The Civio Foundation (Fundación Ciudadana Civio) is an independent, non-profit organization based in Spain which monitors public authorities, reports to all citizens and lobbies to achieve true and effective transparency within our institutions.
We work for the following: to achieve free access to the information generated by them; to understand how they make decisions; to have public policies based on evidence; to succeed in the public sector being held accountable; and to facilitate action and public participation. The levers we use to achieve these changes are journalism and innovation.
Our mission is to bring an end to opacity in public affairs, informing citizens and using innovation to freely access the information that matters.
These challenges suppose profound changes within our institutions. Opacity puts their efficiency and democratic health at risk. There are certain changes which should take priority and, since the end of 2011, we have been working successfully to achieve them.
We are a multi-disciplinary team of 10 (journalists, computer programmers, and experts in communications and marketing, institutional relations and business development) with international patronage and an advisory board committed to improving democracy. Although we do (increasingly) work on international projects, the focus of our activity is on Spain, and on our headquarters of Madrid.
What do we do?
The main areas we investigate and lobby on are:
Transparency, access to information generated by public institutions and how these are held accountable for the decisions they make.
Public procurement, its workings, irregularities and the measures necessary to halt corruption.
Networks of power and influence, conflicts of interest, revolving doors and good governance.
Access to healthcare and the relationship between pharmaceutical companies, doctors, associations and public entities.
The correct functioning of the justice system, its independence - or not - and inequality before the law, the granting of pardons and the strengthening of the State of Law.
How do we do this?
We undertake journalistic investigations and create innovative tools which give you access to unpublished data on the topics we specialize in. Among other El BOE nuestro de cada día (Our Daily Official Gazette), Medicamentalia, El indultómetro (the Pardonometer), Quién cobra la obra (Who’s paid for the work?), Dónde van mis impuestos (where do my taxes go?), Quién manda (Who rules?), España en llamas (Spain in flames) or Tu derecho a saber (Your right to know).
What makes us different? Our credibility. We only deal with facts which can be proven and in our specialized subject areas.
We view the information we generate as a service in the public's interest and our main commitment is to the truth. We bring you the most relevant information on governance with data, content and a highly specialized expertise. We never publish anything that we can't verify ourselves. Every year , almost one million people browse and use our projects to learn about the decisions and facts that affect them, and then act accordingly. We are passionate about data that tell stories, and some of those we have told have received the top awards in international journalism , such as the Gabriel García Márquez prize for innovation, or the Best Investigation of the Year at the Data Journalism Awards. We are proof that journalism can be done differently, brilliantly, and from the sidelines of the mainstream media. And more importantly: journalism that generates change.
The information we generate empowers citizens in their decision making and allows for the scrutiny of public administration.
Changes don't happen on their own however, hence we lobby a lot. Our relationship with governments and public authorities is collaborative, transparent and of public knowledge, including our meetings to lobby for improvements to laws and policies. We have been key to the implementation of the first transparency policies in Spain and to the acknowledgement of the Right of Access to Information. Two of our current priorities are making the activity of lobbies more transparent, and public procurement in general, and we are already winning the fight. Today more than ever, if people in our institutions are talking about how to publish the budgetary execution in the most detailed way possible, or how they can find out who senior officials are meeting with, who influences one law or another, of the opacity in the public procurement of medicines and vaccines , of the need to reform the Law on Pardons , among others, it is thanks to our hard work.
We are staunchly non-partisan. Any administration with a firm commitment to the disclosure of public information can count, if it so wishes, on our active collaboration. Over 20 public entities, of all political leanings, already do so. That is why around 17 million citizens can now find out what policies each euro of their taxes is spent on, thanks to our collaboration with the public sector.
More and more people are helping us to monitor and bring transparency to other blind spots in the system," This would not be possible without your support.
The sum of our work has given rise to a series of victories and changes of which we are particularly proud. We hold ourselves to the highest standards of ethics, transparency and good governance -we publish all our accounts, salaries and our annual report in detail. None of this would have been possible without the support of our donors, who make regular donations that allow us to continue to serve as an effective agent for change, for the benefit of all.
Civio has played a crucial role in this nascent phase of transparency in Spain. Now is the time to affect long- lasting change. There is much still to learn. The challenges are great and we are needed now more than ever. Join us.