorities has been available on the AAR Supreme Council website.

The AAR Supreme Council Regulations / Rules of Procedure

Under part 2 of Article 98 of the AAR Supreme Council Rules of Procedure, the Supreme Council rules of Procedure, decrees, resolutions, appeals, and the AAR laws shall be published on the AAR Supreme Council website.

The website does not contain texts of decrees, resolutions, and appeals. In regards to the Council's Rules of Procedure, they are published on the website, but as the website has no direct link function, the document is virtually untraceable (ie the document is not directly reachable via URL). In addition, the possibility to access desired information is further complicated by the fact that the site also lacks a search engine.

Biographies of the Officials

The AAR Supreme Council website contains biographies of all its members (first name, last name, photographs and other biographical data). Accordingly, the users are able to become familiar with the officials’ backgrounds and know whether the positions held by them are appropriate to their experience.

The information on the days and hours allotted for the personal reception of citizens is also missing from the website.

Transparency International Georgia appreciates that the AAR Supreme Council makes active use of its official Facebook page to communicate with the citizens, posting a variety of information on it. However, it should be noted that public institutions should use social networks only as an additional source of communication with the public and that these social networks cannot replace the official website in terms of providing exhaustive information. TI Georgia recommends that the AAR Supreme Council improve the website. They recommend that they make it more informative as mandated by the law and in  doing so take into account the site’s main purpose: to allow as many people as possible to have easy and user-friendly access to legal or other actions and receive updates about upcoming changes or events. At the same time, TI Georgia calls on the Council to  provide a website with a very clean and intuitive interface - its current design and structure make effective navigation impossible.

The AAR Supreme Council should take into account that the Decree mandating the Council to proactively publish any public or public interest information on its website has been in force since 5 May, 2014. Also, the Council should provide for the possibility of obtaining public information through its website electronically.

Transparency International Georgia appeals to the AAR Supreme Council to make its website as informative and user-friendly as possible: the users must have easy access to the disclosed information. It is also important that the Council implement its own decisions and allow stakeholders to electronically request information in the shortest possible time.

Author: Ana Berdzenishvili