CiviC Forum Dublin

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER): Open Government PartnershipNotes (and key actions)
Meeting Dublin Civic Forum Date 27 September
Project Open Government Partnership National Action Plan 2 Day Tuesday
Venue Institute of Public Administration (IPA)   Time 6.00-8.00pm  
Facilitated by TCI Engagement   Facilitators Victoria Oliveira, Kevin Daly, Ian Devlin, Grainne Walsh

22 signed forms

Participants Participants
Antoin O’Lachtnain Director, Digital Rights Ireland (DRI) Damon Mathew Wise National Council for persons with Disabilities
Cllr Eddie O’Mera Tipperary Co Co Danielle Martin The Wheel
Francis Gilmartin Leitrim PNN Ann O’Brien NUI Galway
Nuala Haughey TASC Donal O’Brolchain Individual
John Devitt Transparency International Flora Fleisher Open Data & Open Gov SME/Customer Centric Operating Models
John Roden Individual Peter Emerson De Borda Institute
Samuel Mc Conkey RCSI Sandy Dunlop Alexander Dunlop Company
Gavin Mc Donnell Individual Cian Devane Individual (Politics Student)
Sara Burke Social Justice Cllr Marie Murphy Tipperary County Council
Cllr Michael Fitzgerald Tipperary Co Co Karen Wise National Council for persons with Disabilities
Micheal Callaghan Individual Denis Parfenov Member at Open Data Governance Board
Micheal Anglim Tipperary County Council

Key points raised (by overarching theme and subtheme)

Strengthening Governance and Accountability

[reg-beneficial-ownership]

Prevent and challenge corruption

  •        Set up a central Register of Beneficial Ownership – “This is part of Ireland’s implementation of the EU’s Anti-Money Laundering Directive”. [reg-beneficial-ownership]
  •        Undertake an independent evaluation of what the Irish State’s transactions were with global capitalism over the past 10 years – focus on Hedge-funds and NAMA – “There are some people, individually or as a company, who don’t seem to be rooted in any particular country, they seem to be playing one of the other”. [reg-beneficial-ownership]
  •        Publish data on the beneficial ownership of Companies. [reg-beneficial-ownership]

[anti-corrupt-resources]

Prevent and challenge corruption

  •        Establish an Online Register of Interest of senior officials and public representatives to enable cross checks of interests. [anti-corrupt-resources]
  •        Ring-fence public resources for the detection, investigation and prevention of corruption of white collar crime;
  •        “Consider establishing an Anti-corruption unit within the Gardaí or an anti-corruption commission, similar to that which exists in NSW, Australia or Hong Kong or Singapore” [anti-corrupt-resources] [anti-corruption-commiss]

[anti-corrupt-commiss]

Prevent and challenge corruption

  •        Review the legislation to investigate the receipts of gifts. [anti-corruption-commiss]

[financial-interest-declar]

Prevent and challenge corruption

  •        Publish an online Public Register of Interests of Public officials and representatives at both a local and national level. [financial-interest-declar]

[public-sector-stds-bill]

Prevent and challenge corruption

  •        Strengthen the Ethics Public Sector standards Bill (noted in the first NAP) – “It is a really ambitious reform, it’s not perfect but if it could be strengthened we could be leading the way as we are doing with the lobbying legislation”. [public-sector-stds-bill]

[sanctions-breach-Lobbyact]

Prevent and challenge corruption

  •        Ensure adherence to the transparency code under lobbying legislation. [sanctions-breach-Lobbyact]

[public-contracts-transparency]

Prevent and challenge corruption

  •        Introduce obligation on bidders on public contracts and buyers of state assets over a certain value to have anti-corruption controls in place and to make details of their beneficial ownership available to the contracting authority. [public-contracts-transparency]

[cooling-off-valuable-info]
 

Prevent and challenge corruption

  •       Introduce longer cooling off periods (3 years) for retiring officials of NAMA, the central bank and other agencies where they have access to information /influence that could be of value to a private sector agent. [cooling-off-valuable-info]

[General]

Strengthen Oversight & Accountability

  •        Ensure that there are further independent regulatory bodies in the way of HIQA. [General]
  •        Strive to break the negative feedback loop – “This could be done via enhancing checks and balances to limit the scope for excess (of action or inertia) by the powerful and aim for much shorter and stronger feedback loops”. [General]

Increased Transparency and Open Data

[legislative-footprint]

