IDM Opinion Poll 2020/
Judiciary Ranked as Most Corrupt, Political Parties Rank Lowest in Trust /
By Rafaela Prifti/
The Institute for Democracy and Mediation has issued the findings of its “Trust in Governance” opinion poll. The public survey was conducted in November–December 2020 across the 61 municipalities of Albania, using a randomly selected and nationally representative sample of 2,500 citizens, write the report authors Leonie Vrugtman and Marsela Dauti.
The publication is part of a Public Service project made possible by “a donor pool fund implemented by the Government of Albania in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and with Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) as key contributor, together with UNDP,” the report states. The disclaimer is that “the content of the report is the responsibility of the authors, and does not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Albanian Government, UNDP, or ADC.”
The 137-page report issues findings on public trust in governance, accountability, corruption, citizen engagement etc. The authors disclose the impact of the November 2019 earthquake in Albania, and the COVID-19 pandemic in all government and civil sectors, reflected in their report.
Among the top listed findings are:
International organizations like NATO, the UN and the EU, rank as the most trusted institutions,
84.1% reported ‘grand’ or high-level corruption to be widespread. Judicial institutions ranked as the most corrupt in 2020, followed by healthcare institutions, law enforcement, and parliament, as 7 in 10 Albanians reported they do not have confidence in the prosecution of grand corruption cases.
There are disturbing findings with regard to immigration. According to the survey: “The percentage of the Albanian population wanting to move to another country remains high: 44% of respondents reported that they want to emigrate.” In terms of safety, the report states that “70% of the Albanian population surveyed did not feel safe in everyday life. The main reasons for feeling unsafe were crime, health-related concerns, employment insecurity and injustice.” With reference to the primary source of news on current affairs for the Albanian population, the IDM report indicates that while “social media (36%) and portals (15%) are becoming more popular, television (58%) remained the most popular media outlet in Albania.”
Below are the IDM findings grouped and summarized by the authors of the report.
Trust in Governance 2020 at a Glance
In its eighth annual edition, the ‘Trust in Governance’ opinion poll was conducted by the Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM) in November–December 2020 across the 61 municipalities of Albania, using a randomly selected and nationally representative sample of 2,500 citizens. The year was marked by the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Albania in November 2019, and the COVID-19 pandemic which caused major disruption to all facets of life in the country including governance, citizen engagement, and public service delivery. This affected the findings of the annually recurring sections, and also resulted in the inclusion of a new section: natural disasters. The findings are grouped into nine main sections and summarized as follows:
Trust in Institutions
→International organisations like NATO, the UN and the EU, ranked as the most trusted institutions
→Religious institutions (69.8%) were the domestic institutions most trusted by the Albanian population, followed by educational institutions (54.1%), the armed forces (54.0%), and civil-society organisations (52.6%).
→Political parties (20.4%), the courts (23.8%), the president (23.9%), parliament (24.1%), and the prosecution (24.3%) were among the lowest ranking institutions in terms of trust.
→Compared to 2019, trust in the police, healthcare institutions, the media, central government, and the army has decreased, while trust in religious institutions has increased.
→A mere 28.7% of the Albanian population surveyed believed that judicial reform is being implemented correctly and 52.8% of respondents believed that judicial reform will have a positive impact on the development of the country.
→Although social media (36%) and portals (15%) are becoming more popular – even among people over 65 years old – as the primary source for news on current affairs for the Albanian population, television (58%) remained the most popular media outlet in Albania.
→One in three Albanian citizens believed that the information provided by Albanian media is accurate/true
Transparency and Accountability
→The majority of Albanians surveyed perceived the central government (64.3%) and municipality (62.2%) as not transparent, though this is an improvement of 2 and 1 percentage points (p.p.), respectively, compared to 2019.
→The majority of the Albanian population polled (64.1%) were aware that the right to information is guaranteed by law. Albanians over 65 years old or with an income of 50,001–70,000 ALL were more likely to be aware of this legislation.
→Compared to 2019, the proportion of Albanian citizens that perceived local government as accountable increased by 6 p.p. to 37% in 2020 and for central government the proportion increased by 4 p.p. to 35% in 2020.
→The Albanian population surveyed tended to believe that the most effective domestic accountability mechanism is the Albanian Supreme State Audit Institution (60.7%), followed by the media (52.8%), parliament (48.1%), civil society (44.8%), and the Ombudsman (44.3%).
→On the whole, the Albanian population believed that international organisations hold the government to account better than the organizations listed.
Corruption in Public Institutions
→86.7% of Albanian citizens reported that they perceive ‘petty’ corruption to be widespread, while 84.1% reported ‘grand’ or high-level corruption to be widespread.
→Judicial institutions were ranked as the most corrupt in 2020, followed by healthcare institutions, law enforcement, and parliament.
