News 23rd January 2015

All political parties must commit to open government | Joint letter

by Tim Hughes

This week, over seventy members of the UK Open Government Network sent a letter to UK political parties calling on them to commit to open government and the Open Government Partnership. Read the letter below.

The letter was sent to:

  • Alliance Party of Northern Ireland
  • Conservative Party
  • Democratic Unionist Party
  • Green Party
  • Labour Labour
  • Liberal Democrats
  • Plaid Cymru
  • Respect Party
  • Scottish Nationalist Party
  • Sinn Féin
  • Social Democratic and Labour Party
  • UK Independence Party

All political parties must commit to open government

The UK Open Government Network is a group of organisations and individuals committed to making government work better for people. We call on all political parties to put the principles of open government at the heart of their plans for government.

Open government is the simple but powerful idea that governments and institutions work better for citizens when they are transparent, engaging and accountable. Open government is critical to the well-being, prosperity and empowerment of citizens in the UK and around the world. It helps to ensure that those who take decisions that affect people’s lives are properly accountable and responsive to the public – supporting the effective, equitable and sustainable use of resources, delivery of public services and exercise of authority.

With many institutions having lost public trust, and citizens feeling disempowered and disengaged from the political system, it is vital that the principles of open government are adopted and promoted by all political parties and put into action by the all parties in government.

The Open Government Partnership provides a platform for reformers inside and outside governments around the world to develop reforms that “promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies to strengthen governance”. Since its foundation in September 2011, over 2,000 commitments have been made by 65 participating countries, covering a third of the world’s population. Through an open and collaborative policy process, our network supported engagement and outreach on setting the commitments in the UK’s latest open government National Action Plan, and have supported the UK’s leading role in the OGP.

We are committed to collaborating with and challenging governments in the UK to develop and implement ambitious open government reforms through the UK’s membership of the Open Government Partnership. We call on all political parties to:

1.     State their commitment to the open government principles of transparency, participation and accountability in your party manifesto, and outline the open government reforms that you will introduce.
2.     Commit to working to further the impact of Open Government Partnership domestically and internationally.
3.     Commit to implementing, with the UK Open Government Network, an open and collaborative process for developing the UK’s third Open Government Partnership National Action Plan.

Open government requires a wide range of reforms and the collaboration of government, civil society and business to make a reality. We invite all political parties to work with us towards building more transparent, engaging and accountable governments in the UK.

Yours sincerely,

1.   Alexandra Runswick, Unlock Democracy
2.   Andy Williamson, Democratise
3.   Angus Hardie, Scottish Community Alliance
4.   Anne Thurston, International Records Management Trust
5.   Anthony Zacharzewski, The Democratic Society
6.   Aongus O’Keeffe, Inspiring Impact Northern Ireland
7.   Brent Norris, Green Collar Technologies
8.   Catarina Tully, FromOverHere
9.   Cathy James, Public Concern at Work
10.  Cedric Knight. GreenNet
11.  Chris Shaw, University of Oxford
12.  Chris Taggart, OpenCorporates
13.  Chris Yiu, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations
14.  Claire Schouten, International Budget Partnership
15.  David Banisar, ARTICLE 19
16.  David McBurney
17.  David Mcnerlin
18.  Diane Sheard, The ONE Campaign
19.  Fiona Garven, Scottish Community Development Centre
20.  Fiona Savage, Collaborative Change Practitioner
21.  Gavin Hayman, Global Witness
22.  Graham Smith, University of Westminster
23.  James Perry, Panahpur
24.  Janet Kells
25.  Jeni Tennison, Open Data Institute
26.  Jennifer Tankard, Community Investment Coalition
27.  Jessica Crowe, Centre for Public Scrutiny
28.  Jim Killock. Open Rights Group
29.  John Chambers, The Archives and Records Association
30.  John Hawkins, Construction Sector Transparency Initiative
31.  John Lotherington
32.  John Shaddock
33.  Jonathan Breckon, Alliance for Useful Evidence
34.  Jonathan Gray, Open Knowledge
35.  Karl Wilding, NCVO
36.  Kev Kirkland, Data Unity
37.  Kris Nixon
38.  Laura Taylor, Christian Aid
39.  Linda Cox, Shrewsbury Dial-a-Ride
40.  Linnea Mills
41.  Lucas Amin, Request Initiative
42.  Malcolm Rigg
43.  Malou Schueller, Progressio (CIIR)
44.  Mariam Cook, PositionDial
45.  Mary Field, Youthnet
46.  Miles Litvinoff, Publish What You Pay UK
47.  Nick Perks, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust
48.  Nim Njuguna, Kenya Diaspora Bureau (UK)
49.  Oliver Escobar, Citizen Participation Network
50.  Owen Boswarva
51.  Paul Anders
52.  Paul Bumstead
53.  Paul Lenz, mySociety
54.  Prof. John Barry, Queens University Belfast
55.  Rachel Davies, Bond Anti-Corruption Group
56.  Rachel Oldroyd, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
57.  Richard Jackson, Voluntary Action Leeds
58.  Richard Murphy, Tax Research UK
59.  Robert Barrington, Transparency International UK
60.  Rupert Simons, Publish What You Fund
61.  Simon Blake, Compact Voice
62.  Simon Burall, Involve
63.  Simon Hanson
64.  Simon Phipps, Meshed Insights
65.  Stephen Elstub, University of the West of Scotland
66.  Tamasin Cave, Spinwatch
67.  Thomas Pogge, Academics Stand Against Poverty Global
68.  Tim Davies, Practical Participation
69.  Tim Hughes, UK Open Government Civil Society Network coordinator
70.  Toby Blume
71.  Wendy Faulkner, Talking Tweed
72.  Winnie McColl