Openess and transparency of public administration

Openess and transparency of public administration

  • Study programme and level:The joint doctoral study programme Governance and Economics in the Public Sector (third cycle)
  • 2nd year
  • 5 ECTS
  • Course type: Elective course
  • Lectures: 20
  • Seminar: 20
  • Other forms of study: 20
  • Individual work: 90
  • Lecturer: Gregor Virant, PhD

1. Objectives and competences


  • The aim of this course is to study all aspects of openness and transparency as one of the basic principles of modern public administration. Students learn about the importance of openness and transparency in public administration in a modern democratic society. Special attention will be devoted to various aspects of access to public information - the constitutional framework, the framework of the European Convention on Human Rights, procedural aspects, exceptions from free access etc. Students get familiar with the role and operation of the Information Commissioner. Special attention is given to proactive publication of public information and the online appearance of public administration.
  • Another aspect of the openness and transparency of public administration, receiving special attention, is public participation in the process of drafting and adopting policies. In this context, the student acquires the knowledge about managing the processes of public participation in the preparation of regulations and other similar materials. Public participation is set in the general context of procedures for preparing and adopting public policies.
  • Besides the two above mentioned key aspects of openness and transparency in public administration, relationship of public administration to the media, in particular those relating to the provision of information, will also be discussed.
  • Students also get acquainted with the meaning and the course of social dialogue in the public sector and with the issues of lobbying in public administration.


  • in-depth  understanding of theoretical concepts in the field of public information,
  • in-depth understanding of theoretical concepts in the field of administrative science and the ability to transfer this knowledge into practice,
  • ability of the critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of complex ideas in solving the most complex problems in public administration through testing, improving and developing known solutions and the creation of new ones, both at the national and international levels,
  • ability of scientific problem analysis, the evaluation of various theoretical standpoints and critical analysis of administrative systems and of administrative-legal institutions,
  • ability to understand and upgrade administrative-theoretical knowledge with a focus on the status and functional definition of governance in public administration.

2. Content (Syllabus outline)

  • Setting openness and transparency in the context of principles and values of a modern public administration
  • Notion and meaning of openness and transparency of public administration
  • Access to public information
  • Restrictions to access of public information and test of public interest
  • Role of the Information commissioner regarding control of public administration
  • Proactive publication of public information
  • Public administration on the internet
  • Public administration and mass media
  • Public participation in policy making processes
  • Social dialogue in public administration and the wider public sector
  • Transparency of lobbying in public administration and the legislative trace

3.  Readings

  • Prepeluh, Urška, Pravica dostopa do informacij javnega značaja, Littera Scripta Manet, Faculty of Law, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana 2005.
  • Pirc Musar, Nataša, Odprtost delovanja javne uprave, v Kovač, Polonca in Virant, Gregor (uradnikas) Razvoj slovenske  javne uprave 1991-2011, Uradni list, Ljubljana, 2011, str. 229-245
  • Kovač, Polonca (ur.), Presoja učinkov regulacije v Sloveniji, Fakulteta za javno upravo in Ministrstvo za javno upravo, Ljubljana, 2009 (izbrana poglavja)
  • Hins, Wouter and Voorhoof, Dirk, “Access to State-Held Information as a Fundamental Right under the European Convention on Human Rights”, 3 European Constitutional Law Review 2007 No. 1, Cambridge University Press, pp. 114-126.
  • Beers, Ton A.L., “Public Access to Government Information Towards the 21st Century” in Altes, Dommering, Hugenholz and Kabel (Editors), Information Law Towards the 21st Century,  Kluwer, Deventer 1992.
  • Virant, Gregor, Izboljševanje kakovosti regulacije v Sloveniji, Uprava, št.3/2010, Fakulteta za upravo, september 2010
  • Priročnik za načrtovanje, vodenje in vrednotenje procesov sodelovanja javnosti, Ministrstvo za javno upravo, 2008

4. Intended learning outcomes

Students gain an understanding of the meaning and of all aspects (constitutional, legal, political, managerial, procedural etc.) of openness and transparency in public administration (access to public information, public participation, social dialogue), the ability to understand and solve theoretical and practical problems, and the ability of critical reflection.

5. Learning and teaching methods

  • The course will comprise lectures, tutorial as well as individual study and research.
  • Lectures – on selected topics to be determined with due consideration of the development of theory, legislation and case law.
  • Tutorial – students will present their seminar papers
  • Other – elaboration of a seminar paper dealing with a complex legal issue related to the selected topics.
  • Individual study for exam.

6. Assessment

Written or oral exam - 70%
To accede to the exam, students must successfully elaborate and present a seminar paper. The presentation may be given during the seminar or with a professor evaluator - 30%