Transparency Index improves citizens' control over public budgets
14 July 2010 - Brazilian states still do not allow society to adequate oversight of public spending. Half of the sites maintained by governments with data from state budgets received a score below five in the Transparency Index released on Wednesday (14) in Brasilia, with the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Created by the Open Accounts Association and a group of specialists in public accounts, the index represents a stimulus to improve the information provided by governments to society.
The indicators were calculated according to technical and non-partisan criteria. Classified in a ranking, also including the Federal Government, the best grade among the analyzed sites was given to the Federal Transparency Portal (7.56). "It is a site created almost seven years ago and therefore has expertise in the subject. It served up as a parameter for other state and municipal sites", explains Gil Castello Branco, Secretary of Open Accounts. Among the states, Sao Paulo was the highest score (6.96), followed by Pernambuco (6.91).
Castello Branco believes that much still needs to be done to ensure that every citizen has full control of public resources use: "The Transparency Law, which forced public entities to publish their accounts on the Internet, is very recent, but it is already a landmark for social budget control. Despite the low grades, many governments are realizing that access to information is an essential citizen right".
The Transparency Index is based on parameters set by a committee of eight members - teachers, technicians and journalists. "The law requires the publication, but it doesn't necessarily mean transparency, because the site may have a purposefully hermetic language. We want to know if the information available allows, indeed, the monitoring of public accounts by the society", says Castello Branco.
The Secretary of Open Accounts clarifies that the index is not an indicator of probity or administrative efficiency in public resources allocation. But the more transparent the site, the greater possibility of any irregularity be detected by sectors of society. "Budget transparency will become an important instrument of civil society control on public accounts. We hope that the periodic dissemination of the Transparency Index will eventually positively impact on the quality and legality of public spending in Brazil", says Castello Branco.
Comprising three sub-grades assessing the content, update frequency, time series available on site and usability, the index is updated periodically. In August, it will be presented the Transparency Index for the Brazilians capitals and, in October, the ranking of cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants.
The complete list of the Transparency Index and information analysis on each state government's site, besides the Federal Government's Transparency Portal is available at www.indicedetransparencia.org.br.
Open Accounts Association
(+55 61) 3963.0013 / 9146-8892
Milton Júnior e Amanda Costa
CDN Corporate Communication
(+55 61) 3704.7660
Source: Associação Contas Abertas