Enable full transparency on how legislation is developed

  •        Create a legislative footprint – refer to Slovenia for a best practice example – “There is scope, in the context of Ireland’s second OGP National Action Plan, for Ireland to return to its original commitment by developing a unique dedicated tool that can be applied uniformly to all legislation”. [legislative-footprint]

Ensure that the decision making process is traceable so that individuals can deconstruct how the Government reached a decision;

  •        “It should be possible to see a trail of documents that lead to a decision”.
  •        “Continue to document and release a detailed note on the decision-making process”.
  •        “Map the decision-making process and publish who does what in government” [legislative-footprint] and [duty-create-records]
  •        Ensure that it is possible to investigate the sources on which decisions were made – “What data did they use?” [legislative-footprint] and [duty-create-records]

[duty-create-records]

Enable full transparency on how legislation is developed

  •        Ensure that it is possible to investigate the sources on which decisions were made – “What data did they use?” [legislative-footprint] and [duty-create-records]
  •        Put in place a legal duty to create, retain and maintain records/minutes from meetings or records made in relation to a decision made by a public official – “No one knows why a decision was taken as its often the case that no minutes were recorded” [duty-create-records]
  •        Create minimum record/minute taking standards that are specific for particular public servants – “It’s important that they document how decisions are made – minutes are taken, but only certain points are noted”. [duty-create-records]

[index-significant-docs]

Strengthen Freedom of Information

Put in place a Public Index of every document in the Executive;

  •        “Every significant document in the executive should be listed – refer to Norway as a best practice example”.
  •        “Citizens should be able to see who does what on their day job –  it’s like the old idea of the civil service registrar”. [index-significant-docs]

 [foi-open-by-default]

Strengthen Freedom of Information

  •        Consider removing fees for FOI appeals and retrievals. [foi-open-by-default]
  •        Create a publication scheme under FOI for fiscal information. [foi-open-by-default]
  •        Ensure that historical data is readily available and if not, provide an explanation as to why not – “It has become increasingly hard to get Traffic Data on the Port Tunnel – I don’t think they have it”. [foi-open-by-default]
  •        Clarify and confirm FOI fees – “I received a letter from an official at Dublin City Council stating that a fee of 150 Euros must accompany appeals to the information commissioner if the information relates to non-personal matters – this is factually wrong; the fee is 50 Euros”. [General]
  •        Ensure that Open data is FAIR, which stands for Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. [foi-open-by-default]
  •        Ensure that archives are available, free of charge and constantly updated. [foi-open-by-default] 

[open-public-spend-data]

Increase transparency and effectiveness of public budget spending

  •        Establish a series of consistent accounting standards across all public sector – “Refer to Brazil for a best practice example”.  [open-public-spend-data] [std-data-publish-format]
  •        Provide further transparency of ‘actual’ spend, specifically in relation to where taxpayer’s money goes – “While we have a budget coming out in a few weeks – that tells us where money will go in 2017, we don’t actually know where 2016’s money went – there is no link between spending and where the money actually goes”. [open-public-spend-data]
  •        Insert an infographic on “Where tax money goes” on the back off each P60/LPT form [open-public-spend-data]
  •        Share data between different organisations;
  •        “Government Departments need to share data – there is no point reinventing the wheel every time, it costs money”.[citizen-record-system] [open-public-spend-data]
  •        Establish a series of consistent accounting standards across all public sector – “Refer to Brazil for a best practice example”.  [open-public-spend-data] [std-data-publish-format]

[std-data-publish-format]

Build capacity on the creation and use of Open Data

  •        Establish a series of consistent accounting standards across all public sector – “Refer to Brazil for a best practice example”.  [open-public-spend-data] [std-data-publish-format]
  •        Undertake a risk based approach to guides, codes and good practice in terms of what kind of records individuals should take and in what particular circumstances. [std-data-publish-format]
  •        Provide more resources to develop proper publication schemes that meet guidelines.  [std-data-publish-format]
  •        Develop and publish a short booklet on data standards – “This will provide consistency and prevent standards changing over time”. [std-data-publish-format]
  •        Use Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) signing – “This will ensure that a document isn’t altered – it is a security measure”. [std-data-publish-format]
  •        Share data between different organisations;
  •        “Government Departments need to share data – there is no point reinventing the wheel every time, it costs money”.[citizen-record-system] [open-public-spend-data]
  •        Undertake a summative evaluation of all the lobbying that is going on – “The data that is out there is about each individual lobbyist, but nothing pulls that together. You can export it, but it doesn’t export well as an open data set – it is hard to make sense off”.  [std-data-publish-format]
  •        Commit to the G8 Open Data Charter. [std-data-publish-format] [open-4priority-data]

