Meeting notes 7th November 2016

2016-18 Open Government Action Plan implementation meeting | 25 Oct 2016 | Meeting note

by Tim Hughes

On 25 October 2016, members of the OGN’s steering committee and government commitment leads met to review the implementation of the 2016-18 Open Government Action Plan and the UK OGP process. This note of the meeting was produced by the Cabinet Office.

Commitment updates

  • Commitment 1: Beneficial ownership – Matthew Brown (BEIS) said the plan is to publish a call for evidence shortly seeking views on creating a register of beneficial owners of overseas companies that own property in the UK, and will then meet with representatives from business and civil society to discuss the proposals. BEIS hope to introduce legislation when parliamentary time allows in 2017.
  • Commitment 2: Natural Resource TransparencyJoanna Perrens (DFID) said the forthcoming UK Anti-Corruption Strategy will include further detail, including disclosure of payments to government for the sale of oil, gas and minerals. DFID is leading on drafting terms of reference for the international dialogue by December 2016.
  • Commitment 3: Anti-corruption strategyLaura Cronk (JACU) said following the May Summit officials have been consulting with a wide range of stakeholders. On track to publish the strategy by the end of the year.
  • Commitment 4: Anti-corruption innovation hub(GDS) A range of external interested parties have been engaged. Some slippage but we hope to push forward in the run up to the Paris Summit in December. The Hub will begin work shortly.
  • Commitment 5: Open contracting – On track – Andrew Bowen (CCS) said the UK Government has set up a Showcase and Learning Project with the Open Contracting Partnership to implement the Open Contracting Data Standard in the CCS’s operations. CCS data from Contracts Finder will be published in the OCDS format covering the procurement process from alerting the market to future CCS opportunities, to early engagement, advertisement and award including publication of the associated contract and tender documents. Subject to successful completion of testing this will be implemented in early November. October will see the end to the current manual data entry and replaced by automatic output of data to Contracts Finder. By November 2016, the HS2 project will be able to directly output all contract information without manual entry from its chosen E-sourcing platform to Contracts Finder and this will be in an OCDS compliant format. This is a significant process improvement
  • Commitment 6: Grants data (Update from OGP team on behalf of Cabinet Office Grants team) On track, though providing data is slower than anticipated. The 360Giving team recently released GrantNav, a platform for navigating grants data.
  • Commitment 7: Elections data – (Update from OGP team) On track. Presently 3 out of 4 election management suppliers have agreed to create a common set of information registers.
  • Commitment 8: FoI Oliver Lendrum (Cabinet Office) said work is underway on the scope and content of a new section 45 Code of Practice, which should go to public consultation in late 2016.
  • Commitment 11: Better use of data assets – (GDS) Broadly on track though some slippage following machinery of government changes over the summer. The Digital Economy Bill had its second reading in September and committee debates took place in October. The GDS strategy should be released by Christmas.
  • Commitment 12: UK (Update from OGP team) On track. The discovery project was completed in August. GDS will not provide a one-size-fits-all tool for all consultations, and will look to improve the current GOV.UK consultations pages as part of our existing roadmap in April 2017. Other priorities mean we will implement the medium term recommendations in the next financial year.

Tim Hughes said that members of the Open Government Network were pleased with the initial round of commitments made in the UK’s third National Action Plan in May, but that there is nervousness about the commitment of the new government to progressing the open government agenda further.

Cabinet Office said the OGP is about government and civil society working together to address these issues. We all need to continue to talk to each other and work together. The co-creation process will continue but progress may be slower. It is highly unlikely we are going to get new commitments in time for the Paris Summit. However, there is a lot happening below the surface.

The OGP team then ran short workshop session to identify how the OGP team can better support departments and the OGN, and how we can involve more stakeholders in the OGP National Action Plan process. The responses from this exercise will be processed by the OGP team who will determine follow up actions and relay them back to all attendees.

Paris Conference

The main deliverables are:

  • An updated OGP declaration – this will be signed by members of Steering Committee.
  • Collective actions which countries can commit to in 10-15 areas of open government e.g. the Contracting 5.
  • OGP toolbox with useful tools for civil society organisations and governments. France are working with the US to make sure it is as simple as possible for users.

The conference takes place from 7-9 December. The first day includes the plenary session and then the second two days are panels, workshops and roundtables. There will be over 100 sessions taking place. The UK government is involved in a number, e.g. DEFRA releasing data, open contracting, follow up to the anti-corruption summit and the future of open government. The Minister for the Cabinet Office will be there for the 7 and 8 December.