Madrid (ACN.) The Catalan Government, alongside the executives of the Basque Country and Castile and León, is leading the index of Autonomous Communities in terms of transparency, according to a study issued on Thursday by the organisation Transparency International Spain. These three Autonomies scored 100 out of 100 in the study, which was based on 80 indicators. They were followed by La Rioja (96), Galícia (94) and the Balearic Islands (93). The Region of Madrid occupies the last position in the ranking, with 65 points, behind the Region of Múrcia (79), the Canary Islands (80) and Castilla-La Mancha (84). The average across Spain is 88.6 out of 100. The study called upon regional governments to indicate the exact location of various data and information about elected officials, political appointments, organisation and personal wealth.
The Catalan Government achieved 100 points out of 100 in the four principle areas of the investigation: the autonomous community information; relations with citizens and society; financial transparency; transparency in the procurement of services, works and supplies; planning and public works; and indicators on the new Transparency Law.
Occupying the middle of the table, below the Balearic Islands, were Valencia (93), Asturias (90), Navarre (89), Andalusia (88), Cantabria (88) Aragon (85) and Extremadura (85). The Spanish average was 88.6.
Transparency is "a matter of attitude"
At a press conference in Madrid, the President of Transparency International Spain, Jesús Lizcano, highlighted the different political colours of the three governments of the autonomous communities that lead the table. This indicates, according to Lizcano, that transparency “is not a political question but an attitude.”
Manuel Villoria and Jesús Sánchez-Lambás, the authors of the study, stressed that transparency is the antidote to corruption and congratulated the Autonomous Communities that have improved their scores compared to the two previous reports of 2010 and 2012. This was the case in Catalonia, which earned 82.5 points in 2010 and only 78.8 in 2012.
Catalonia has a “comprehensive” web-portal on transparency
Lizcano highlighted the “very important” positive developments in Catalonia, which in July 2013 launched its own transparency portal (www.transparencia.gencat.cat/), that have allowed it to get the maximum score in this index in 2014. The Catalan Government “published everything we asked, as did the Basque Country and Castile and León” said Lizcano, “and, as citizens, we must be satisfied that Catalonia published these 80 important things.”
Madrid deemed less transparent
Madrid on the other hand has gone down the opposite route, occupying the last position with 65 points, after receiving 72.5 in 2012 and 80 in 2010. Across the areas of the study, Madrid occupies the last place in the Autonomous Community information (47.6); relations with citizens (71.4); and publication of indicators that the new transparency law calls for (50).
An improving average
The index shows that all together the Autonomous Communities have improved their level of transparency over the past four years. In 2010 the Spanish average was 71.5 points, rising to 79.9 in 2012, and reaching 86.6 in 2014.
According to the authors of the report, this is the result of a greater degree of preparation and publication of the data information that the new law on transparency enacted in December 2014 enforces.
Within the different areas of the study, the autonomous communities fared worst with regards to economic and financial transparency, where the average is 76 points. Conversely, they performed better in relation to information note on urban planning and public works, with 95 points on average. In the section on relations with citizens, the average is 94.1 points.
Preparation of the study
The study was drawn from the end of April 2014, when all regional and autonomous community governments received information on the 80 indicators that comprised the index. A month later, in late May, the organisation sent the questionnaire to be returned indicating the exact location of the requested data.
When preparing the score, the authors gave a point if the information indicator was published on the autonomous community’s website, and none if there was no information.
In particular, the organisation validated the Communities’ information on elected officials and political appointments; organisation and personal wealth, and regional institutions and rules. It also evaluated the features of the website; the citizen information service; the budgetary and accounting information; income and expenses and so forth. Each Autonomous Community’s data on debt, its procedures regarding the procurement of services, its relationships with suppliers and contractors, as well reports, announcements and tenders for public works were also examined by the study.