Civic Miracle

A farmer, a father of four from the Tricity, a resident of the villa town of Milanówek, a high school graduate from Silesia and a Warsaw hipster – although they have never met in real life, they have been changing Poland for six months. And it’s a good idea to join them!

We are talking about “ordinary citizens” working together to make public the records of contracts concluded by public institutions scattered around the country – national ones, local government ones and all the others. Records that best show how our tax money is spent.

The first such register was made available on the Internet by the Warsaw City Hall, which, after losing a court dispute over the openness of contracts, decided to collect them in one place and make them available in a much more user-friendly form than the obligation imposed by the court stipulated. This move inspired the editor-in-chief of the Nowa Wieś portal in the Kęty municipality (in Małopolska) to file a request to the mayor of that municipality to disclose a similar register. The idea was soon picked up by Dziennik Polski, who expressed a similar expectation for all municipalities and poviats of Małopolska (Lesser Poland), 

At the other end of Poland, in Szczecin, a similar initiative was launched by the Szczecinianie Decydują (Szczecin Residents Decide) association. Not seeing any action on the part of the Szczecin president’s office, the organization took matters into its own hands and applied for contracts from the city hall (it received them in the form of scans on CDs) and organised the Szczecin Anti-Corruption Night, during which residents themselves analysed documents provided by the city hall and created a database on their basis, which was made available on the Internet. The official register appeared on the city’s Public Information Bulletin’s website less than a month later.

This developing campaign was picked up by Adam Dobrawy (a volunteer with the Citizens Network Watchdog Poland, who, however, in this role acted as a completely independent citizen) and he began requesting registries from ministries and other government and regional institutions. Over time, he has even developed a specific methodology and approach to have every public (or partially publicly funded) institution disclose such a register on its website. Adam is supported in his work by other active citizens – Borys Bura, Janusz Ostrowski, Monika Bienias and Adrian Abłaczyński. They know each other almost exclusively from the Internet. Incidental support is provided by Piotr VaGla Waglowski and the Citizens Network Watchdog Poland, but this activity is in fact carried out by ordinary yet active citizens. And most importantly, more and more people are joining them.

Citizens Network Watchdog Poland has assumed patronage over the action – because openness matters, and in particular openness concerning the spending of our common money. Read how to act and get started. Change Poland, it’s your business too!



On 14 October 2021, the Parliament introduced a centralised, public register of contracts for all public finance entities. Citizens intend to monitor the technological standard of this solution and the content of the register. Moreover, in the future they will try to extend the obligation to state and municipal companies and other state-owned entities, such as foundations funded by state-owned companies or state forests. Entire contracts may also be the subject of efforts.

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