→Compared to last year, the percentage of the Albanian population that did not have confidence in the prosecution of petty corruption increased – from 61.1% in 2019 to 64.5% in 2020.
→7 in 10 Albanians reported they do not have confidence in the prosecution of grand corruption cases.
→The proportion of Albanians that reported having paid a bribe to receive a service from the central government increased from 19% in 2019 to 32% in 2020. More Albanians reported to have received a service from the central government in 2020, 41% compared to 32% in 2019
→In 2020, a smaller percentage (49%) of the Albanian population was interested in participating in the decision-making process of public institutions than in 2019 (57%).
→Albanians with a university degree (or higher), students, public sector employees, and members of political parties were more likely to report being interested in participating in the public decision-making process.
→Most Albanians felt that they do not have sufficient opportunities to participate in the decision-making of public institutions.
→Approximately 1 in 8 Albanian citizens reported that they used the online portal ‘www.konsultimipublik.gov.al’ in 2020 to obtain information or give their opinion on draft legislation or draft strategies/action plans.
→The majority of the Albanians surveyed believed that ‘citizens have sufficient knowledge to understand government decisions’ (71%).
→Although 38% of respondents believed that suggestions from civil society are taken into consideration, 65% felt that local public hearings are formal events. Meanwhile, 35% agreed with the statement ‘municipal councilors represent local communities’.
→22% of the respondents attended a demonstration/rally or signed a petition in 2020. →67% were willing to engage in voluntary work, particularly those younger than 45 years old, attending a university, working in the public sector, or living in rural areas.
→The percentage of the Albanian population wanting to move to another country remains high: 44% of respondents reported that they want to emigrate.
Satisfaction with Public Service Delivery
→38% of Albanian citizens, on average, were satisfied with the delivery of core public services. The delivery of education services (49%) and cleaning services (49%) were perceived as most satisfactory.
→45% of Albanian citizens that had used an administrative service in 2020 were satisfied or very satisfied with the delivery of this service. Particularly the delivery of civil registry (68%), road transportation (56%), and social insurance (54%) services received higher ratings.
→Compared to last year, a smaller percentage of respondents submitted a complaint to institutional public service providers (12% in 2020 versus 17% in 2019).
→12.4% of the citizens surveyed directed complaints to the online platform shqiperiaqeduam.al. Albanians with an income of over 70,001 ALL/month were more likely to have submitted complaints to the platform.
→Similar to 2019, approximately 1 in 4 Albanians believed that institutions ‘listen to’ and properly address citizens’ complaints.
→57.2% of respondents said that the quality of social services delivered by the municipality had not changed, while 23.6% said that the quality of social services had improved and 19.2% said that it had worsened. Compared to 2019, a higher percentage of the Albanian population reported visiting an Agency for the Delivery of Integrated Services (ADISA) service window (29% versus 24%). Among those who visited an ADISA service window, 73.4% indicated that they were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the service they received, an increase of more than 4 p.p. compared to last year.
→70% of the Albanian population surveyed did not feel safe in everyday life. The main reasons for feeling unsafe were crime, health-related concerns, employment insecurity and injustice.
Use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
→63% of the Albanian population were aware that their municipality had a website, an increase of 20 p.p. compared to 2015.
→The main reason for using the website of the municipality was ‘to receive information on available services and where and how to access them’.
→Compared to 2019, a higher percentage of the Albanian population indicated that they are aware that the government administration offers electronic services through the e-Albania portal (93% in 2020 versus 71% in 2019)
→74.3% of the citizens that were aware of the existence of e-Albania indicated that they have received electronic services through the portal in 2020.
→Compared to 2019, a smaller percentage of Albanians assessed electronic services as being functional, easy to use, and providing citizens the opportunity to express comments/suggestions.
Gender and Social Inclusion
→50% of men and 39% of women agreed that there is equality between men and women, as did a smaller overall proportion of respondents than last year (45% in 2020 versus 54% in 2019).
→74.5% of men and 68.2% women believed that men and women have the same access to public services, which represents a slight increase on 2019 when 71.1% of the men and 66.4% of the women agreed with the statement.
→A majority of the Albanian population surveyed (67.8%) believed that public servants serve with the same devotion and ethics to women and men.
→1 in 8 Albanians reported being treated differently by an institution or public official on the basis of gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, a disability, or something else. Of those that had suffered discrimination in 2020, most were treated differently because of their age or gender.
→80% of the Albanian population surveyed thought that women and men are equally capable of holding any public position. Women, younger people, and those with university degrees (or higher) were more likely to indicate that women and men are equally capable of holding any public position.
→Similar to 2019, in 2020 around 6 in 10 Albanians thought that an increased number of women in municipal councils has a positive impact on local governance.