Meeting notes 17th August 2016

2016-18 Open Government Action Plan implementation meeting | 27 July 2016

by Tim Hughes

On 27th July, government commitment leads and members of the UK Open Government Network steering group met for the first time to discuss implementation of the recently published 2016-18 Open Government Action Plan.  This note sets out the main points of the discussion.

Updates were presented by the commitment leads on all the commitments in third National Action Plan (NAP3):

  • Beneficial ownership – (Update from OGP team on behalf of BEIS) this is on track. This will require a second consultation and implementing legislation will need to be put in place. It is too early to tell what the timeline will be.
  • Natural resource transparency – (Update from OGP team on behalf of DfID) broadly on track although timelines may have to be revisited in light of recent political developments.
  • Anti-corruption strategy – Charles Barry (Cabinet Office, JACU) said the plan is still to publish a strategy by the end of the year. JACU are keen for input from civil society on the issue and the options for change. Rachael Davies noted that Transparency International are hosting the workshop on Friday 29 July, and they were positive about this commitment. Conchita Castro (HO) said they want to have a first draft by the end of the summer and will get back to Rachel with a deadline for comments. Thom noted the OGP enables us to go to Mexico, Colombia, etc and see what they are doing, as well as obtain their draft strategies.
  • Anti-corruption innovation hub – (GDS) This is on tack and the Innovation Hub met for the first time on the 14th July.
  • Open Contracting – (Andrew Bowen, CCS) Pending final Ministerial sign off CCS and Open Contracting Partnership (OCP) will sign an agreement for the UK’s approach to become a ‘showcase and learning’ for the OCP. CCS are developing a Contracts Finder, and aim to publish by October, with an API by December. A workshop with interested departments is planned. Tim Davies (Open Data Services Co-operative Limited) noted good progress.
  • Grants data – (Update from OGP team on behalf of Cabinet Office Grants team), this is on track.
  • Elections data – (Update from OGP team) There is a meeting with Local Government Association and election management service providers after this meeting. Cabinet Office to report back at the next OGP implementation meeting.
  • Freedom of information and enhanced transparency – Oliver Lendrum (Cabinet Office) said it is still the intention that new guidance on transparency across the public sector on pay and benefits, and a rewrite of the FoI code of practice should be published by the end of the year, and Cabinet Office plan to consult shortly.
  • Identifying and publishing core data assets – Peter Hatchard (GDS) said this was generally on track. On GOV.UK there is work to improve the product facing and data discovery tools to ensure they are fit for purpose. On the data register programme, the country register is up and running, and work is progressing on a local authority register. In addition work is on-going on addressing issues associated with the open address register, as announced in the budget.
  • Involving data users in shaping the future of open data – Peter Hatchard (GDS) GDS is bringing in new resource to engage proactively. Departments are developing departmental data and technology strategies. An engagement framework on digital science was published in May. Work is on-going in government on ethics in data sharing. Tessa Ing (Department of Health) noted a consultation is underway on data security standards and on consent and opt out models for data sharing in health and social care following the Caldicott report.
  • Better use of data assets – Peter Hatchard (GDS) Digital Economy Bill was introduced to the House of Commons on 5 July. This included measures for better access to government data. Tim Hughes said civic engagement has come up a number of times in civil society. On the registers side there is much interest in the open address register, and people are content with how that is going. But there are concerns about the land registry privatisation.
  • GOV.UK – Charles Davie (GDS) said they want to improve the consultation and landing page and add new functionality. They will put an action plan to the new minister in October. On improving navigation for the page all is on track. Anthony Zacharzewski (The Democratic Society) said the consultation discovery into digital tools is complete. Consultation is variable, part of the policy process rather than a one off. It is not possible to create a single structure for all consultations – it would be very difficult to build and would slow innovation.

How we all work together

Commitment 13 in NAP3 has a milestone on how we work together. The key is to find a way to keep it as transparent, open and collaborative as possible without being too bureaucratic. We should all be honest if commitments are slipping so we can find solutions together. Tim Davies said much is already published and it would be good to provide civil society with a series of links setting out progress, e.g. on consultation. We can use this to update the wider network.

OGP summit in Paris

The OGP summit in Paris is a great opportunity take forward the UK NAP3. We would like a large UK representation at the summit, so we can showcase as much as we can and reaffirm the Open Government movement for the new Government. We have sent around some Government and civil society proposals and will look at how we can fit into what the French want to do. We will come to you in the next few weeks saying we think this is interesting for your department – would you like to feature work you are doing?