Meeting notes 7th March 2013

Workshop on UK Action Plan in Manchester – 20th March

by TimDavies

To widen consultation on the UK’s updated OGP National Action Plan a workshop will be taking place in Manchester on 20th March, open to all civil society organisations and representatives, to come and input into the important Open Government Partnership process. The announcement to be found on the booking website is below.

The UK Government is working in collaboration with a network of civil society organisations to develop an open government plan with a set of concrete open government commitments.

We need your help to develop it further – telling us what’s missing, what works and what’s needed at a local level, and if/how you’d like to be involved in developing it in the coming months.

We want to invite you to a workshop on Wednesday, 20 March 2013, from 1400 to 1600, at Four Piccadilly Place to begin the conversation with you. Register to participate here.

The UK is a founding member of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a global effort to make governments better by promoting transparency, empowering citizens, fighting corruption, and harnessing new technologies to strengthen governance.

To become a member countries must endorse a high level Open Government Declaration and develop a National Action Plan setting out concrete commitments to open government. The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, has committed to developing the UK’s next National Action Plan in partnership with civil society. As the current chair of the OGP, there is a spotlight on the UK as it develops its next set of commitments and an opportunity for civil society to work with government to ensure they are ambitious and respond to real world issues.

Progress so far
Work has already begun over the past five months on developing the action plan, with the Cabinet Office and a network of (mostly nationally and internationally focused) civil society organisations working together to develop a set of commitments. Together, these commitments will make government and other powerful institutions more transparent (including through opening up data), enable greater citizen participation in policymaking, improve the responsiveness of government, better public service delivery and enhance the accountability systems that, among other things, reveal and prevent corruption in public and private organisations.

We think we’ve come a long way over the past five months in developing a plan, in an open and transparent way, that’s ambitious and that’ll make a positive real world difference, in the UK and beyond. But we know that there are gaps in what we’ve developed and still much more work to be done to make the most of this opportunity.

What we’re offering/asking for
That’s where you come in. We want to extend the network of organisations and people involved in developing the plan, and get the benefits of your knowledge and experience of what works and what is needed to open up government, particularly at a local level.

With this in mind, we’re holding a two-hour workshop, linked to the FutureEverything conference, to begin a conversation on the following points:

    • Tell us what’s missing from the draft action plan and what works and what’s needed at a local level
    • Share with us examples of government being opened up in the north west
    • Discuss how we might best involve you and other local level organisations in developing the action plan over the next six months

Your thoughts and suggestions will be recorded and used as we continue to develop the plan. We cannot promise that we’ll be able to develop commitments around everything you suggest, but we can promise to include you in an ongoing conversation about what’s possible and report back to you on progress.

We hope that you’ll be able to join us.

Ilaria Miller (Cabinet Office Transparency Team) and Tim Hughes (Involve, and coordinator of the UK open government civil society network)