3 Responses

  1. Chris Nelson
    Chris Nelson February 12, 2014 at 2:05 am

    Just a quick comment from outside looking back in. I was previously employed by AusAID when the charter was first talked about. Interestingly in your results, Vanuatu comes out with the most impressive record. This is not surprising given that it was one of the three priority countries to pilot the information roll-out (in addition to Philippines and another I can’t remember). To give AusAID a little credit, it is not easy to simply collect and dump materials online. The government has posting protocols (disability requirements) and materials have to be prepared. There is no doubt that the process was slow and cumbersome, but the intention and policy was good and the three pilot countries had pretty impressive information available. I am not sure where this will go given recent changes, but I hope it is not dropped as I continue to use Australian aid materials in my work and was happy to champion the transparency charter amongst colleagues here in Washington. I think this kind of analysis is great, but I also think understanding ‘process’ can shine a light on the legitimacy of the data. I am also pretty sure that discussing this is the kind of conversation that public servants are still allowed to have with researchers – as it certainly was in my day! Keep up the good work. (Chris Nelson – World Bank DC)

  2. Rachel Rank
    Rachel Rank February 11, 2014 at 2:12 am

    I was interested to read about the work you’ve been doing on checking document availability. This complements our work at Publish What You Fund on assessing the transparency of the world’s largest donors, including Australia. Our annual Aid Transparency Index includes an overall score, analysis and recommendations for each donor assessed based on what current information items we can find, both for the organisation in general but also for individual projects. In 2013, Australia scored 43%, ranking 24th out of 69, placing it towards the bottom of the ‘fair’ category. The analysis and recommendations are available here.

    We’re interested to see if Australia’s score will improve this year (we’ll be assessing DFAT for the first time, rather than AusAID). We’re looking for researchers to help us with assessing the data we collect so please get in touch if you’re interested.

  3. Garth Luke
    Garth Luke February 7, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Thank you for examining this very important issue of transparency. I think your summary effectively shows that the Australian aid program is only around half the way to meeting its transparency charter.

    However I would not characterise it as a “a one-off rather than a sustained effort”. In addition to the web pages that you reviewed, AusAID reestablished the Statistical Summary (Green Book), provided this information in Excel form, and was, at least in my experience, much more open to meeting information requests. In addition AusAID uploaded detailed activity level data to the IATI database – the last upload was in April 2013. Certainly not the comprehensive quarterly upload required, and provided by some other donors, but more than a one-off effort.

    The Australian aid program has come a long way in the last few years in improving transparency but it clearly has further to go. Hopefully the Government’s concern about greater accountability will expedite this effort.

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