Date Published: April 4, 2019, 9:15 a.m.
he Veeduría Distrital is an independent preventive control agency that analyses and seeks to prevent administrative inefficiencies and corruption risks in the city of Bogota. Public Policy of Transparency for Bogota (PPTB), Integrity and No-Tolerance with Corruption, is the first of its kind in the country and the region, it aims to address the institutional weaknesses, prevent, investigate and sanction corrupt practices that involve the public, private actors and citizens. The main problem and the context in which the PPTB was enabled, was a process managed by the District’s administration in which indicators of corruption were gathered from the city of Bogota. The information indicated high levels of corruption from the public servants which generated institutional weaknesses. After analyzing the information with other monitoring agencies and with the aim of strengthening institutional structures and the trust if citizens in the District’s institutions, the PPTB was designed along other actors in order to reach the best solution for the problematic. One major constraint in its construction was the disparity in criteria and analysis presented by different actors on the subject. Several studies by actors in the public and private sector are not often updated. This aspect made it difficult to compare between relevant information and the possibility of monitoring other indicators in order to establish a baseline. However, the policy drew information based on four working areas, allowing for a more detailed study of standards and to draw not only from empirical studies but also from gathering data based on perception studies and different focus groups. The policy also determines critical areas where new information needed to be constructed. Actions on this regard were included in the fourth objective of the policy.
With the PPTB, Bogota has a clear working path towards the fulfillment of the SDGs following objectives:
- Overall objective: Strengthen institutions in order to prevent and mitigate the negative impact of corrupt practices.
- Specific objectives:
o Move towards an open government through the implementation of transparency actions to guarantee the right of access to information, participation and citizen collaboration.
o Achieve a sustainable culture of integrity in public servants and citizens that will improve the appropriation of public goods and services.
o Ensure the implementation of anti-corruption measures for prevention, detection, investigation and sanction of corrupt practices through a collaborative work.
o Strengthen institutional capacities of Bogota’s public agencies in order to articulate processes and existing controls on public and private institutions.
For its implementation, the city allocated COP 2,2 billion. The main sources of funding come from the investment and operating expenses of the city’s agencies from the capital. In 2016, Secretaría General de la Alcaldía Mayor de Bogotá and Secretaría Distrital de Gobierno joined the Veeduría’s effort and drafted the PPTB jointly.
I. Preparation (2013-2016):
The Veeduría Distrital established the first guidelines and definitions of the Public Policy through a participative approach, which led to the construction of a “Proposal for structuring the public policy” as a preliminary justification against corruption.
II. Public Agenda (2016-2017):
Collection, systematization and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data. The Veeduría Distrital organized several focus groups to identify the main problem, diagnosis, objectives and strategies of this policy.
III. Formulation (2017-2018):
A “Diagnosis and identification of strategic factors” was drafted.
1. Monitoring: The three agencies that lead the public policy will be in charge of the follow up.
2. Evaluation: In three phases, a short term, two years after the approval, a six-year evaluation and a final 10 years evaluation.
Based on its objectives, the PPTB will first focus on improving access to public information, by creating and implementing an open government action plan for Bogotá that aims to align the city with international and national standards.
With the second objective of the policy, the city looks to regain confidence in its institutions and to recognize public values of integrity in the city’s management. The idea is to develop a strategy for the implementation of an Integrity Code in district public agencies and to create a protocol for the development of transformational projects aimed at promoting voluntary changes in perceptions, attitudes and practices.
The third objective of the policy presents a series of guidelines, actions and tools that seek to prevent corrupt practices in Bogotá. The first product of this objective is the implementation of an Early Alert System for public management of the city, which will articulate diverse sources of information on public procurement, planning, finance and citizen’s services.
Lastly, within the fourth specific objective of the policy, the city will work on developing corruption studies with the private sector, NGOs, academia and social organizations.
The public policy prioritized 11 strategic factors that are contained in four main working areas: 1).Transparency and open government 2). Integrity culture 3). Adoption of anti-corruption measures 4). Institutional capacities.
Finally, for the construction of the PPTB, actively includes different actors from the public and private sector as well the academia and NGOs participated actively as key stakeholders. Currently, the implementation phase of this policy involves the 15 sectors of the city’s administration, 20 local city halls, 56 agencies and three control agencies who will be directly responsible for actions and projects set in the policy’s 10-year action plan.
The structure of the policy’s action plan begins with four working areas already mentioned in the objective, these are developed through 10 concrete results and 104 products to be delivered across fifteen sectors of the city’s administration.
Bogota’s Public Policy of Transparency, Integrity and No Tolerance with Corruption is a long-term planning instrument with actions developed from the city’s agencies and the involvement of civil society actors, academia and citizens. It is based on a 10-year action plan, which guarantees its sustainability both structurally and financially that will improve transparency and the administration’s reputation in the city. The initiative came to live as well as the Index for Transparency for Bogota ITB as a precedent. It was launched as a tool to gather information from all the capital’s agencies and rank them with specific criterias involving the risk for corruption the agency had. These clear and general guidelines as well, enable the initiative to be highly adaptable and easy to transfer to local structures for cities around the world.
By another side, for the implementation of the policy, the city allocated COP 2,2 billion. The main sources of funding for the policy come from the investment and operating expenses of the city’s agencies responsible for products established in the action plan.
The policy’s model can be easily implemented in other large cities that are interested in applying a set of actions and mechanisms targeted at transparency and anti-corruption. Most importantly, this policy looks to improve the institutional capacities of public administration, by presenting ways to rethink institutional designs and implementing new actions targeted at prevention and promotion of integrity with the public and private sector