[open-cro-data]

Open new datasets

  •        Provide free access to company data through the Companies Registration Office (CRO). [open-cro-data]

[open-4priority-data]

Open new datasets

  •        Commit to the G8 Open Data Charter. [std-data-publish-format] [open-4priority-data]

[publish-postcodes]

Open new datasets

 

  •        Review the commercial model for open access to Postcodes. [publish-postcodes]
  •        Ensure that there are electronic recordings of Court proceedings in all Court hearings. [General]

Strengthening Citizen Engagement

[online-only-excludes]

Address barriers to the inclusion of all citizens

  •        [The Government needs to] Invest more resources in making it easier for disabled people to participate – “Equal citizens=equal funding”. [online-only-excludes]

[decision-making-act]

Also [decision-making-act] [Citizen-engagement-org] [public-sector-capacity-train] [info-understood-by-all]

  •        Ensure offline options are available for citizens to participate;  
  •        “All this tech stuff is really exciting but not everyone in Ireland has access to technology – we need to be inclusive of all society – the digital divide is a huge issue”.
  •        “Everything seems to be online these days – but there are some people who don’t’ have access to a computer, some people can’t even send an email”. [online-only-excludes]

[citizen-initiatives]

Increase citizens power in setting the agenda

  •        Ensure that the public servants – elected and appointed, understand that all legitimate power derives from citizens – “Refer to Swiss style direct democracy as a best practice approach”.

[citizen-initiatives]

[Citizen-engagement-org]

Build enabling structures and drivers for effective citizen engagement

  •        [The Government needs to] Invest more resources in making it easier for disabled people to participate – “Equal citizens=equal funding”. [online-only-excludes]

Also [decision-making-act] [Citizen-engagement-org] [public-sector-capacity-train] [info-understood-by-all]

[Regulate-care-urb-commons] &

[living-lab]&

[engagement-innovations]

Build enabling structures and drivers for effective citizen engagement

  •        Strive to promote a culture of civic action and collaboration which will make it easier for citizens to instigate and collaborate with others on urban renewal and improvement projects;
  •        “Refer to other city authorities such as Italy who have enacted city regulations aimed at promoting such an approach to the urban commons”
  •        “Strive to make our laws more supportive of such projects, and position the local public authority as a partner /collaborator rather than merely a gate – keeper in the improvement of our towns and cities”
  •        “Examine the possibility of enacting legislation / regulations on the care of the urban commons”.

[Regulate-care-urb-commons] [living-lab] [engagement-innovations]

[ppn-support-structures]

  •        Ensure that there is a better working relationships between PPN and Local Councils. [ppn-support-structures]
  •        Abolish all PPN’s – “They undermine the democratic process and should be abolished”. [ppn-support-structures]
  •        Implement a Communication Strategy around opportunities for citizen participation at a local level, make sure that citizens know what a PPN is and how they can become involved;
  •        “Make sure that the PPN’s are effectively and continuously resourced”  
  •        “I’ve never heard of a PPN – what is it?”
  •        “Ensure that participation doesn’t become ‘cloudy’ need to remove those layers of obscurity otherwise distrust could set in”
  •        “There is a feeling that PPN’s are too skewed by the Executive”
  •        “Local government should not be hiding behind PPN’s”

[gov-communication] [ppn-support-structures]

[support-impediments-voluntary]

  •        Differentiate between commercial charities and smaller organisations;
  •        “We need to look at the administrative overhead of small NGO’s”
  •        “Voluntary sector bodies which have no income or less than 100 Euro a year should not need to be audited”. [support-impediments-voluntary]
  •        Ensure that the new ‘Proposed principles to guide public consultation’ which were published in July 2015 as part of the first OGP National Action Plan (NAP) are implemented properly;
  •        “The document is very good but I have questions over the implementation of it”
  •        “I don’t know what the status of the document is, as far as I’m aware feedback on the consultation process regarding the Draft document hasn’t been published – people need to know how they influenced the end outcome”. [General]

[public-sector-capacity-train]

