Draft Law on the Civil Society Development Fund (2008)

DRAFT LAW ON THE CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT FUND

Pursuant to articles 78 and 83, section 1 of the Constitution, upon proposal of the Council of Ministers,

THE ASSEMBLY
OF THE REPUBLIC OF ALBANIA

DECIDED:

CHAPTER I
GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1
Object

The object of this law is the organization and the functioning of the Civil Society Development Fund, referred to as the CSDF, and the applicable procedures for allocating funds in support of the civil society.

Article 2
Legal personality

The CSDF shall be a central public entity of legal personality acting in compliance with its mission and objectives set by this law and the effective legislation. 

Article 3
Definitions

For the purposes of this law, the following terms shall have the the following meanings:

1. The “Civil society support fund” shall be any public fund aimed at supporting the civil society in compliance with the law.

2. The “Funding Authority” shall be the Civil Society Development Fund and/or any other public central or local entity allocating funds off its budget to support the civil society.

3. A “Candidate” shall be any beneficiary who partakes in a bidding procedure pursuant to this law.

4. The “Grant” is the set amount of funds in support of the civil society, announced in the bidding documents in the course of an actual ongoing procedure, which is donated without interest to the beneficiary by the funding authority in compliance with the criteria established in this law.

5. “Bidding documents” shall be the documents that the funding authority makes available to all interested candidates for the preparation of project proposals.

6. “Acceptable expenses” shall be predictable expenses for a civil society support fund.


CHAPTER II
MSSION AND OBJECTIVES OF THE CSDF

Article 4
Mission and objectives

1. The main mission of the CSDF shall be to promote sustainable development of the civil society and establish favourable conditions for civil initiatives for the public good and interest.

2. In order to accomplish its mission, the CSDF shall offer professional and financial support and assistance to programs that promote and strengthen the sustainability of non-for profit organizations, intersectorial and international collaboration, civil initiatives, philanthropy, volountarism and democratic institutions in the society, as well as other programs facilitating the accomplishment of its mission. 

3. In performing its activity, the CSDF shall be guided by the strategic priorities of the public institutions regarding development of civil society.

4. The above provisons shall be applicable to any other financing authority under this law.

CHAPTER III
BENEFICIARIES AND SELECTION CRITERIA

Article 5
Beneficiaries

The CSDF and other funding authorities shall, in compliance with this law and in line with the strategic priorities, support and assist non-for-profit initiatives, programs and activities:
a) of civil society organizations which are registered by law and perform their activity in compliance with the object defined in their charter, with the exception of political parties, trade unions, insurance and religious institutions, and organizations carrying out direct main political activites;
b) of natural persons and civil initiatives to the public good and interest.

Article 6
Selection criteria

In the process of examining and selecting the beneficiary candidates, and in allocating the funds for supporting the civil society according to this law, any funding authority shall be based on the following principles:
a) freedom of participation and bidding;
b) non-discrimination and equal treatment;
c) transparency in decision making procedures, providing all candidates with the respective information and procedure;
ç) compliance with the grant’s objectives and effectiveness in using resources by applying the competition system and criteria which enable the evaluation of project proposals, as well as technical and financial specifications for the selection and allocation of the grant;
d) co-financing, enabling the funding of activities with other contributions;
dh) lack of retroactivity by ruling out the possibility of allocating funds for activities which have already been carried out at the date of the decision making; 
e) impartiality in examination, decision making and prevention of conflicts of interest;
ë) avoidance of overlapping which implies avoiding funding more than once of the same activity of the same concrete interest throughout one fiscal year.


CHAPTER IV
CSDF BODIES

Article 7
CSDF bodies

1. CSDF bodies are the Overseeing Board and the Executive Director.

2. The CSDF charter may anticipate other executive bodies, serving as counselling or assisting bodies.

3. The procedures for the organization and functioning of the CSDF bodies shall be specified in its charter and the decisions of the Overseeing Board.

4. The members of the CSDF bodies carry out their functions in compliance with the provisions of this law, the legislation in force, charter and other general acts of the CSDF.

