w there are submitted.
Like in the picture, the citizenship is submerged at time to act as a controller of public institutions and influence in the decision-making process in an active and strong way. Therefore, a real engagement with the government and not just “observers” of a reality which there are submitted.
To be owners of the process, that is the goal.
One of the most distressful aspects that need action from the citizenship is the correct control on transparency and accountability of government´s performance in an ongoing process that could prevent corruption. Indeed, corruption left citizens without empowerment and give the government “super powers” without any kind of control. As a consequence the justice system becomes obsolete and inactive.
The system as a whole focuses their goals towards hidden and private interests without any supervision from the citizens.
Is it so that democracy becomes just a demagogue system without rules and with no guarantees of transparent and accountable political behavior.
Paradoxically some stable and developed countries like Spain have shown worrying levels of corruption, which there are a real boundary for a good governance system. With 1700 cases of corruption in a few years, 1900 charged people and a 58/100 perception rating by Transparency international, Spain become a country under threat that needs to be addressed from a specific focus: citizen engagement.
Recent approved transparency law in Spain aim to engage citizen in public performance but these effort has not been enough and there is still a hard process of accessibility and requirements that hinders any attempt for a fluidity of communications and a real follow up on the decision making process. My proposal is to change that focus and use the opportunity of having this transparency law by taking the initiative from the civil society with binding effect to the authorities, and not from a public institution.
The initiative is imagined as a platform formed by a coalition of organizations from the civil society, with a clear goal of changing the “cultural focus” and give leadership to the civil society action with support from the government.
Is fundamental to trace specific and tangible goals of what we are demanding to the government to be able to choose the most effective route in accountability. In most of the cases demands to the government have just ideological or political reasons without addressing irregularities in a fair and focused vision. For instance, if a political authority fails on their promises done during the campaign or take decisions that go against the spirit of those promises, the long route is the one that could bring accountability. In general administrative decisions are tangible and the short route for feedback or resolution in itself could be done more easily, meanwhile in-depth decisions that go against the essence of a specific political focus need a long-route to get to results.
In the end short and long route of accountability are essential for a correct citizen engagement on anticorruption measures if there is a harmonic combination among them.
The implementation of this platform would be based in a general anticorruption website that receive demands from the individuals thorough their organization about irregularities of the Administration and /or direct responses from the government. In case of no resolution or no clear response from the government, representatives of the organizations from the civil society platform are the one to meet directly to the authorities and make it public by a massive use of social media.
The platform would be focused in 1.- follow up of promises before being elected and during the campaign. 2.-demand of public exposition of income statement before and after being elected and accessible any time a citizens demand. 3.- process of the request leading by the public institution but from initiative of individuals. 4.- all requests that are not processes by the public institution in the terms established beforehand, are submitting to sanctions and must enter immediately in a disciplinary public process.
However, for an active and results-oriented focus is important to take in account the risks that we are going to face. Let´s see the case of Spain: there is a general “corruption culture” among the citizens that prevents to create an enabling environment for changing. Spanish citizens have no experience in being a “controller” of the State and are just voters that do not feel the power and/or need to influence. In addition there is a strong supremacy of Spanish public institutions that works as a barrier towards citizen´s involvement in their decision-making process, to the point that there is no a proper access of reserved information.
I would like to finish by highlighting the opportunities that Spanish citizenship need to maximize their potential in their struggle against corruption. Is important to take this historical moment of particular sensitization of Spanish citizens because of the multiple corruption cases. Furthermore financial crisis has left the idea that public representatives are not taking the correct decisions, added to a high and sustained rate of unemployment (over 20% for more than 7 years) associated to a mistaken public strategy, also associated to corruption.
To measure the success of these mechanisms: Surveys, Consultations, Polls and Statistical analysis will be the indicators that will yield results on the effectiveness of this procedure against corruption.
Mechanisms of citizen engagement are the only hope for getting through a path of transparency and accountability that would lead to reduce and keep under control corruption levels. To achieve this goal the engagement from political parties and civil servants is paramount. For a basic an essential goal: prevention, building values around ethics within political parties and responsibility in public institutions and accessibility to secretive information delivered by the collaboration of committed civil servants.
Emerging from the depths……
*Jason de Caires. Underwater Sculptures