The Transparency Audit Network Reaches the Mark of 100 Audits Published

The Transparency Audit Network project focuses its efforts on analyzing compliance with public transparency norms through governmental audits. The objective is to monitor the extent to which governments provide information to citizens and how 'transparent' this information is. At the end of August 2015, we reached the goal of publishing 100 audits.  All of the audits can be found on the Transparency Audit Network's website (transparencyaudit.net) in three languages - Portuguese, English and Spanish.

The audits are presented in three different ways.  Passive transparency audits contain a specific number of information requests that are sent to various government agencies, in order to assess how they respond. Active transparency audits evaluate the accessibility and quality of content on governmental websites. Finally, many audits are combinatorial, providing information on active and passive transparency. Of the 100 audits in the project’s database, 50 evaluate active transparency, 38 evaluate passive transparency, and 12 combinatorial.

The evaluations were performed in 14 countries. The countries most represented are Chile, El Salvador and Peru, which currently account for 21, 13 and 12 audits, respectively. Next comes Mexico with nine, then Brazil, Honduras and Venezuela, all with five. Ecuador and the Dominican Republic each have four audits published. Nicaragua has three. Argentina, Colombia, Guatemala and Uruguay have two audits each. In addition to these evaluations that refer to a single country, there are seven audits published regarding the Organization of American States (OAS), two from Latin American and two global.

The topics of the audits are diverse. The evaluations cover topics such as state purchases, environmental law, auditing of local entities, public policy spending, and other governmental issues . As they evaluate different concepts and themes, these audits also present different results.  For example, the active transparency evaluations measure how well governments are providing information proactively on their websites, and whether these efforts are meeting legal norms.  For passive transparency, the results are focused on the response rates of the agencies that were audited, the number of information requests for a given organization and response times, among other aspects.  For the active-passive audits, the results include a mixture of compliance levels and response rates.  The audits use both qualitative and quantitative methods.

With 100 audits published from 14 countries on the Transparency Audit Network website, the project has met a first milestone in its goal of compiling extant audits.  It is also working on its other goals, including the development and application of tools and templates to evaluate compliance with transparency.