Article 8
Composition of the Overseeing Board

1. The CSDF is run by the Overssing board composed of 9 (nine) members.

2. The CSDF Overseeing Board is composed of 5 members representing the civil society organizations and 4 members representing central public administration bodies.

3. In compliance with section 2 of this article, the Council of Ministers appoints 4 members of the Overseeing Board among representatives of the central public administration institutions and 5 members among representatives of civil society organizations.

4. Representatives of the civil society are appointed to the Overseeing Board pursuant to section 3 of this article on the basis of their experience and contribution according to the proportional representation in the main fields of development and the strategic priorities of the civil society development. The civil society organizations registered by law are entitled to forward their proposed nominees to the Overseeing Board to the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers. 

5. The procedures and rules for the implementation of this article shall be defined in a decision issued by the Council of Ministers.

Article 9
Duties and authorities of the Overseeing Board

1. The Overseeing Board shall have the following duties and authorities:
a) approve the CSDF charter;
b) based on this law, approve detailed rules on the terms and procedures for allocating funds aimed at fulfilling the CSDF mission;
c) review the CSDF activity reports and approve its action plans per areas assigned;
ç) approve the annual budget for the functioning of the CSDF;
d) approve the financial report;
dh) approve the personnel rules;
e) decide on the use of CSDF assets;
ë) elect, dismis and discharge its chair and deputy chair;
f) appoint, dismis and discharge from duty the executive director;
g) report to the Council of Ministers on the CSDF activity, and
gj) perform other duties in compliance with the provisions of this law and the CSDF charter.

2. The Overseeing Board chair and members receive an annual remuneration determined by the Council of Ministers.

Article 10
Decision making at the Overseeing Board

1. Meetings may be held in case the majority of the Overseeing Board members are present. The decisions of the Overseeing Board are taken by the simple majority of the members present at the meeting, except for cases foreseen in section 1 of article 11, and section 4 of article 12 of this law, and decisions on approving or amending the CSDF charter, as well as on the modalities of use of its immovable properties.

2. The meetings of the Overseeing Board are open to the public, except otherwise provided in the law. Theis venue, date, time, and agenda are announced in advance as provided in section 3 of this article.

3. The decisions of the Overseeing Board are published in the publications corner at the CSDF headquarters or through any other appropriate medium in compliance with the provisions anticipated in the CSDF charter or acts.

4. Unless otherwise defined in this law, the functioning and decisionmaking of the Overseeing Board shall be in compliance with law no.8480, on 27.05.1999 “On the functioning of collegial bodies of the state administration and public entities”. 

Article 11
Chair of the Overseeing Board

1. The chair and deputy chair of the Overseeing Board are elected, dismissed and discharged from duty by a simple majority of all the members of the Overseeing Board. The proposal for their discharge comes from at least one third of the board members.

2. The chair of the Overseeing Board performs the following duties:
a) convenes the meetings of the board, sets the agenda and runs the meetings of Overseeing Board in compliance with the rules and procedures defined in the CSDF charter;
b) represents the Overseeing Board in its relations with third parties;
c) oversees the execution of the Overseeing Board decisions;
ç) coordinates the activity and the functioning of the CSDF bodies in accordance with section 2, article 7 of this law;
d) proposes the election or appointment, dismissal and discharge of the Overseeing Board members and the executive director, and
dh) performs any other duties defined in the CSDF statute or charged by the Overseeing Board.

3. In absence or inability of the chair to carry out his duties, he shall be replaced by the deputy chair of the Overseeing Board.


Article 12
CSDF executive director

1. The executive director performs the following tasks:
a) represents the CSDF in relations with third parties;
b) administers, supervises and runs the activity of the CSDF and its administration, including hiring and administration of personnel, in accordance with the law, the CSDF charter and the decisions of the Supervisory Board;
ç) presents for examination and approval by the Supervisory Board the CSDF draft action plans, draft budget, internal regulation, the annual financial report, reports on the financial situation,  as well as any other reports of concern;
d) sends proposals and suggestions to the Supervisory Board any time it is required, or mainly on the progress of the CSDF activity;
dh) ensures cooperation with public institutions and legal persons, national or foreign, for the progress of the CSDF activity; and
e) performs any other tasks that has not been assigned to other CSDF bodies, in accordance with the provisions of this law, the legislation in force, and the CSDF charter.

