Global Access to Information Initiative
Implementation Assessment Tool
The international trend of passing access to information legislation continues, with approximately 90 countries claiming a statutory right to information. However, many of these countries' agencies are failing to fully and effectively implement their law, and at present there are few objective means of analyzing and addressing this critical problem. While there have been a number of initiatives related to model laws and promoting key statutory principles, as well as important studies undertaken to assess government compliance with its law and the extent to which persons who request information can receive it, there remains a dearth of information regarding the middle stage of establishing a right of access to information - the law's implementation.
In this regard, The Carter Center began development of the access to information legislation Implementation Assessment Tool (IAT), which serves the dual purpose of diagnosing the extent to which the public administration is capacitated to respond to requests and to provide information, as well as providing an implementation roadmap for the government. The IAT is designed to assess the specific activities/inputs that the public administration has engaged or in some cases failed to achieve in furtherance of a well-implemented law. It is deliberately designed not to focus on the sufficiency of the legal framework, the user side of the equation, or the overall effectiveness of the access to information regime. The IAT is constructed to serve as an input for each public agency in which it is applied, and not as a comparative index across countries.
The objectives of the access to information legislation implementation assessment tool (IAT) are to:
Over the past two years, the Center's global access to information initiative has developed the methodology indicators, and scoring system for the IAT, and completed the first piloting of the tool. Through expert meetings and consultations, the IAT has evolved into a tool that can easily be applied to identify implementation progress and areas for additional focus. The Carter Center now is preparing to launch the second pilot phase in the perfecting of the indicators and application of the IAT.
With local partners and experts, The Carter Center plans to conduct two additional pilot phases in selected countries, refining the tool and set of indictors and values each time, based on the application and findings. The Center hopes to complete the full series of pilots, utilizing Global Integrity's Indaba, engage in a series of additional peer reviews, and make all necessary modifications to the tool by the end of 2012. Ultimately, it is our hope that the IAT will serve to encourage and support stakeholders (government, civil society, scholars, donors, etc.) to be more effective at advancing the right of access to information.