FAQ

Are there any mininum standards for countries joining the OGP?

Are there any mininum standards for countries joining the OGP?

Governments are eligible to join the Open Government Partnership if they exhibit a demonstrated commitment to open government in four key areas .

The eligibility criteria are:

  1. Fiscal Transparency

The timely publication of essential budget documents forms the basic building blocks of budget accountability and an open budget system.

  1. Access to Information

Anaccess to information law that guarantees the public’s right to information and access to government data is essential to the spirit and practice of open government.

  1. Disclosures related to elected or senior public servants

Rule sthat require public disclosure ofincome and assets for elected and senior public officials are essential to anti‐corruption and open, accountable government.

  1. Citizen Engagement

Open Government requires openness to citizen participation and engagement in policy making and governance, including basic protections for civil liberties.

In addition, nations  that  wish  to  participate  in  the  OGP  must  agree  to  meet  five  common expectations:

  1. Endorse a high level Declaration of Principles on open government.
  2. Make concrete commitments as part of a national action plan that progresses the country beyond current practice.
  3. Develop national action plans  through  a  multi‐stakeholder  process,  with  the active engagement of citizens and civil society.
  4. Commit to self‐assessment and independent reporting in the country’s process.
  5. Contribute to the advancement of open government in other countries through sharing of best practices, expertise, technical assistance, technologies and resources, as appropriate.

 

 

How do I get involved with OGP in Ireland?

How do I get involved with OGP in Ireland?

In Ireland, a Civil Society Forum was set up in January 2014. It is a loose network of interested organisations and individuals and is open to anyone to join. The Forum met occasionally to discuss issues surrounding Ireland’s first National Action Plan.

More details on civil society’s engagement in the first National Action Plan – including notes of meetings and working documents – are available here. These include details of the range of individuals and organisations who have been involved in Ireland’s OGP journey to date.

If you would like to receive email updates on the forum’s activities, please join our mailing list below.

Join the OGP mailing list

How was Ireland’s first National Action Plan drafted?

How was Ireland’s first National Action Plan drafted?

The joint efforts of civil society representatives and members of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (D/PER) and Environment, resulted in the publication of the Draft National Action Plan on May 8th (open for public comment until June 6th) at the OGP Europe Regional Conference in Dublin Castle. Ireland submits its final Action Plan to the International OGP Steering Committee in June to enable Ireland to begin implementation of the Plan over the second half of 2014.

The route to drafting Ireland’s OGP National Action Plan was multi-faceted.

October 2013 – Civil Society’s National Action Plan proposals are submitted

Following a three month consultation with citizens and civil society in summer 2013, a total of 62 concrete commitments for inclusion in Ireland’s first OGP National Action Plan were produced. A report detailing these proposals was sent to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, which funded the consultation. Read that report. For more detail on this consultation, see Ireland and the OGP.

February 2014 – A Joint Working Group is formed

A Joint Working Group, made up of civil society volunteers and government officials, was set up to work on Ireland’s first OGP NAP.  A total of nine weekly meetings at which civil society and official representatives discuss proposals and priorities for a draft National Action Plan. During this period, the civil society volunteers on the Joint Working Group reported back to a wider civil society group at weekly Civil Society Forum meetings (held generally Tuesday evenings at the TASC office). At these Forum sessions, participants examined and discussed evolving NAP proposals and worked collaboratively on draft NAP documents. Such discussions and proposals can be seen in the the Civil Society Forums’ summary notes .

February 18, 2014 – The first draft of the Action Plan is produced

This was the first of four drafts that were delivered between the months of February and May. Here is a breakdown of NAP drafts:

February 18, 2014 – Draft Action Plan provided by D/PER .

March 19, 2014  D/PER submits another Draft Action Plan

April 08, 2014 – Draft OGP Action Plan with commentary from civil society

May 8, 2014 – Draft National Action Plan published by Minister Brendan Howlin at OGP Europe Regional Conference 

 

March 05, 2014 – D/PER submits Draft OGP Civil Society Consultation Proposal Table for Discussion.

This information was brought to the Civil Society Forum, where suggested amendments and additions to the draft are brought to the table and agreed and brought to the next Joint Working Group Meeting.  In upcoming Civil Society Forum meetings text for NAP’s action Point on Capacity Building and for NAP’s action Point on Local Government is developed.

 March 14, 2014 – Civil Society submitted a shortlist priorities for inclusion in the National Action Plan

These amendments and suggestions were tabled for D/PER’s review and discussed at the subsequent Joint Working Group Meeting.