2. Supervisory Board members or debtors of CSDF may not be appointed to the position of the CSDF executive director.

3. The executive director attends Supervisory Board meetings without the right to vote, and has the right to propose issues to be included in the agenda of the Supervisory Board meetings.

4. The executive director shall be appointed and dismissed with a simple majority of the Supervisory Board members.

Article 13
Mandate of the CSDF steering bodies

1. The mandate of a Supervisory Board member is 4 years, with the right to be re-elected only once. The mandate of a Supervisory Board member is terminated earlier when he/she:
a) resigns;
b) conditions of incompatibility or conflict of interest arise according to Article 14 of the law;
c) loses the juridical capacity to act (proved by a court decision);
ç) does not attend at least half of the Supervisory Board meetings held in one year;
d) dies;
dh) is convicted of a criminal offence by a final court decision.

2. The mandate of the executive director is 5 years, with the right to be reappointed. The mandate of the executive director is terminated earlier by reason of letters “a” to “dh” of paragraph 1 of this Article.

3. The Council of Ministers dismisses a Supervisory Board member when it finds violations of the law and of the general acts of the CSDF, when the member holds professional and financial interests that are in conflict of interest with the CSDF, or when the member’s behaviour or attitude damages the reputation of the CSDF.

4. The Supervisory Board discharges the executive director when it finds violations provided for in paragraph 3 of this Article.

5. The appointment of the new Supervisory Board member or the new executive director is done no later than 30 days from the mandate termination date.

Article 14
Prevention of conflict of interest

A member of the Supervisory Board or any other body of the CSDF shall not vote or participate in a decision-making process, where he or she, his/her spouse, adoptive parent or adopted child, relative, of direct or indirect blood line, or an in-law relation up to the second grade, holds financial interests, or in cases related to a legal person when he/she is a member, participates in its administration or holds financial interests in it according to the law.

Article 15
CSDF administration

1. The structure of the CSDF administration is determined in its charter.

2. The number of CSDF employees is approved by the Council of Ministers as a special code of expenditure, in accordance with the law on the Annual State Budget.

3. Salaries and remunerations for CSDF employees are approved by the Council of Ministers, in accordance with the legislation in force. Working relations of CSDF employees are regulated according to the Labour Code.

4. The CSDF collaborates with state institutions and legal persons, national and foreign, in accordance with the provisions of its charter.


CHAPTER V
CSDF CHARTER AND OTHER ACTS

Article 16
CSDF charter and other acts

1. CSDF bodies exercise their activity in accordance with the law and its charter.

2. Other CSDF acts must be in compliance with the provisions of this law, the legislation in force and the CSDF charter.

3. The charter of the CSDF is approved by the Council of Ministers.


CHAPTER VI
CSDF FUNDING RESOURCES

Article 17
Funding resources

1. CSDF funding resources are as follows:

a) funding from the State Budget and in-kind contributions approved by decision of the Council of Ministers;
b) its own revenues;
c) other lawful donations;
ç) other income as provided for in the law.

2. The funding of the CSDF is represented as a separate code of expenditure in the law on the Annual State Budget. As a rule, the annual financing allocated from the State Budget cannot be smaller than that for the successive year.

3. The CSDF obtains and accepts income and donations, in currency, in kind or services, and    implements the rules of the signed agreement with the donor in compliance with its mission and the legislation in force.

4. The CSDF attains income according to the law through the administration of its assets and through other lawful activities.

Article 18
CSDF headquarters

The CSDF headquarters are in Tirana. The Council of Ministers provides the CSDF with adequate facilities for its headquarters.

