Live Blog – Final Public Consultation Meeting

Live account direct from the final pubic consultation meeting in Wood Quay.

Live Blog – Final Public Consultation Meeting
OGP Ireland September 5, 20134:04 pm

That’s it for now. Remember that the report of the consultation process, with the most popular proposals highlighted – but all proposals included – will be online at the website within the next fortnight. After that, it’s over to the government for proposals to be incorporated into Ireland’s National Action Plan.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20134:03 pm

Nuala thanks everyone for attending and for their input, especially facilitators of working groups. Volunteers, Jim Daly (web wizard), Peter Kearney, Phil Kearney the Borda voting genius, Angela Long, Jane Suiter. And Jane adds that the biggest round of applause should go for Nuala herself, who has slaved at getting the consultation process to happen and to succeed.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20133:59 pm

Beausang – after all the work has been done, it would look silly for OGP to be walked away from.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20133:59 pm

Minister Howlin will attend major OGP meeting in October – though Ireland’s Action Plan will not be submitted until next spring.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20133:57 pm

We need to see ideas coming forward for immediate term, and for the longer term, on how OGP will operate in Ireland. Reminds room that the Minister will decide exactly how things work – Beausang.
OGP and its implementation needs to have a higher profile in his department, to discover how civil society and government can work together.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20133:55 pm

William Beausang of Dept of Public Expenditure and Reform is at the meeting, and sums up a few thoughts: think carefully how process is going to work – Action Plan to be submitted in early 2014. He says government needs somebody to talk to, in longer-term engagement with OGP.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20133:54 pm

Action Plan needs to be monitored – as set down in other experiences and documents.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20133:53 pm

Nat O’Connor: OGP has potential to do something good for Ireland, and increase our social/cultural capital. He suggests there should be open evenings and meetings all around the country for people to get involved. As well as physical open forums, there ought be opportunities for people to go online and express their views, discuss. He says one or two people need to be employed to keep that facility running.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20133:51 pm

What will the final wording of the consultation report be, and to what degree can government accept or refute it – issues raised by John Handelaar.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20133:48 pm

Imelda Higgins sketches out a view of a committee and/or ad hoc advisers to nurse OGP in Ireland in the future.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20133:47 pm

Participatory budgeting received most support in its group, and will be in the report forwarded to government. FoI fees will also feature.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20133:46 pm

How can implementation of Open Government measures be resourced and continue – the next question to tackle. Ivan Cooper and Nat O’Connor speaking on this. Ivan says a mechanism should be created for ongoing dialogue and continual construction of open government measures.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20133:40 pm

FoI should be a vaccine against corruption, says speaker from the floor. Criticises government inaction on FoI in term of this administration.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20133:39 pm

You have no rights, you have no hope of an open government in our lifetimes, without the removal of FoI fees, says John, forcefully.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20133:38 pm

FoI legislation requires all public bodies to make a register of all the information they hold – for a citizen to establish on their own what information is held would cost £30,000, he says (says he costed it with a colleague).
FoI is what they don’t want to tell you until you ask. Nothing we do here is more important than removing fees from Freedom of Information. He is speaking with a considerable amount of passion.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20133:36 pm

John Handelaar says he is disappointed with how collectively the ball was dropped, in this process, on Freedom of Information. Of all the things discussed, they are worth only 5 per cent of the value of making FoI a right, and an automatic feature of life in Ireland.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20133:33 pm

Now Dr Jane is initiating a feedback and discussion session – the Last Words.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20133:33 pm

Citizens should participate in ALL decisions around government budgeting – a radical version of the call for budgeting becoming democratic, says Ivan. Civil servants should receive training in Open Government practice – another group proposal. All of these should be prioritised in the programme, Ivan says.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20133:31 pm

Ivan Cooper, of Citizen Participation group, tells room that the outrider in his group’s choices was participatory budgeting. Otherwise it was problematical to distinguish between another 22 proposals – for example, encouragement of young people to become active citizens; that citizens should be able to propose legislation; and that the Aarhus Convention (environmental) be implemented in full.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20133:29 pm

Outside the data thing, says John, was a call to promote the release and spread of open-source software. We also want to expend resources on involving people in policy-making using online tools, he said.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20133:28 pm

John Handelaar, speaking for Technology & Innovation group, says their top proposals were for creating an official data asset catalogue, and creating base spatial reference data (garda boundaries etc). Other popular proposals, overlapping, included adopting the G8 Charter on Data, machine-readable data, timely and predictable release of data.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20133:25 pm

Imelda Higgins, who facilitated Accountability group, sums up. Enhanced powers for Comptroller and Auditor General was high on their list. Measures to improve accountability mechanisms rated highly. The recommendations made by Mahon and Moriarty tribunals should be considered and adopted, with view to ethics in professional life and political contributions.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20133:21 pm

Jane Suiter of UCD and broadcast fame is now launching the final wrap-up discussion. Nat O’Connor of the Transparency group says data availability and readability was a popular choice for his group.
Also, analysis of whether budget allocations help equality in the society. More legislative transparency sought.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20132:56 pm

So now participants in the civil society consultation have to make decisions on what are the strongest points to make to government re measures in the National Action Plan. The final plenary session begins.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20132:55 pm