March 22, 2014Civil Society Priorities for inclusion in the National Action Plan – Tabular Response from Dept of Public Expenditure and Reform

A response to civil society’s priorities is discussed at the Civil Society Forum and ideas arising from that meeting feed into the Joint Working Group Meeting, two days later.

March 21 – April 1 2014 – Civil society develops text for NAP’s action Point on Capacity Building. Civil society develops text for NAP’s action Point on Local Government

April 08, 2014Government submits another Draft OGP Action Plan

April 16, 2014Civil Society’s Comments and Observations on the latest Draft National Action Plan. Civil Society drafted a forward to the draft NAP.

May 8, 2014Draft National Action Plan published by Minister Brendan Howlin at OGP Europe Regional Conference  (open for public comment until June 6th, 2014)

 

What are OGP’s five “Grand Challenges”?

What are OGP’s five “Grand Challenges”?

 

OGP sets five “Grand Challenges” for governments. In their first National Action Plans, countries are encouraged to focus on one or more of these areas.

They are:

Improving Public Services — measures that address the full spectrum of citizen service including health, education, criminal justice, water, electricity, telecommunications and any other relevant service areas, by fostering public service improvement or private sector innovation.

Increasing Public Integrity — measures that address corruption and public ethics, access to information, campaign finance reform, and media and civil society freedom.

More Effectively Managing Public Resources — measures that address budgets, procurement, natural resources and foreign assistance.

Creating Safer Communities — measures that address public safety, the security sector, disaster and crisis response, and environmental threats.

Increasing  Corporate  Accountability — measures  that  address  corporate responsibility  on  issues  such  as  the  environment,  anti‐corruption,  consumer protection, and community engagement.

What are the aims of OGP?

What are the aims of OGP?

The OpenGovernment Partnership aims to radically open up governments to scrutiny from their citizens. The OGP commits governments to: increase the availability of information about government services; support citizen participation within political decision-making; implement the highest standards of professional integrity and to increase access to new technologies for openness and accountability. While chasing these objectives, the OGP is overseen by a Steering Committee composed in equal numbers of governments and civil society organizations. The OGP also has an Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM). The IRM is charged with tracking the progress and impact of OGP participating countries.

What are the concrete benefits of participation in the Open Government Partnership?

What are the concrete benefits of participation in the Open Government Partnership?

What is most notable about the OGP initiative is the broad spectrum of governments seeking to work together with civil society and private sector actors at the national level to develop concrete plans for reform.

Undoubtedly there is a diverse list of reasons as to why individual countries are choosing to participate in the OGP. However one common theme underpinning the OGP is the basic principle that “Open Government”, transparency and integrity is fundamental to effective public governance and the practice of democracy.

There is a growing body of evidence to support the assessment that considerable social, economic and political benefits can result from governments adopting an open data strategy. A World Bank study of the impacts of transparency on governance found that greater access to information could improve risk management, economic performance and bureaucratic efficiency in governments. An OECD report also draws a link on how increasing government openness can contribute to a higher rate of GDP growth.

Open Data is undoubtedly a driver for economic growth. Economic gains are expected to be generated in three main areas:

  • Business innovation: Broader and more rapid access to scientific papers and data will make it easier for researchers and businesses to build on the findings of public‐funded research. This will help boost a country or region’s innovation capacity in fields like pharmaceutics and renewables.
  • Business Creation: A new market for public service information will thrive is data is available and products/services are developed by businesses by adding value to the original public service data provided by a government.
  • Business efficiency: Businesses and public bodies could benefit from more open data by gaining more precise and complete insight into customers’ preferences and needs, thus becoming more efficient in tackling those needs and at the same time contributing to a smart growth.

A recent EU Commission report on Open Data has predicted that the overall economic gain from opening up public data could amount to €40 billion a year in the EU. An example of the US opening their weather data led to gross receipts by commercial weather industry of $400‐700 million a year with 400 firms employing 4,000 people. By comparison, Europe had a similar sized economy but with a largely closed weather data, and had only 30 firms with 300 employees and receipts of £30‐50m a year.

At a national level there are a growing number of initiatives that are pursuing open data strategies that reflect the principles of the OGP. The Fingal Open Data network and the “Dublinked” project have been instrumental in encouraging data driven innovation. Success stories include the re‐use of the information published in the Residential Property Price Register by a number of online property sites and the use of Dublin parking data to develop parking apps. “Fixyourstreet” is another local initiative that promotes greater openness and citizen participation in reporting local issues directly online to county councils.