Build capacity of the public sector personnel in citizen engagement

  •        [The Government needs to] Invest more resources in making it easier for disabled people to participate – “Equal citizens=equal funding”. [decision-making-act] [online-only-excludes] [Citizen-engagement-org] [public-sector-capacity-train] [info-understood-by-all]
  •        Make sure that best practice in consultation is led by the Department of the Taoiseach and is embedded across all National and Local Government Departments through proper training.  [public-sector-capacity-train]
  •        Raise awareness of the Aarhus Convention;
  •        “Implement training for public servants and TD’s – it is often the case that citizens know more than public servants”
  •        “Run an educational campaign”
  •        “Introduce a best practice guide for public servants and public so that each person knows what to expect” – “Refer to relevant documentation produced by the Ombudsman”.

 [public-sector-capacity-train]

  •        Ensure that local authorities are genuinely open to and properly trained to carry out public participation;
  •        “They need to actively listen to the views of the community and strive to move towards co-creation”.
  •        “Training is key – individuals should be provided with the opportunity to go and experience best practice consultation in practice”
  •        “A cultural change is required – use internal crowdsourcing to create internal value (refer to- Beth Noveck (GovLab)”
  •        “It would also be worthwhile looking into ‘Dublin Beta’”.

[public-sector-capacity-train]

  •        Undertake an internal consultation on how we (that is, Public Servants) can be more transparent and what is stopping it – “Implement training within government agencies to help dissuade fears – people need to be accountable but they also need to feel supported (In some countries they have a ’No Fear’ policy)”. [public-sector-capacity-train]
  •        Raise awareness and provide better training around UN obligations in relation to disability – “This will be enacted this year and will have a lot of implications for public servants”. [public-sector-capacity-train]
  •        Raise awareness of the Aarhus Convention;
  •        “Run an educational campaign”
  •        “Introduce a best practice guide for public servants and public so that each person knows what to expect” – “Refer to relevant documentation produced by the Ombudsman”. [public-sector-capacity-train] [body-accessible-info] [gov-communication]

[gov-communication] & [info-understood-by-all]

Improve public communication and access to information for citizens

  •        Ensure information is ‘available’ and ‘comprehensive’ so that citizens can make informed decisions with regards to citizen engagement on policy decision making. [body-accessible-info]  [gov-communication] [info-understood-by-all]

    Ensure that Governance and Accountability is bottom up, as opposed to just top down;

  •        “Raise awareness within the public in terms of whistleblowing, the standards we expect of our public officials, and the Register of Interests at a local authority level”. [body-accessible-info]  [gov-communication]
  •        Raise awareness of the Aarhus Convention;
  •        “Run an educational campaign”
  •        “Introduce a best practice guide for public servants and public so that each person knows what to expect” – “Refer to relevant documentation produced by the Ombudsman”. [public-sector-capacity-train] [body-accessible-info] [gov-communication]
  •        Consider adding a simple statement on the back of the LPT form saying ‘here is where your tax is going. “This will help engage people – some might say ‘I don’t agree with that’.” [info-understood-by-all]
  •        Simplify the language and offer more time when engaging on complex material (consultations are often too short) – “Access to information written in Plain English is important” [info-understood-by-all]
  •        Explain the budget process in a way that citizens understand (refer to ‘Citizens Budget’ as an example). [body-accessible-info] [gov-communication] [info-understood-by-all]
  •        Implement a Communication Strategy around opportunities for citizen participation at a local level, make sure that citizens know what a PPN is and how they can become involved;
  •        “Make sure that the PPN’s are effectively and continuously resourced”  
  •        “I’ve never heard of a PPN – what is it?”
  •        “Ensure that participation doesn’t become ‘cloudy’ need to remove those layers of obscurity otherwise distrust could set in”
  •        “There is a feeling that PPN’s are too skewed by the Executive”
  •        “Local government should not be hiding behind PPN’s”

[gov-communication] [ppn-support-structures]

  •        Remove business jargon from all forms of government communications;
  •        “For example, on Page 4 of the ‘OGP Have Your Say’ consultation document, it states that I am customer of the public sector – I am not a customer of the public sector – I am a citizen and the public sector are my servants. I am not a customer as I don’t have choice about government services, I don’t have a choice about how I pay for them”.
  •        “People with disabilities are called clients which is even more insulting”

[gov-communication]