Article 19
Bank accounts

1. The CSDF holds accounts in the treasury, in accordance with the legislation in force.

2. Funds obtained in foreign currency are deposited in special bank accounts.


CHAPTER VII
SELECTION AND DECISION MAKING PROCEDURES

Article 20
Implementation of public procurement rules

Provisions of Law no. 9643, dated 20.11.2006, “On public procurement”, as amended, and the secondary legislation enacted for the implementation of this law, mentioned in the above Articles of this Chapter, are implemented on a case by case basis in the context of this law, for as long as they are not in contradiction with this and other laws.

Article 21
Responsibilities of CSDF bodies in allocating funds

1. The fund is divided and allocated according to the fields determined by the Supervisory Board.

2. The CSDF executive director:
a) ensures the drafting and development of the terms of the grant in compliance with the field specifics;
b) publicly announces the grant and the requirements for bidding and for the selection of the beneficiary subjects;
c) establishes a commission for the evaluation of project proposals, composed of no less than 3 people for each bidding procedure, with the participation of representatives from civil society organizations as invitees;
ç) determines the timelines and the persons responsible for the negotiation of conditions or required changes in the project proposal, according to the conditions determined by the evaluation commission;
d) notifies the candidates participating in a procedure;
dh) signs the contract with the winner.

3. The Evaluation Commission:
a) opens, examines and assesses the qualification criteria of project proposals received, on the date, venue and time announced in the bidding documents, in the presence of the bidders and of the representatives invited from the civil society;
b) declares the winner, by announcing, accordingingly, the individual conditions that make the project proposal a winner.

4. The contract shall provide for at least the manner of the transfer of funds, the documentation and type of financial and performance reporting, types of recognized and acceptable expenditures, forms of oversight, the documentation on expenditures and the product/result of the project proposal funded, as well as other mutual conditions or responsibilities.

5. The responsible body in other funding authorities in accordance with paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article is the same as the one determined according to the rules for public procurement.

Article 22
Bidding

1. The funding authorities, in the context of this law, allocate funds in support of the civil society on the basis of open bidding and public selection of project proposals in accordance with the principles and procedure provided for in this law.

2. The number of bidders in a bidding procedure may not be limited. The participation of candidates in a bidding procedure may not be refused simply because they are required to be natural or legal persons.

3. The funding authority shall repeat the procedure if there is only one bidder. In cases when even after the repetition of the bidding procedure there is still only one bidder presenting a project proposal, the funding authority may proceed with the procedure with the condition that the project proposal meets the qualification requirements and the terms of the grant according to this law.

Article 23
Main procedure

1. The procedure for the selection of project proposals includes the following phases:
a) publication of the annual action plan;
b) announcement and publication of each bidding procedure for a particular grant, and making relevant bidding documents available;
c) changes and explanations made in the course of the procedure;
ç) submission of project proposals and registration of candidates by the funding authority;
d) examination of the eligibility, compliance with technical and financial requirements, registration and evaluation of the project proposal;
dh) announcement of the bidding results, including conditions to be adapted or changed;
e) in case of refusal of all bidders, a statement explaining the reasons of the refusal;
ë) possible negotiation on changes determined as a condition for the approval of the winning project proposal;
f) negotiation and signing of the contract;
g) publication of information according to the provisions of this law.

2. The Council of Ministers approves template contracts and procedural rules, applicable to the funds in support of the civil society, which are allocated in accordance with this law.


Article 24
Projects

1. The projects shall contain information about the purpose, specific objectives, activities, additional costs, and target results. Their evaluation is done according to clear indicators of justified definitions.

2. The projects, according to their nature, are prepared for the necessary timeline required for their implementation according to the provisions of this law, which may exceed the period of a financial year.

Article 25
Bidding documents

1. The funding authority prepares the bidding documents, which include at least:
a) general information about the funding authority;
b) minimum qualification criteria and the necessary documentation in support of these criteria;
c) terms of the grant;
ç) guidelines on the timelines and formalities to be observed;
d) information about the criteria used for the selection of bidders.

