"When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced to the stage of science, whatever the matter may be."
Lord Kelvin

Hungarian Municipalities Abide by the Law? Analysis of urban municipalities’ websites in Hungary – 2013-2015

 

July 18th 2016

This report analyses information disclosure practices on 368 Hungarian municipalities’ websites from 2015 and it compares the results with the ones from 2013 with the following focus points:  transparency, accountability, and informing citizens. The analysis is based on the laws regulating information disclosure in Hungary. The report measures the degree to which municipalities’ websites abide by the legal requirements.

Transparency and openness are among the most important indices that are capable of representing the integrity and law-abiding nature of municipalities. We noticed some improvements, where the Hungarian municipal websites had more statutory information in 2015 than in 2013. Nonetheless, it is common knowledge that the Hungarian local governments tend to fail to obey the laws regarding information disclosure.  In 2015, the cities achieved 45 points out of 100 at the Hungarian Municipality Openness Index (2013: 44 points) and 60 points out of 100 at the Obey the Law Index (2013: 54 points). The example of numerous municipalities demonstrates that it is possible to fully abide by the laws and achieve high level of transparency.

The public procurement law changed in 2013 and now it is not obligatory to publish the contracts. Because of this, we can expect that the local governments will publish them. However, the number of the capital districts and county towns that publish the contracts has increased by 3 and 17 percentage points. At other cities, the number has decreased by 10 percentage points. Thus, we can say that if there is no obligation for the disclosure then there is no incentive for the smaller towns to publish the procurement contracts.

It is possible that municipalities neglecting their transparency obligations are also subject to high corruption risks. The lack of transparency obviously creates a sort of fundamental problems on legal compliance, because not following legal requirements set by the state itself can deteriorate the respect for law among citizens and enterprises.

Report in English (pdf)

Summary in Hungarian (pdf)

Rank of the Hungarian urban municipalities by the Municipality Openness Index (MOPI) and by the Obey the Law Index (OLI) (pdf)

Rank of the Hungarian urban municipalities by MOPI and OLI values (xlsx)