Implementation of the transparency laws in Catalonia
Despite theoretical forecasts that have linked transparency policies with improvements in the fight against corruption, increased trust in institutions, and the development of quality in governments, several empirical studies have shown that this connection is not so simple. For it to happen, regulations of sufficient quality must be embedded in a holistic policy of good governance and adequately implemented. The transparency policy cannot generate the desired impacts if it is not implemented in the first place. The transparency policy of the governments of Catalonia does not seem to have had the desired effects, despite being of sufficient quality and being formally inserted in a holistic framework of good governance. The hypothesis this article attempts to test is the weakness of the implementation of Act 19/2014 as the cause of the non-existent or piecemeal outcomes. An exhaustive evaluation of the law’s implementation was conducted to test the hypothesis, with five series of surveys in five years (2015–2020) sent to more than 1,000 entities bound by the law, a review of transparency portals, a quality analysis of resolutions on the right of access, a quality analysis of citizens’ charters and codes of conduct, the use of the mystery shopper technique, and in-depth interviews with public decision-makers. The analysis results do not guarantee that the relative failure in impact is due to weak implementation of the law. However, it also cannot be ruled out that failure to implement some aspects of the rule influences its lack of effectiveness.
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