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Corruption in the Process of Issuing Building Permits 0

Year: 2003
Financed by:  The Soros Foundation-Latvia; Open Society Institute Justice Initiative Program; JI; Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative; LGI
The study has been prepared as part of PROVIDUS Public Policy Fellowship Program
Language:  English, Latvian

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Year: 2003
Financed by:  The Soros Foundation-Latvia; Open Society Institute Justice Initiative Program; JI; Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative; LGI
The study has been prepared as part of PROVIDUS Public Policy Fellowship Program
Language:  English, Latvian

Formal standards, laws, and rules which regulate the receipt of building permits are unclear, contradictory, and at times even impossible to fulfil. At the same time, hardly any conflicts between the issuer and the recipient of a building permit are taken to court. Official arguments and differences of opinion are a very rare occurrence, and the question is why.

This study offers an explanation – practice is regulated not so much by official rules,standards and legislation as by habit and a variety of corrupt practices to resolve or avoid disputes.

The study is based on data compiled from surveys, observations, analysis of documents, interviews with experts, and focus-group discussions.

Corruption exists not only as specific actions, but also as public perception of such actions. This study shows how perceptions of the high level of corruption in the process of receiving building permits are created. Sometimes, these perceptions may stimulate corruption actions that are not necessary.

When legislation is vague or contradictory, it creates an environment in which consistency can only be secured by maintaining good relations with the people in charge. Therefore, improving informal relationships or paying off public officials and politicians is a functional response to the situation created by the ambiguities in the official system of regulatory enactments. This study scrutinizes several aspects of legislation and demonstrates how the existing legislative process results in a situation that fosters corruption.

The official procedure for resolving disputes in the building industry does not function effectively. In this industry, where the swift resolution of problems is extremely important, taking a case to a higher institution or a law court is currently too lengthy and unpredictable. A delay can result in losses to the builder. As a result, other methods of resolving or avoiding disputes are applied, and these are often corrupt.

The current system for certification of building planners also stimulates corruption inasmuch as it does not guarantee the quality of projects. According to existing formal standards, the architect (planner) should take full responsibility for the plan’s compliance with all state and local government requirements, but the current certification system does not ensure this kind of responsibility. Furthermore, the rules for settling disputes do not allow architects to prove their case and thus assume full responsibility. In order to ensure consistency, a planner may also resort to bribery.

This study also makes practical recommendations on how to improve the situation.

This includes recommendations on improving the legislative base, the procedure for resolving disputes, and the general system for obtaining building permits.

 Corruption in the process of issuing building permits (1.32 MB)

 Corruption in the Process of Issuing Building Permits (in Latvian) (2.00 MB)

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