Transparent town halls in Spain

The town hall of Bilbao is the most transparent in Spain in terms of its dealings with the public, the contracting services and its finances according to a study on the transparency of town halls (ITA) by an international organization called International Transparency. This organization used 80 indicators to analyze the 100 largest town halls in Spain. In general, Spanish town halls failed to meet the standards set by International Transparency and Orihuela was found to be the least transparent.

The results of the study were presented in a press conference by the president of International Transparency Jesús Lizcano. The patron of the Ortega and Gasset Foundation, Jesús Sánchez Lambás, and the secretary of the foundation, Antonio Garrigues Walker, also participated in the press conference along with Manuel Villoria a professor at the University of Rey Juan Carlos. It was emphasized that the best way to combat municipal corruption was to promote transparency.

Lizcano stressed that it was very important to improve transparency in the area of urban planning and public works which account for 50% of the budgets of the majority of Spain´s town halls.

The study was carried out using a questionnaire sent to the town halls included in the study . Overall they were given 69.6 points out of 100 for transparency in information with regards to municipal structures followed by 69 points awarded for dealings with the public. Transparency in urban planning and public works was only awarded 48.4%.

However, the results for financial transparency got the least points with just 29.1 points awarded overall followed by transparency in the contracting of services with 37.3 points. Bilbao, was found to be the best town hall with 90.6 points followed by Gijón (82.5), Cartagena (81.9), Barcelona (81.3) and Vigo (80.0).

In contrast, the least transparent town halls were found to be Orihuela which was awarded just 12.5 points, Torrevieja (15.0), El Ejido (16.3), Huesca (17.5) and Dos Hermanas (18.8).

Asturias was found to be the best region with 74.6 points overall followed by the Basque Country and Murcia which both received 63.5 points. La Rioja and Navarra received 62.5 points The townhalls of Extremadura was only awarded 22.5% overall followed by Cantabria 34.4% and Aragon with 34.6%. International Transparency was set up in 1993 and is the only non governmental organization dedicated to combating corruption. It carries out annual studies of town halls in various countries.