What is Transparency ?
Transparency can be defined as the minimum degree of disclosure to which agreements, dealings, practices, and transactions are open to all for verification.
This is one of the core elements that exist in almost every list of good governance principles. In many cases, the call for transparency is connected to the demand to disclose relevant documents, mostly about financial information:
EU principles of Good Governance: “Financial information (produced in accordance with applicable laws and subject to appropriate auditing standards) should be made available to members, stakeholders and the public wherever possible. All such financial information should be clearly presented and preferably form part of an annual report of the activities of the sports body”.
IOC Basic Universal principles of Good Governance: “Financial information should be disclosed gradually and in appropriate form to members, stakeholders and the public,(…) on an annual basis and in a consistent way in order to be easily understood”.
A classic example would be the disclosure of the annual accounts on the home page of the organisation. Through the disclosure on the homepage, easily found, the aspect of easy accessibility is added to the “pure” transparency. Another criterion to evaluate the quality of the provided transparency is the way the information is edited. In the best case, the disclosed documents should be prepared in such a way that they are understandable – even for the layman.
However, it is also essential to understand transparency as the necessity that the functioning within an organisation is clearly defined and comprehensible. This includes, for example, the decision making process and the criteria decisions are based on must openly be communicated and adhered to.