Published: 31 October 2013
Download the: OGP UK NAP 2013-15 Final Plan [pdf]
Download the: OGP UK NAP 2013-15 Summary [pdf]
Transparency and open government are ideas whose time has come. People around the world are demanding much greater openness, democracy and accountability from their governments. Citizens are demanding that the state should be their servant, not their master, and that information that governments hold should be open for everyone to see. At the same time, new technology is disrupting established bureaucracies and creating opportunities for much more responsive government. Around the world, reforms to open up government are delivering tangible benefits: faster growth, better public services, less corruption and less poverty.
We have consistently made clear our commitment for the UK to become “the most open and transparent government in the world”. Our resolve has not weakened. Indeed, our engagement with civil society to develop and agree the stretching and ambitious commitments in this second Open Government Partnership UK National Action Plan has strengthened, not lessened our commitment to open government. The result of this partnership is a set of commitments that take important steps towards increased openness helping to ensure that:
Open government establishes a platform for independent and collaborative action by citizens, civil society, private companies and public servants. Transparency, participation and accountability provide the essential foundation for economic, social and political progress by increasing the openness of institutions and public processes while maintaining and respecting the privacy of individuals.
Here in the UK, we are leading the world on open data. Our web portal data.gov.uk is already the most comprehensive data resource in the world with more than 10,300 data files. The government is working closely with businesses and charities to identify new public data to release. Whether it’s apps that tell passengers when the next bus is due, or a small analytics business that has identified hundreds of millions of pounds of potential savings in the health system, transparency is helping to improve people’s lives and boost economic growth. We are, as evidenced by this plan, also striving to do more on other aspects of open government as we race for the top.
Open government is critical to the wellbeing and empowerment of citizens around the world. It helps to ensure that those who take decisions that affect people’s lives are properly accountable and responsive to the public – supporting the effective, equitable and sustainable use of resources, delivery of public services and exercise of authority.
Citizens around the world are demanding ever more openness from their governments and other powerful actors in society. This is no less true in the UK than anywhere else. The UK public are demanding to know, and to have a say in, how public money is spent, how decisions are made and who influences them, who the owners of companies are and how much tax they pay, how UK companies operate overseas, and how public services are delivered and what their results are.
We welcome the progress made by the government in this National Action Plan on a number of important open government issues. Areas where we especially endorse the government’s commitments include beneficial ownership, transparency of aid flows and the global extractive (oil, gas and mining) industries. We had hoped to reach stronger and more ambitious commitments in several areas, and there are some issues, such as freedom of information and lobbying transparency, on which many of us disagree with the government and urge it to reconsider its current position.
Overall, however, we believe that the commitments included in this plan represent positive steps towards greater openness.
We particularly commend the commitment to openness demonstrated in the development of this plan by officials from the Cabinet Office Transparency Team, as well as government teams involved in drafting commitments. While not every commitment in the plan has been endorsed by every named organisation, we have all participated in a process of dialogue with government on the contents of this action plan. As is recognised by the Open Government Partnership, civil society has a critical role to play in promoting the rights and interests of citizens and challenging governments to be more accountable and responsive to the public. The formation of country national action plans provides governments with the opportunity to put into practice the principles of open government by including voices from civil society.
While the development of this plan has not been without its challenges and disagreements, we believe the process has itself demonstrated the benefits of greater openness. The result is a set of stronger and better thought through commitments with greater prospects for delivery than would otherwise have been the case. We commit to continue to work with and constructively challenge the government to fulfil our shared ambition of becoming the “most open and transparent government in the world”.
Transparency, participation and accountability are not just lofty principles – they affect people’s lives on a daily basis. Together, they ensure that those with power are responsive to the views and interests of citizens. Openness is no longer a choice for governments. It is a necessity in order to stay relevant in a changing world.
Social, economic and political transformations mean that the top-down, closed model of government is no longer able to meet the expectations and demands of citizens. Governments must adapt to a world in which:
This is a world in which governments cannot act alone, but must collaborate with and enable the action of others.
The opening up of governments is not a new movement but has gathered momentum and pace over recent years. The Open Government Partnership (OGP) was formed two years ago to support eligible governments to make ambitious and stretching commitments, in partnership with civil society to improve transparency, participation and accountability. The UK was one of eight founding countries when the OGP was launched in September 2011 at the United Nations General Assembly. The OGP is overseen by a Steering Committee of governments and civil society organisations with the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Rt Hon Francis Maude MP, representing the UK government. In just over two years, the OGP has gone from having eight member countries to over 60.