  •        Push for people to attend open door County Council meetings. [gov-communication]
  •        Establish a process for local groups to make presentations to local authorities about ‘things’ they want from their governments. [gov-communication]
  •        Strive for the same “look and feel” across Government department websites so that citizens can access things easily – “Consistency is key”. [gov-communication]
  •        Publish the old fashioned State Directory – “This should go down to at least HEO level. It should also provide details on salaries too”. [gov-communication]
  •        Update the Standards of Public Office Commission website to ensure ease of navigation, access and readability;
  •        “It’s is not easy to understand what the responsibilities of public officials are”
  •        “Refer to the lobbying website as an exemplar of other standards of governance and accountability”. [gov-communication]
  •        Simplify the process of subscribing to updates from Government Departments/public bodies. [gov-communication]

[educate-young]

Educate young people for active citizenship

  •        Consider using primary and secondary schools to train citizens on how the government works and how decisions are made – “This is a great idea- it is already part of the CSP (Civic Social Political Education course”. [educate-young]

[subsidiarity-local-tax]

Strengthen and protect the subsidiarity principle

  •        Consider adopting the continental practice of commune level government – “This will shorten the feedback loop”. [subsidiarity-local-tax]

[engagement-innovations]

Foster innovation in citizen engagement

  •        [In the name of transparency] Ensure that consultation processes state all possible options before a final decision is made. [engagement-innovations]
  •        Set up a local voting system online mainly (but not exclusively) which would require making the electoral register open to local groups to use as a basis for local voting – “At the moment I can’t get hold of the electoral register except in its public version but there is a secret part to that which isn’t accessible”. [engagement-innovations]

Establish local Community Councils to discuss ideas and increase transparency – like in Town Halls;

  •        “The rushing in of the PPN’s was done is quite an undemocratic way and does not substitute for the fact that the most of Ireland has not got any Town or City Councils anymore except for Dublin, Cork and Galway – we only have County Councils…
  •        There is a lack of continuity and transparency, everything is done behind closed doors – the PPN as it currently constituted cannot fill the vacancy – we need local community councils – they will bring ideas from the grassroots community groups through the stream and up to the PPN networks – this will lead to more accountability and more transparency – the PPN’s cannot see what is going on down on the ground”.[engagement-innovations]
  •        Strive to make consultation ‘fun and cool’ via introducing gaming/game based learning (e.g. State Craft X), however, consultors should ensure that they use sufficient ‘depth and breadth’ and proper engagement methods for all needs and abilities;
  •        “There needs to be a sufficient amount of breadth and depth to consultation – this will keep people interested and involved”.

[engagement-innovations]

  •        [The Government needs to] Investigate, analyse and evaluate alternative voting methods.
  •        “Refer to Scandinavia as an example – it is less adversarial and more consensual”
  •        “The final report should be published by the Government in a readable format (not PDF)”
  •        “Referenda outcomes should not be binding”
  •        “Consider multi-option voting” [engagement-innovations]
  •        Introduce a ‘Rate the State’ system on one day of the year (say on 17 March);
  •        “This will provide a method of quantifying levels of trust and other areas of interest/concern in the form of a O-1O scale”. [engagement-innovations]
  •        Fund satire and comedy (for example “Yes Minister”) to entice interest.  [engagement-innovations]

[participatory-budgeting]

  •        Implement a best practice pilot initiative on Participatory Budgeting (refer to South America, UK, USA and Italy for best practice examples) – “Milan University have put together a hybrid version (online and offline) for a Participatory Budgeting platform – it would be worth looking into this”.  [participatory-budgeting]

[OGP-consultation-process]

  •        [The Government needs to] Invest more resources to promote citizen engagement;
  •        “Let’s take the OGP consultation as an example – it happens every two years – the Government should consider investing more resources and time into facilitating this process. Consultation should not just happen three months in advance of the action plan being formulated – it should happen over the course of the year so that there is a better opportunity for people to engage”.
  •        “In the previous OGP NAP, there was very little engagement in this process from the Department of Environment and the Department of Justice – we didn’t see the level of engagement from Government departments that was required – we found it hard to get other Civil Society organisations involved. It’s imperative that the Government invests more resources into this process”
  •        “Going forward, the Government could consider funding a series of OGP roadshows which could move around the country as part of on an ongoing consultation process – this will also ensure that the consultation has more of a regional focus. In addition, relevant individuals/Departments could make presentations on the actions they have taken”.  [OGP-consultation-process]