FOI Legislation Changes Review: May 2012

Here is a review of most recent normative acts regulating governmental policies in the field of information access. Among novelties there are a unified web portal for publication of all non-classified information from government bodies, and new procedure for providing data from the Unified State Register of Tax-Payers.

On May 10, 2012, the Governmental Statement #375 from Apr 23, 2012, on amendments to the procedure for organizations operating with money funds and/or other property how to provide information to the Federal Service for Financial Monitoring. The Service powers are extended significantly. It will now be able to express more active interests in money transfers between bank clients’ accounts and deposits, while banks are forbidden to inform clients on the Service’s requests and information provided. The data will be transferred mostly in e-form.

The Order #ММВ-7-6/111@ by the Federal Taxation Service from Feb 27, 2012 (registered by the Ministry for Justice on Apr 27, 2012) approves the procedure for providing information from the Unified State Register of Tax-Payers upon request.
A request can be submitted face-to-face, by post, or online by means of the gosuslugi.ru portal or the Taxation Service website; an online request should be verified by a qualified e-signature. Information should be provided in paper or electronic form within 5 working days since the request receipt.

The Presidential Decree #601 from May 7, 2012, gives a number of orders to the Government of the Russian Federation, including the following:

- to form a system for disclosing information on developed draft normative acts and results of their public discussion – up to Sep 1, 2012; to define consistence of information for mandatory publication by self-regulated organizations, and their responsibility for its non-publication; to adopt a concept for the Russian Public Initiative concept (proposing public submission and discussion of citizens’ proposals via a special public online resource) – up to Apr 15, 2013;

- to enable amending the Russian legislation in order to introduce procedures and criteria for citizens to evaluate efficiency of state and municipal entities’ heads – up to Jan 1, 2013;

- to provide online access to open data contained in the Russian government bodies’ informational systems – up to Jul 15, 2013;

- to provide proposals on possibilities for online broadcasting of and reporting on court hearing sessions – up to Nov 1, 2013.

The document is in force since May 7, 2012, when it was officially published at the http://www.pravo.gov.ru portal.

The Order #1216 by the Ministry for Culture from Dec 22, 2011 approves the administrative regulation for the Federal Archive Agency to provide informational supply for individuals and organizations on the basis of the Archive Fund of the Russian Federation and other archive documents. The normative act is registered in the Ministry for Justice on May 3, 2012, but not published officially and is therefore not in force yet.

The Order #25 by the Ministry for Culture from Jan 23, 2012 came into force on May 22, 2012. It approves one more administrative regulation for the Federal Archive Agency, the one to enable reception of citizens and review of their oral or written applications.

In the late May, 2012, legal informational systems disseminated information on the Order #543 by the Ministry for Regional Development defining its official website, www.minregion.ru, as an official resource for housing organizations to place their information. The document is not yet registered in the Ministry for Justice.

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The methodology developed by Freedom of information Foundation for monitoring official websites is applicable widely. It is convenient, efficient and can be used for research in various fields. We are interested in cooperation with different governmental and non-government entities in various countries in order to extend the monitoring practice, including possible joint comparative researches.