Access to information and transparency
Transparency, accountability and reliability have become universally recognized key operational principles for the good governance of public administration in general, and social protection systems in particular.
Transparency refers to the requirement that public bodies disclose information and records of their operations, accountability means that processes should be in place where the public can raise concerns or file complaints about the operations of the bodies executing the government operations and reliability entails that public bodies comply with the rules and regulations laid down for their operation. Without adequate capacities and resources, it is impossible for any public administration to respect these good governance principles.
Under international human rights law, access to information is a right (see, for example, ICCPR, Article 19; African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Article 9; American Convention on Human Rights, Article 13; and European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Article 10). Consequently, human rights monitoring bodies have also noted that social protection systems must ensure the right of individuals and organizations to seek, receive and impart information on all social security entitlements in a clear and transparent manner (see, CESCR General Comment 19 para 26. See also A/HRC/11/9 pp. 8-17; and A/HRC/14/31 pp.11-19).
The ILO Recommendation No. 202 particularly refers to “transparent, accountable and sound financial management and administration” (para. 3(j)) and includes a number of important elements in this regard. For example, when formulating and implementing national social security strategies, it stipulates States should raise awareness about the strategies and put in place information programmes (para 14. (f)). ILO R202 also specifies that national social security strategies should be formulated and implemented on the basis of national consultations through effective social dialogue and participation (para. 13). Other ILO’s instruments also stress the importance of participation (see Articles 71 and 72 of ILO Convention 102 (1952) on Social Security (Minimum Standards) set out similar requirements).