News 17th October 2017

What’s happening with the independent evaluation of Scotland’s OpenGov Action Plan?

by Paul Bradley


With the independent evaluation of Scotland’s Open Government Action Plan now underway, I spoke with the independent reporter assigned to Scotland, Andrew McDevitt, to find out what happens next with the assessment process. This includes what’s up for discussion at our next Network meeting on 8th November – you can sign up here to attend the meeting.  

A. The assessment process

The review of the Scottish National Action Plan is conducted in two stages: (i) the preliminary review; and (ii) assessment of the implementation of the action plan. Both stages of the review are carried out by an independent researcher appointed by the OGP´s Independent Review Mechanism (IRM) in Washington DC, and are subject to a quality control process as outlined below.

The preliminary review of the action plan covers the quality (depth, breadth) of the consultation process on the development of the action plan, as well as an assessment of the relevance, specificity and potential impact of the five commitments.

The preliminary review firstly undergoes “pre-publication review” to gather feedback from IRM staff in Washington, the OGP´s International Experts Panel, the Scottish Government and 3 Scottish CSOs closely involved in the OGP process. The CSOs are selected by the IRM researcher. The focus at this stage is on identifying any factual errors. Following the pre-publication review, the report is put out for public comment for two weeks (14 calendar days). Comments received are collated and published, except where the requester asks to be anonymous or the comments contain abusive or off-topic language. Where relevant, comments are integrated into a final version of the report. The report should be ready for public comment by the end of October.

The second stage of the review, the assessment of the implementation of the action plan, focuses on the status and early results of the action plan implementation at the end of the action plan cycle (December 2017). This stage will begin in November 2017. To this end, the IRM researcher will conduct a desk review, interviews with the commitment leads in government for each of the five commitments, and interviews with other non-governmental stakeholders. (Anyone who would like to be interviewed as part of the second stage is encouraged to contact the IRM researcher directly: [email protected]). In addition the researcher will hold a stakeholder meeting to gather input from a broader group of stakeholders on the action plan implementation. This will take place on 8th November as part of the next Open Government Network meeting (see further details below).

The review process for this second stage of the assessment is the same as for the preliminary review, as described above.

B. The OpenGov Network Meeting

The main topics which the IRM researcher would like to discuss at the stakeholder meeting on 8th November are below. A full agenda for the meeting will be circulated later this week.


  • Which areas in the action plan do stakeholders consider the most important?
  • Are there any major areas of concern not covered in the action plan (which are relevant to OGP values of access to information, civic participation, public accountability)?
  • Which policy areas would stakeholders include in a future action plan?
  • What significant political events have taken place which have helped or hindered the implementation of the action plan?

Monitoring implementation of the action plan

  • Has there been an ongoing role for civil society in monitoring/opportunity to comment on implementation of the action plan?
  • Who was invited to participate in monitoring and how?
  • Which parts of civil society participated in monitoring? Was a diversity of views represented?

Status of completion of the action plan

  • What progress has been made on implementation of the five commitments over the year?
  • Are the commitments on schedule?
  • What are the reasons for any delays?

Early results of the action plan

  • Are there any changes in the policy areas covered by the commitments as a result of the action plan implementation?
  • Are there any changes in government practice/behaviour as a result of the action plan implementation?
  • Has there been uptake in citizens/ by civil society?

Sign up to attend the Network meeting

The next meeting of Scotland’s Open Government Network will take place at Hayweight House in Edinburgh on Wednesday 8th November, between 13:30 – 16:30.

The independent evaluator assigned by OGP to assess Scotland’s Action Plan will be attending the meeting as part of his plans to hold stakeholder interviews and meetings. The meeting will focus on the network’s perspective on the OGP process and outcomes delivered, as well as looking at next steps for the network in Scotland and processes for collaborating on future action plans.