To become a member of the OGP, countries must first meet certain eligibility criteria. The OGP works by having relatively straightforward conditions for entry, rather than a high bar to entry, but then encourages countries to make ambitious and stretching commitments in a ‘race to the top’. The OGP rewards excellence and penalises backsliding or inaction through the Independent Reporting Mechanism.
The four eligibility criteria for joining the OGP are:
Once a country has demonstrated it meets all four of the eligibility criteria and has joined the OGP, it must then meet the following requirements:
When a country produces its national action plan it has to follow three basic rules when developing commitments:
OGP commitments have to relate to a set of five ‘grand challenges’ as listed below. In year one of membership of the OGP, a country has to develop concrete commitments around at least one of these grand challenges.
|Open Government Partnership Grand Challenges
|1. Improving public services – measures that address the full spectrum of citizen services including health, education, criminal justice, water, electricity, telecommunications and any other relevant service areas, by fostering public service improvement or private sector innovation
|2. Increasing public integrity – measures that address corruption and public ethics, access to information, campaign finance reform, and media and civil society freedom
|3. More effectively managing public resources – measures that address budgets, procurement, natural resources and foreign assistance
|4. Creating safer communities – measures that address public safety, the security sector, disaster and crisis response, and environmental threats
|5. Increasing corporate accountability – measures that address corporate responsibility on issues such as the environment, anti-corruption, consumer protection and community engagement
The UK published its first National Action Plan in September 2011 and a self-assessment report on progress in April 2013. This first plan was reviewed recently by Kevin Dunion, Executive Director of the Centre for Freedom of Information, as part of the OGP’s independent reporting process.
The UK Government welcomes the IRM report and is pleased that out of the 37 commitments that we are taking forward, all have either been completed or are in progress. The report highlights areas where progress has been strong including:
The most significant reservation expressed in the report was the fact that the UK’s first plan was too focused on open data, and we accept this criticism. Since then, great strides have been made in making government data available wherever this does not conflict with the rights of individuals. But we are aware open government is much more than open data.
The focus of the UK’s first plan was around the grand challenges of improving public services and more effectively managing public resources. We have now broadened our reach to demonstrate what we are doing across all five grand challenges, with all our commitments relating to two of more of these challenges.
We also accept that more work could have been undertaken to engage civil society and we have proactively taken steps to address this point. The OGP UK Civil Society Network (the Network), which formed in response to the UK’s first action plan and is currently coordinated by Involve, brings a unique and valuable perspective to these issues. The Network currently has a mailing list of representatives from over 50 civil society organisations working towards open government in the UK and internationally. Over 30 civil society organisations have been have been actively involved in the development of this plan.
As lead co-chair of the OGP in 2013 (with Indonesia being the second co-chair) and as holders of the G8 Presidency, the UK government has taken a leadership position on many important issues civil society have been calling for such as the creation of a publicly accessible central registry of company beneficial ownership information so tax collection, law enforcement agencies and others know who really owns and profits from companies; and working with resource rich countries to help them manage their extractive revenues more transparently and accountably so they can make the most of their natural resources, reduce their reliance on aid and move out of poverty.
Teams from the government and the Network have developed this plan and the commitments within it in partnership. Through a series of meetings and in-depth engagement, a draft action plan was published for public consultation in June 2013. This set out a series of commitments agreed by government and civil society, as well as a number of further requests from civil society.
Eleven consultation responses were received in response to the public consultation on the draft plan, and the views expressed in those submissions have helped inform the finalising of this plan. In parallel, members of the Network and government officials continued to work together in partnership to develop, scrutinise and reach a compromise on the commitments outlined in this plan. In producing this final plan, we have built on the commitments contained within the draft plan and taken forward a significant number of the requests by civil society. The process has been successful in strengthening cross departmental coordination across a range of issues and helping to pull together existing government plans.
While members of the Network and government have not agreed on everything, the partnership has delivered an important set of commitments that will bring significant benefits to citizens in the UK and beyond.
Each commitment outlines which civil society organisations support it as a positive step towards open government, and have been or will be involved in its development and delivery.
By working in partnership to develop this second National Action Plan the process has been significantly strengthened and has led to a much more robust and ambitious plan.
This plan has been structured to complement the themes of the OGP’s annual summit 2013. The five themes of the plan are:
Under each theme below we have set out the progress we have made to date; our new commitments and timelines; which of the OGP grand challenges the commitment responds to; and, the organisations or groups from civil society that we have worked with to develop and agree each commitment.
