News 8th May 2017

Open Government Network calls on all political parties to commit to open government

by Tim Hughes

The Open Government Network (OGN) has written to political parties ahead of next month’s General Election to call on them to make commitments to open government, particularly regarding the Brexit process. The letter is signed on the behalf of the OGN by its steering committee, and can be read in full below.

Your party’s commitment to open government at the General Election

The UK Open Government Network (OGN) is a coalition of active citizens and civil society organisations committed to making government work better for people. We work to promote the principles of open government – increased transparency, participation and accountability – alongside sister networks in each of the devolved nations.

The OGN are committed to collaborating with, and challenging, governments in the UK to develop and implement ambitious open government reforms. We call on all political parties to:

  1. Commit to implementing all existing commitments in the UK’s 2016-18 Open Government Action Plan, and to a continued partnership between government and civil society to create the next UK National Action Plan;
  2. Commit to open government principles of transparency, participation and accountability in your party manifesto, and outline the open government reforms that you will introduce.
  3. Commit to continued UK leadership and learning as part of the Open Government Partnership, both domestically and internationally;
  4. Commit to honouring the principles of open government throughout the process of the UK leaving the EU, and during future international negotiations. Specifically, through:
    • Providing the maximum level of transparency possible during the Brexit negotiations, and in any subsequent trade negotiations, so that citizens, businesses and elected representatives can understand and assess the implications of any deal.
    • Ensuring the Department for International Trade and the Department for Exiting the EU practice the highest standards in proactive publication of information, and responding to Freedom of Information requests.
    • Publishing the register of ministerial meetings on a weekly basis with adequate information in order that who is meeting with ministers is transparent.
    • Establishing a new House of Commons Select Committee to scrutinise the use of statutory instruments and so-called Henry VIII powers.
    • Providing a comment period for all statutory instruments, allowing time for scrutiny and review of technical amendments in the transposition of EU legislation into UK law.
    • Building on the strong foundations of and to make sure citizens and businesses have clear access to essential information on our law, regulation and tariffs following exit from the EU.

The General Election has been called at a time of great political and constitutional uncertainty. Many institutions have lost the public’s trust, and citizens are feeling increasingly disempowered and disengaged from political life. It is vital, therefore, that the principles of open government are adopted and promoted by all political parties.

Yours sincerely,

Andy Williamson,
Anna Nichol,
Colm Burns,
Gavin Freeguard,
Lucy McTernan,
Michelle Brook,
Rachel Davies Teka,
Tim Davies,
Tim Hughes

The UK Open Government Network Steering Committee

For further information, please contact:

Tim Hughes, Open Government Network coordinator, via [email protected]