Northern Ireland 26th February 2018

NI Open Government Network Blog – Crowdsourcing Commitment Ideas for the New Open Government Action Plan

by Connor McLean

Written by Colm Burns

There are many perceptions of our Executive and Assembly; one of them probably isn’t that they are transparent or accountable. Yet in 2016 our Executive signed up to four commitments to help them become more open:

  • Commitment 1: Develop & trial effective open policy-making and public engagement methods
  • Commitment 2: Promote greater levels of public sector innovation
  • Commitment 3: To investigate implementation of the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) in Central Procurement operations
  • Commitment 4: Open-up government for greater accountability, improve public services and building a more prosperous and equal society

The sign-off of these commitments marked the first time the Northern Ireland Executive ever took part in the UK Action Plan; and although it was not as ambitious as we would have liked it was a start of an ongoing process towards a more open government.

One of the great strengths of the open government concept is that it promotes an iterative and continual process of improvement. Now the UK Open Government Network and the UK Government are currently collaborating on the 4th UK National Action Plan, the Northern Ireland Executive and the NI Open Government Network have been asked to come up with new commitments.

It is clear that when people are engaged in public policy making it leads to more informed decisions; and it leads to policies and services that can better cater for peoples’ needs.

NI Open Government Network want to know from you how open, transparent and accountable you want your government to be? What are the current blockages to openness, transparency and accountability in government? What ideas do you have that you would want to see become commitments?

We are currently at a political impasse, but we must remember politics and government are not the same. While political talks have stalled, public servants have continued to work hard on improving the basic functions of government. We need to work with government to ensure that we get the meaningful changes we need.  So the NIOGN continue to work with all Executive departments on ensuring the current commitments are fulfilled and new commitments are forward thinking and will make a positive impact on the lives of citizens.

We need ideas and issues from citizens, community groups, voluntary and community organisations, trade unions and the private sector.  We need ideas related to council, devolved and national level government.

We need your help to make government more transparent and more accountable; and we have set up this page to capture your ideas, comments and issues.