2. The terms of the grant contain project characteristics, scope, specific objectives, necessary activities to be performed, and outcome evaluation criteria.

Article 26
Compilation of draft proposals

1. The applicant should compile draft proposals that are compatible with the criteria of the documents needed for the bid.

2. The technical proposal shall be drafted in accordance with the grant terms, so that it provides the necessary information for technical evaluation.

3. The financial proposal shall be drafted in a way that ensures the necessary information for the financial evaluation.

Article 27
Public information and information means

1. Designation and application of fund allocation procedures in accordance with this law, selection procedures, contracts that are stipulated between the funding authority and the beneficiary, as well as reports on funds spending, as provided for by this law, constitute information of public interest, which is compliant with the legal framework on the right of information on official documents.

2. The funding authority shall apply the provisions of articles 12, sections 2 and 3, 21, 22, 24, 25 and 36 of the Law No.9643, dated 20.11.2006, “On Public Procurement,” amended.

Article 28
Announcements

All public announcements on bid procedures, according to the specifications of this law, shall be published in the Public Announcements Journal, and the on the website of the funding authority.

Article 29
Deadlines for submission of draft proposals

1. The funding authority should determine a  deadline for the submission of draft proposals and include it in the announcement for participation in a bid procedure  Such deadline may not be shorter than 30 calendar days from the publication of the announcement.

2. In cases of emergency, where the programme to be executed is of interest to the media and public, and/or where observation of the above deadline would result in damages to the funding authority, the latter is entitled to apply a short term of no less than 15 days.

3. In the cases referred to in section 2 of this article, the bid participation announcement issued by the funding authority should include the motives of shortening the deadline, provided in section 1 of this article.

4. The funding authority is entitled to prolong the deadline for submitting draft proposals, provided that the new deadline is made public at least six days prior to the expiration of the previous deadline.

Article 30
Explanatory information

1. Any legal or natural person, who has obtained a copy of the documents for bid, in compliance with this law, has the right to request and obtain further clarifications by the funding authority.

2. It is mandatory for the funding authority to reply to any requests for explanatory information, provided that such request is received no later than five days prior to the deadline for submission of draft proposals.

3. The funding authority should reply to any requests for explanatory information at least three days prior to the deadline for submission of draft proposals.

4. The funding authority is entitled to provide upon its own initiative additional explanatory information on the bid documents and should communicate such information to all the candidates within the deadlines provided for in the above sections of this article.

Article 31
Qualification, disqualification and exclusion criteria

1. For the implementation of this law, the funding authority shall apply the following provisions of Law No.9643, dated 20.11.2006 “On Public Procurement,” amended:
a) article 26 on corrupt practices and conflict of interests;
b) article 45 on criteria of disqualification of candidates;
c) criteria on candidates qualification, according to article 46 to the extent of its applicability in the meaning of the provisions of this law.
ç) disqualification criteria, according to article 47.

2. Exclusion of candidates shall be made in accordance with article 13, section 3 of the Law No.9643, dated 20.11.2006 “On Public Procurement,” amended.

Article 32
Submission, admission, modification and withdrawal of draft proposals

Specifications provided by articles 48, 50 and 51, sections 1 and 2 of the Law No.9643, dated 20.11.2006 “On Public Procurement,” amended, shall be applicable for the submission and admission, validity modification and withdrawal of draft proposals.

Article 33
Opening and examination of draft proposals

Provisions of articles 52, 53, 56, 57 of the Law No.9643, dated 20.11.2006, “On Public Procurement,” amended, shall be applicable for the opening and examination of the draft proposals and for the information administration.

Article 34
Defining criteria for the winning draft proposal

1. The funding authority should include in the bid announcement and documents the criteria on basis of which the winning draft proposal shall be established. These criteria shall not change in the course of the entire respective procedure.

2. Defining criteria for the winning draft proposal should enable evaluation according to the principles of competition and the ability of the candidate to perform the activity proposed to be funded.