What countries are involved in the Open Government Partnership?

What countries are involved in the Open Government Partnership?

Since it was established in 2011 the number of countries actively involved in the OGP has increased very substantially from eight to 64.

The initial eight founding members who endorsed the Open Government Declaration were Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Today, OGP has expanded to become a truly global initiative involving a diverse range of States from across the political spectrum.   A comprehensive list of States that have formally committed to the OGP, as well as their individual National Action Plans, is listed is on the OGP website.

What is involved in formulating an Open Government Action Plan?

What is involved in formulating an Open Government Action Plan?

  1. Initiate consultations with domestic stakeholders, consistent with the principles of the Open Government Partnership. Governments need to undertake broad Public consultation with relevant bodies to develop OGP commitments.
  1. Use the networking mechanism to develop ideas for concrete commitments

Make use of the OGP networking mechanisms to engage with other governments and third parties to seek advice on drafting commitments and advice in regards implementation.

  1. Begin the process of developing concrete country commitments

Based on input from the public consultations and government discussions Ireland would be required to draft “New Country Commitments” to be presented in the OGP Action Plan.

  1. Participate in an OGP peer engagement meeting

To  encourage  the  sharing  of  good  practices  and  innovations  and  maintain  high standards, OGP countries participate in peer engagement meetings with other participating countries and the OGP Steering Committee during the commitment development process.

  1. Deliver an action plan and endorse the OGP Declaration

Countries formally join the OGP during an annual high level meeting, when new participating countries endorse the OGP declaration and deliver their country action plans.

What is Ireland’s track record regarding Open Government?

What is Ireland’s track record regarding Open Government?

 

Initiatives that seek to encourage transparency and open government at the national level include Freedom of Information laws, laws to promote standards in public life and most recently the eGovernment 2012‐2015 Reform plan. Planned reforms include laws to protect whistle blowers and to regulate lobbying activities by various interest groups.

The Programme for Government 2011-2016 commits in particular to “facilitate more open, transparent, responsible and responsive public governance”.

Ireland also participates at EU  level and within OSCE, OECD,Council of Europe and United Nations frameworks in efforts to promote transparency and anti‐corruption measures. The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,which became binding in Irish law following the ratification of the Lisbon treaty, enshrines citizens a right of access to documents.

The collapse of Ireland’s banking system and the economic turbulence of 2008 has led to a decline in trust and confidence in government, politics and the democratic system.

What is the OGP and how has Ireland been involved?

What is the OGP and how has Ireland been involved?

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) was launched in September 2011 by President Obama on the margins of the 66th United Nations General Assembly in New York. It is a voluntary multi-party initiative that serves as a platform for the globes’ citizens to fight for open government and to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. Since it was established, OGP has been steadily growing – as of May 2014, 64 countries had joined. In June 2014, Ireland will join OGP, and in doing so it must submit a two-year National Action Plan.

What is a National Action Plan?

A National Action Plan (NAP) is a document that outlines how the government can commit to sharing more about its activities. NAP maps out what the government will do about its processes, so that they can embody Open Government’s principles of Accountability, Citizen Participation, Transparency and Technology and Innovation. After a two-year NAP implementation period, a second OGP NAP will be approached.

How did Ireland’s first OGP National Action Plan Take Shape?

Over recent months, Ireland’s first draft OGP Action Plan came together. It was drafted by officials from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in collaboration with an ad hoc group of civil society organisations and citizens interested in Open Government.  The draft Action Plan was launched in Dublin on 8 May 2014 at a OGP Europe Regional Meeting (see details). This draft plan is open for public comment until June 2014. Please take a look and let DPER know what you think. Views and comments on the draft Plan should be submitted to ogpdublin2014@per.gov.ie by Friday 6 June.

But the story doesn’t end there.

The OGP process is a continuous one and there is an ongoing role for civil society and citizens to play as both watchdogs and partners. This website carries information on many aspects of civil society’s role in OGP. Whether you are an interested individual or an active organisation, we invite you to join us through our discussion forum, through our Google Group mailing list or at a Civil Society Forum meetings.

Civil Society Forum

From February 2014, ad hoc members of civil society held periodic meetings to discuss the expectations and progress surrounding the OGP and Ireland’s first National Action Plan. These meetings are open to all, citizens and civil society representatives alike.. Find meeting notes here and upcoming meeting details on civil society’s OGP website homepage. Find more information here:

 

Where can I find more information on OGP and Ireland’s participation in OGP?

Where can I find more information on OGP and Ireland’s participation in OGP?