Phil notes there were practically no ‘outliers’ with an enormous amount of support, but more clusters of propositions with similar support. (The voting system allocates points to selections, and tallies these to show support.)
He notes that ‘Abolish the Official Secrets Act’ got little support, while enthusiasm for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative was not notable.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20132:53 pm

“The results are in!” says Nuala Haughey. (Drum roll needed). Borda voting expert Phil Kearney is giving an analysis of the voting trends to the room.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20132:52 pm

There is a lot of support for many proposals – making the ranking for a ‘wish-list’ a difficult undertaking.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20132:44 pm

Preferences for the various proposals have been counted and processed. A plenary session will begin shortly.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20131:52 pm

The count is on – our adviser on Borda Modified voting, Philip, is helping OGP consultation workers input the figures for preferences on proposals for the Action Plan. Will keep you posted.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20131:50 pm

What the government (in shape of responsible department, Public Expenditure and Reform) says about the OGP process…

OGP Ireland September 5, 20131:39 pm

Today’s meeting marks the end – for the time being – of a process that started at the end of June, after Minister Brendan Howlin sent a letter of intent to join the Open Government Partnership, dated May 15 2013. Consultation with civil society and citizens as to their wishes for an OGP Action Plan is a key step in the journey to Open Government.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20131:25 pm

Whole lotta talkin’ going on.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20131:25 pm

Not too unbelievably, a small slippage in the schedule means that voting hasn’t taken place yet. Each Working Group has to rate its proposals in order of preference, and then the wider assembly chooses from the preferred list.

OGP Ireland September 5, 201312:50 pm

Enjoying tea. Man/woman does not live by Action Plan proposals alone.

OGP Ireland September 5, 201312:49 pm

After today ‘proposals from citizens and civil society for Ireland’s first OGP Action Plan will be presented in a report to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.’ See

OGP Ireland September 5, 201312:33 pm

Dying for tea, which is coming soon – but idea formation takes precedence over light refreshment.

OGP Ireland September 5, 201312:32 pm

Murmur murmur, write write – the Technology Group have their laptops open and are tapping away – others are more verbal or using something I believe is called a pen and paper. You can feel the mental energy in the air!

OGP Ireland September 5, 201312:22 pm

Everyone here will vote on proposals in the next hour. Then we’ll have a structured wish-list, running from the most-agreed-upon proposals, down to the more outlying concepts.

OGP Ireland September 5, 201312:00 pm

Documents are being sculpted – you can view the process on Google Docs via Working Group doc links

Open-ness in action!

OGP Ireland September 5, 201311:33 am

We’ll let you know which proposals are making the ‘top 10’ when deliberation is completed.
And remember no suggestion will be totally abandoned, so government can see all the ideas when our Action Plan recommendations are forwarded. The short-list will be prominent, but all proposals will be recorded in the consultation’s final document.

OGP Ireland September 5, 201311:29 am

The work has begun: Accountability, Citizen Participation, Technology and Transparency groups have their documents describing proposals. Citizen Participation heads the league table with 20 suggestions! But it’s closely followed by Transparency with 19. The Technology group has 12, and Accountability has 10 thoughtful propositions.

OGP Ireland September 5, 201311:21 am

Voting on proposals will be done in most democratic fashion, using the De Borda modified count procedure. This encourages voters to consider ALL the options and decide which ones are most vital.

OGP Ireland September 5, 201311:19 am

Now, the practicals: first today we have an hour and half approx to go through the Proposals documents, a break, and then do the priority work – sorting out which aims/requests have the most support in working groups.

OGP Ireland September 5, 201311:18 am

Nuala reminds gathering that the Government will have its own proposals and ideas for the OGP Action Plan to be presented to our international peers.

OGP Ireland September 5, 201311:17 am

OGP is not just a moment in time – it is a process. So civil society is also asked and invited to consider how Open Government can be monitored as it unrolls, and how it can be a dynamic process that reflects changes and developments in Irish society.

OGP Ireland September 5, 201311:16 am

Today we sign off on the wording of the Action Plan proposals, and rate them in priority – a short list and a long list (like the Booker Prize).

OGP Ireland September 5, 201311:15 am

Nuala (who has co-ordinated the consultation process over the past three months) is outlining the OGP story in Ireland so far. Noting that the Action Plan for OGP will be finalised by government in December, and presented to formal meeting of the global Open Government Partnership in spring next year.

OGP Ireland September 5, 201311:13 am

Each working group has a document describing the proposals, in that area, for inclusion in Ireland’s Action Plan.

OGP Ireland September 5, 201311:13 am

Nuala Haughey is at the podium welcoming all and noting there was a ‘veritable stampede’ to the working documents online as Monday’s deadline for input drew near.

OGP Ireland September 5, 201311:11 am

Hi to those checking in to the live blog – we’re nearly ready to start it up at Wood Quay. The working groups are settling into their chosen niches of Accountability, Citizen Participation, Technology & Innovation and Transparency. Your Blogmeister will adopt a roving role today to give verbal snapshots of progress.

OGP Ireland September 5, 201310:49 am

We’re gathering at the river again – that is, beside the Liffey in the Wood Quay Venue. It’s the final public meeting in Ireland’s civil society consultation for the Open Government Partnership Action Plan.

OGP Ireland September 5, 20134:31 am

Live blogging will commence after 2pm today, Thursday, September 5.

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