3. The defining criteria for the winning draft proposal should enable evaluation of the qualities of the draft proposals and the technical and financial specifications made public in the bid announcement.

Article 35
Calculation scheme of winning draft proposal

1. The funding authority shall declare as winner the highest scoring draft proposal that, according to the calculation scheme, results to be the draft proposal with the highest priority in the technical and financial perspective.

2. The calculation scheme referred to in section 1 of this article shall be determined by taking into consideration together with the budget various other evaluation criteria for the draft proposal that depend on the nature of grant. Such criteria shall be clearly specified in the outline of specific norms that should be closely linked with the nature of the contract and that may not be subject to changes in the course of application of the grant distribution procedure.

3. The funding authority should specify in the public announcement and in the bid documents the criteria of the draft proposal evaluation, as well as the detailed calculation scheme as applicable.

Article 36
Winner notification and signing of contract

1. Notification of the winner and signing of the contract shall take place in accordance with article 58 of the Law No.9643, dated 20.11.2006 “On Public Procurement,” amended.

2. Funding contracts made between the funding authority and the beneficiary shall establish the obligation of the subject to report to the High State Audit on the financial activity for its execution, whereas failure to do so may result in the invalidation of the contract.

Article 37
Contract execution

1. The funding authority and the beneficiary may stipulate in the contract that payments to the beneficiary shall be made by instalments, depending on the observation of the contract and the respective expenditure, in correspondence with the potential financial risks, duration and progress of the funded activity or depending on the internal organization or operational costs of the beneficiary.

2. The funding authority shall not pay the last instalment to the beneficiary, prior to receiving the final evaluation report of the activity and the financial statement, which the beneficiary has the obligation to submit to the funding authority no later than 30 days upon conclusion of the activity.

3. Evaluation shall take place no later than 30 days from the receipt of the reports referred to in section 2 of this article.

4. The funding authority may reserve the right to request additional information from the beneficiary, both in the course of execution of the contract, as well as after the evaluation of the activity reports, in order to complete the documents, but no later than three months from the expiration of the deadline established by section 3 of this article.

5. The funding authority shall apply the provisions of Chapter VI of Law No.9643, dated 20.11.2006 “On Public Procurement,” amended, for the execution of the contract.

Article 38
Administrative Revision and Investigation

Provisions of Chapters VII and VIII, and of articles 69 to 71 of Chapter IX of Law No.9643, dated 20.11.2006 “On Public Procurement,” amended, shall be applicable.


CHAPTER VIII
AUDITING AND FINANCIAL REPORT ON THE CSDF ACTIVITY

Article 39
Auditing

The financial activity of the CSDF shall be subject to auditing by the internal auditing unit of the Ministry of Finance, in accordance with the effective legislation.

Article 40
Financial reporting

1. The CSDF financial year shall be equivalent with the calendar year.

2. Upon termination of the financial year, the Executive Director shall submit to the CSDF audit the annual financial statement of incomes and expenditures, as well as the state of CSDF assets for the last financial year. Within three months from the termination of the financial year, the executive director submits to the Overseeing Board the above report and the audit report. All members of the Overseeing Board shall sign the financial report as approved.


CHAPTER IX
FINAL TRANSITORY PROVISIONS

Article 41
Appointment of members of first Overseeing Board

The Council of Ministers, based on sections 2, 3 and 4 of article 8 of this law, is tasked with appointing the members of the first CSDF Overseeing Board.

Article 42
CSDF budget for 2008

The CSDF budget for 2008 is constituted by the fund allocated by Law No.9836, dated 26.11.2007, “On 2008 State Budget”, aimed at supporting the civil society, in accordance with the last sentence of article 8 and table 1 attached to the law referred to above.

Article 43
Sub legal acts

The Council of Ministers is responsible for issuing the necessary sub legal acts for the implementation of articles 8, 9, sections 2, 15, sections 2 e 3, 16, section 3, 18, and of Chapter VII of this law.

Article 44
Entry into force

This law shall enter into force 15 days after its publication in the Official Journal.