The final section of this plan identifies the next steps we will take to implement the commitments and ensure delivery. This includes our approach to reporting on progress and holding to account those who have a role to play in the plan’s success.
An important element of the next steps is how government and civil society will continue to work in partnership with each other.
The signing of the Open Data Charter at the Lough Erne Summit in June 2013 by all G8 leaders was a pivotal moment for the open data movement. Setting out five principles to allow the improved release, access and re-use of data held by G8 countries, the Charter signifies a growing worldwide recognition that opening up data can help to transform people’s everyday lives. Apps that tell you what time your train leaves, how taxpayers’ money is being spent, or crime rates in your local area – these are all down to data. Opening up government data has enormous potential to drive economic growth and spread prosperity. It improves accountability, strengthens governance, builds trust and drives innovation in both the private sector and in the delivery of key public services.
The UK government has been one of the main supporters and champions of the open data movement and over recent years has pressed forward with an ambitious programme to make the data it holds available online and for free. Some of the main achievements are:
If the UK is to capitalise on the vast opportunities available from opening up government held data, then our citizens must have the skills and know-how to take raw data and make it into a valuable and useable product. This is why we are also launching Seizing the Data Opportunity, the government’s strategy for UK data capability, which sets out the UK’s aim to be a world leader in extracting knowledge and value from data for the benefit of citizens, business, academia and government. The strategy contains a series of actions addressing key areas of capability, including building a strong skills base, and ensuring we have the appropriate tools and infrastructure to access and work with all types of data – including administrative data, open data, big data and research data.
We also recognise that while we have made good progress, we can still do more. At the Lough Erne Summit, we committed to publish an Open Data Charter action plan to demonstrate how we would work towards making our government open by default and improve the quality and quantity of data released. That plan sets out our priorities for the next 12 to 18 months to not only meet the core commitments of the Open Data Charter, but also continue to push our ambition further, through initiatives like the National Information Infrastructure (NII).
The UK government will continue to develop and list an inventory of all the datasets it owns, whether published or unpublished, in order to identify the National Information Infrastructure (NII) – the datasets which are likely to have the broadest and most significant economic and social impact if made available. The identification of the NII will facilitate discussions to prioritise the release of these datasets.
Open Knowledge Foundation, Open Rights Group, OpenCorporates
It has become clear over the last three years that public sector information has the potential to drive social wellbeing and economic growth in the UK. We cannot however always predict the ways that government data is going to be used and some truly innovative applications and services have been developed from government datasets whose value was not immediately obvious. For this data to be better exploited and used, government needs to be clear about what data there is, what uses it is important for, how organisations can get access to it and the sustainability of that access.
Through being transparent about what we own, and identifying the datasets which have the potential to have the broadest impact, the UK Government can allow innovation to flourish and help drive growth. A feedback loop will allow government to produce better quality data that scores better against the five star rating resulting in it becoming a more efficient owner and producer of data.
The UK’s ambition is to release these datasets openly as per the Open Data Charter wherever possible and it will commit to a publication timetable.
The UK government wants to be the most transparent government in the world. There is an ongoing mission to publish, in an open, usable and reusable format, as much of the data government holds as possible. In the last three years, the government has released more than 10,300 datasets. It has established sector boards to examine, challenge and advise on transparency in key areas of government. In 2013, the government committed to increased transparency about what data it holds, at the same time highlighting which datasets might have the broadest and deepest potential economic and/or social impact to enable better public services. This allows government to hold itself accountable to the public as well as allowing for interaction for a potential range of benefits. The public, business, civil society, and developers are all interested in accessing data. By developing a NII, through collaboration with all those groups, we can create a roadmap which allows the government to prioritise the release of the most (potentially) impactful datasets.
In his recent independent review of public sector information Stephan Shakespeare, Chief Executive of YouGov, recommended that government should have a ‘twin-track’ approach to the release of government data focusing principally on the release of ‘core reference data’ alongside other datasets. In response the government committed to the creation of a NII which would make clear the most important datasets held by government and create a framework to help data owners prioritise their release.
For the first time, the Cabinet Office have worked with central government departments to identify all the datasets that are not currently published on data.gov.uk and to provide a facility to list what they are, what data they contain and information about when they might be released or why they are not suitable for publication. At the same time as publishing the inventory, the Cabinet Office launched a platform to assess all datasets for their potential to create economic and social impact, effect change in public services or their linkability. This has started to inform discussions about prioritising data release and establishing suitability for inclusion in the NII. This will become a powerful tool for crowd sourcing evidence of the importance and impact of government datasets.
