News 2nd November 2015

UK Government press release from #OGP15

by Tim Hughes

The UK Government published the following press release from last week’s OGP Summit in Mexico City. The Summit was attended by Lord Francis Maude (Minister of State for Trade and Investment, previously Minister for the Cabinet Office) and Sir Eric Pickles (Anti-corruption Champion), along with a number of senior officials.

UK government leads the way in tackling corruption in sport

The initiative, announced at the Mexico OGP Summit, is one of several actions aiming to root out corruption through greater transparency.

The UK government is bringing together countries and civil society organisations to tackle corruption in sport, it was announced today at the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Summit in Mexico.

International sport is a multi-billion pound business with the potential to be a key enabler for development and youth empowerment, but recent corruption scandals at FIFA have highlighted weaknesses in international sports governance.

At this week’s OGP Summit in Mexico, the UK is leading the way in developing a long-term solution by bringing together countries and civil society organisations to discuss the best methods for ensuring that good governance and transparency are placed at the centre of international sport. The event will highlight the role that openness and transparency can play in making international sport a symbol of fair play and driving up accountability so that those inside and outside the industry can help make sport a force for good. Participants will look at the full range of open government tools available, including open data, and discuss how these could be utilised by international sports organisations.

The UK’s world-leading reputation in open government has been further enhanced by being awarded third place at today’s Open Government Awards in Mexico. The theme of this year’s awards was ‘Improving Public Services through Open Government’, with the UK recognised for its work to make government more open and accountable. This includes the ground-breaking Neighbourhood Planning policy, which is involving communities in the planning system and allowing people to decide the future development of their area – including where new homes and businesses should be built. Today’s winners were selected by an international panel of 23 judges from 19 countries, representing governments, civil society, multilaterals and the private sector.

Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General Matt Hancock said:

“Transparency and openness is at the heart of the UK government’s agenda and I’m proud to say that the award we’ve won today reinforces our position as a world leader in the field. We want to see transparency and innovation hard wired into governance because it empowers the public and drives improvements by holding organisations to account.”

“I applaud the work of the Open Government Partnership in creating a network to share best practice and ideas, and the UK is determined to work with its fellow member states to drive through reforms in crucial areas such as sports governance and beneficial property ownership.”

The Prime Minister’s Anti-Corruption Champion Sir Eric Pickles said:

“Transparency is fundamentally important – both in tackling corruption and encouraging individuals to drive improvement and become involved in the running of the services that they use. I am delighted that the UK has been recognised for achievement in this vital area.”

“The UK is committed to using relationships with other member states across the Open Government Partnership to encourage openness and secure key reforms across important areas such as beneficial ownership.”

Lord Maude, Minister for Trade and Investment, said:

“I have been involved in the Open Government Partnership since we launched it 4 years ago, and I was proud to host the last OGP Summit in London 2 years ago. We have made transparency a truly global movement. Open government can deliver powerful changes to societies and I am incredibly proud that the UK is the world leader in transparency and continues to push on this agenda.”

“And while we have made great progress, there is more we can do. That is why we committed to a publicly available register of information about real owners of companies and are running a session on corporate transparency at the summit to support other countries to follow our lead. The UK will also become a Lead Steward for the new International Open Data Charter, which will help make governments more open, innovative, efficient and accountable.”

Building on the Prime Minister’s recent announcements, the UK is also leading a session at this week’s OGP Summit on corporate transparency. The UK was the first country to commit to a publicly available register of information about the real owners of companies, and since then a growing number of OGP countries have joined this transparency revolution. The event will look at how beneficial ownership registers can be used to tackle corruption on a global scale. Together with other OGP countries, the World Bank and leading open data organisations, the UK will explore opportunities for international collaboration on beneficial ownership registers so that citizens can follow the money across borders and shine a light into every corner of the world.

The UK will also become a Lead Steward for the new International Open Data Charter it was announced today – joining Mexico, Canada, the World Wide Web Foundation, International Development Research Centre and Omidyar Network. The Charter builds on the G8 Open Data Charter, developed under the UK’s presidency of the G8. A global consultation with governments and civil society around the world has helped shape a more inclusive set of principles for the release of open data that all governments can adopt. As Lead Steward, the UK will focus on supporting countries to realise the full potential of open data to enable more just and prosperous societies.

Visit the site