In 2017, public institutions in Czech Republic will have to publish the text of their contracts in a global repository accessible by citizens, following the passing of the Contract Repository Bill at the end of 2015. This bill, drafted in 2013, resulted from a long legislative process, according to a statement on the Czech Parliament’s website.
According to this legislation, public contracts must be published in a common and public repository within a specified period of time following their signature or they will be considered invalid. According to the text of the law, published online, the text of the contracts must be “published according the registry’s agreement within three months of the date it was concluded”. Otherwise, contracts could be cancelled, according to the law. Kamil Gregor, data analyst with Masaryk University and KohoVolit.eu, who is involved in the Open Government topic in his country, said that this central repository already existed, but was only used by several institutions who publish their documents voluntarily.
Open and machine-readable format
According to the text, the information contained in the contracts must be published in an open and machine-readable format, and include key metadata.
Gregor noted that the bill applied to most public institutions (local government agencies, municipal authorities and universities for example). However, it also contains a list of exemptions (listed in paragraph 3 of the law). For example, public institutions will be allowed to not publish their contracts if their value is below CZ 50 000. “This creates a risk of contracts being cut up into smaller pieces so that they fall below the required threshold”, Gregor said in an article published in October 2015.
This bill was approved by the Czech Parliament in October and then sent to the Senate, where it passed “in a relatively good shape”, he said on Twitter.