Brazil Making Plans to Monitor New Law

17 February 2014

Brazil is planning to make improvements in managing its new law on access to information, according to a Brazilian official involved in implementing the 2011 law.

Brazilian officials are looking to better utilize its computerized request system according to Otavio Moreira de Castro Neves, a Brazilian official in the Office of the Comptroller General who spoke at a World Bank seminar Feb. 12.

One goal it to develop better indicators that will help “follow up more strategically” on where the law is working well and where it isn’t., he said.

Also in the works are plans to publish online requesters’ questions and the agency’s answers, a move he expects will serve as a form of proactive disclosure and be cost-efficient because citizens will be able to query the system for previously provided answers.

Another project in development is to ask all agencies to develop institutional plans for opening data. He noted that lot of the request for datasets could not be granted because of “very high” costs. Agency release plans will be matched with things civil society wants to see, he said, and then efforts will be made to negotiate publishing plans.

The coming year also will bring new efforts to help states and municipalities comply with the law, he said. The federal government will help them create procedures and train officials, and invite them to use the federal computer system through which 97 percent of all requests have been received.

Improving overall document management is another challenge, he said, saying, “a lot of the information is hard to find or lost.”

Brazil’s officials have received about 150,000 requests (with 229,000 questions) since the law went into effect in 2012 and stayed steady. Efforts to increase awareness of the new law will probably begin next year, he said.

Responses have taken an average of 13 days with responses. The information is granted 78 percent of the time, according to government figures. Appeals to the first of four levels of appeals have been taken at a 6.7 percent rate.

No sanctions on officials have yet been applied he said, with the emphasis still being placed on education. He identified universities as one problem area for compliance.

The website makes available a wide variety of data on the use of the law, but Brazil is developing new indicators to help evaluate the system, he said.

He attributed success in launching the new law with developing guidance for agencies and locating champions within them.

 

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