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Open Government in Biscay

image of Open Government in Biscay

The Review analyses the open government agenda of the Province of Biscay, based on the 2017 OECD Recommendation of the Council on Open Government. It assesses Biscay’s initiatives regarding transparency, accountability and stakeholder participation and how they impact the quality of public service delivery. This review also evaluates Biscay’s institutional, legal and policy frameworks for the implementation of these initiatives, focusing on the creation of a sound monitoring and evaluation system. The report includes recommendations to foster a public governance culture that empowers all stakeholders to actively participate throughout the entire policy cycle. This is the first OECD Open Government Review carried out in a subnational government of an OECD member country.

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Assessment and recommendations

A country’s or province’s context plays an important role in the way its policies and service delivery are designed, implemented and monitored. It is crucial, therefore, to understand the drivers and the space in which open government reforms develop. The Province of Biscay has a particular multilevel governance mainly due to a division of competencies between the different administrations in the Basque Country (Basque Country, provinces and municipalities) that do not follow a hierarchical distribution. The whole region has a high degree of autonomy in relation to the central government of Spain. The main competencies of the Provinces of the Basque Country, including Biscay, are tax collection and policy, territorial planning, roads and public works, environment, cultural heritage and social welfare, as well as the economic and financial tutelage of the municipalities. Biscay is characterised by its high degree of autonomy. The fiscal system represents one of the region’s most notable characteristics, which establishes that the Basque Provinces are responsible for setting, collecting and distributing taxes.

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