Subject: The Call for Innovative and Open Government: How to increase transparency for citizens and customers
From: "walter.keim Gmail" <>
Datum: 26/05/2013 08:50
CC: "Stephan Jaud IFG BW" <>, "Prof. Dr. Dieter Schimanke, GfP" <>

Dear Mr. Alter,

I refer to the GfP-Jahrestagung 2013, 10. – 11. April 2013 and your contribution "The Call for Innovative and Open Government – Key Elements for a Strategic State"

Unfortunately I could not find your contribution published, but in "The Call for Innovative and Open Government: AN OVERVIEW OF COUNTRY INITIATIVES" (2011) one of OECDs the questions is:

To what extent have openness and transparency increased for citizens and customers?

I assume that NGOs and citizens/customers involvement have been mentioned by you. There have been many contributions from administration and science to the program of the conference, but I could not see that a NGO, customers/citizens have been invited to give their experience and views.

Progress for transparency has been tremendous: More then 120 states ( with more then 5.9 billion inhabitants i. e. 84 % of the worlds population adopted FOI laws or provisions in constitutions.

However the Tenth Joint Declaration by the Four Special International Mandates for Protecting Freedom of Expression, 3. February 2010 focuses on implementation of international standards:

Although great strides have been made over the last decade in recognising the right to information, the fourth challenge recognises that much still remains to be done... Many laws that have been passed fail to meet minimum international standards, and implementation efforts remain too weak in many countries: is produced by the Centre for Law and Democracy and Access Info Europe and has rated access to information laws on the basis of international standards. 88 states with approx. 5.5 billion inhabitants i. e. 78% of the world population give better access to information then the federal Freedom of Information Law in Germany ( 

I would like to compare Germany and Norway from a user perspective and look at what global ranking of access to information laws means to show the difference.

In Norway an electronic public record database for the civil service ( was launched in May 2010. Since its launch, all citizens can access the public records from one common site. All documents sent from or received by ministries, directorates, state agencies and county governors can be accessed through OEP, where everyone can make searches in the public journals. Documents are sent electronically from the unit in charge to those who make a request for a specific document or file.

This makes it easy for citizens and administration to deal with access to documents applications: documents can be found by applicants within minutes and are sent electronically within 3 days free of charge. An free ombudsman elected and responsible to parliament has the necessary authority to support applicants free of charge. The result is 3385 requests per 100 00 inhabitants in 2011.

In Germany it is time consuming for applicants describing the document and choosing the right agency/department/organisation. The receipt of the application will always say that costs are dependent on the actual work involved which can not be guessed in advance. An answer is due in 4 weeks. If the answer is no, no time limits are given for the following complaints. The Freedom of information commissioners advice to the administration can be ignored. Adminitrative courts are expensive for applicants, but are "free" for the individual agency, billing the state/taxpayer for costs. The result is less then 4 requests per 100 000 inhabitants

So following international standards improve  transparency from the citizens and customers perspective.

I sent a copy to Mr. Stephan Jaud participant of the conference, who is working to propose a freedom of information law for the state Baden-Württemberg and Prof. Dr. Dieter Schimanke, head of GfP.

Walter Keim
UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR):
Will CoE Support the Human Right of Access to Information
in Germany?
Will OSCE Support the Human Right of Access to Information
in Germany by Commenting ATI Laws?:
Is it possible to enforce access to information in Bavaria?

Answer: 26. May 2013: "Implementation of FoI laws is the critical step, passing the law just the necessary one. The difference remains in many cases significant. Monitoring of performance by governments themselves and/or NGOs will sharpen awareness of the need for improvement."

Informationsfreiheitgesetze in Europa