The government data inventories will be a live representation of what data government owns. They will change as the data assets change, as too might the list of the datasets with the most potential benefit and impact. The UK’s ambition is to release these datasets in an open and reusable format and we will commit to a publication timetable.
The key milestones for the delivery of this commitment are for:
The commitment will be driven from the Cabinet Office supported and challenged by the Public Sector Transparency Board (independent advisers to government) and the Sector Transparency Boards (government officials and open data experts and activists).
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NHS England will work with governments and civil society organisations internationally to create an online space to share experiences of embedding high quality standards into information, with a view to building an accreditation scheme to enable citizens and organisations to assess their progress.
Clear, high quality, standards in information mean that:
Information systems in healthcare that can share and link data are key to safer, better quality care and are entirely reliant on high quality information standards. If information is consistently recorded and reported then it ensures that people are able to confidently make comparisons about performance or quality and supports the participation of citizens in the design and quality of healthcare.
By creating an online space with a community element, other countries can contribute their own experiences, post challenges they are facing or help NHS England and others to find solutions. The eventual aim is to build, through this international engagement, an accreditation scheme that enables citizens and organisations to assess their progress, supported by peer review via the virtual network.
We hope that by sharing our experiences of setting robust standards for healthcare information, supported by a virtual network and resource hub, we can help other countries as well as other organisations in the UK to adopt robust information standards.
Through this work we will set out a package of support that other countries can use such as:
We will also signal an intention to collaborate through this network to develop a framework of standards that any nation can use to assess how well they are doing.
The key milestones for the delivery of this commitment are:
Additional milestones will be developed with civil society organisations and international partners.
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The UK government will issue a revised Local Authorities Data Transparency Code requiring local authorities to publish key information and data. This will place more power into citizens’ hands and make it easier for local people to contribute to the local decision making process and help shape public services.
Transparency is the foundation of local accountability and the key that gives people the tools and information they need to enable them to play a bigger role in society. The availability of data can also open new markets for local business, the voluntary and community sectors and social enterprises to run services or manage public assets. The UK government believes that in principle, all data held and managed by local authorities should be made available to local people unless there are specific sensitivities (eg protecting vulnerable people or commercial and operational considerations) to doing so. The data needs to be presented so that it can be understood by citizens and community groups, reused in web and mobile phone applications to drive innovation and business growth, analysed and compared for sector led improvement, and commented and consulted on in social media. The UK government will encourage local authorities to see data as a valuable resource not only to themselves, but also to their partners and local citizens.
In September 2011 the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) published the Code of Recommended Practice for Local Authorities on Data Transparency. This Code was issued to meet the government’s desire to place more power into citizens’ hands to increase democratic accountability and make it easier for local people to contribute to the local decision making process and help shape public services. The government will issue a revised Code and is minded to bring into force regulations to make it a legal requirement for local authorities to publish data in accordance with parts of the revised Code.
Local authorities have responded positively to this agenda – all local authorities are already publishing expenditure of £500 and over, but performance on publishing other data varies across authorities; the NAO found that only 4% of local authorities published information on land and building assets. The revised Code will ensure greater consistency in the data that is made available to local people across England.
The next steps to deliver this policy are to:
We are going to support this policy through:
By 2015, the UK aims to be the most transparent social investment market in the Open Government Partnership and G20, in line with the Open Data Charter principles.
Big Lottery Fund, Big Society Capital, City of London Bridges Trust, Social Enterprise UK
Transparency and open data are vital tools in delivering social impact. Greater transparency in social investment markets will help more social ventures to access the capital they need and socially minded investors to deploy their funds to greatest effect. Internationally, success will mean:
Domestically, success will mean:
Social investment blends financial return and social impact. Both investors and the end ventures they support need clarity on the financial and social return they are achieving. Actions to increase this clarity will lead to greater transparency (across metrics of impact), accountability (as more citizens can see the effectiveness of public services) and participation (as more ventures can access public service contracts, and more citizens invest their money for social impact).
As of 2013, Cabinet Office has:
We will be reporting on the international commitments by the end of 2014 through the Social Impact Investment Taskforce. We will provide an annual update of progress on domestic commitments, as part of HMG’s wider Social Investment Strategy, also in 2014.
International commitments will be delivered by national governments who have volunteered to achieve these standards, and overseen by an international taskforce comprising government and private sector representatives from around the globe. Best practice will be shared by a new Global Learning Exchange (in partnership with the World Economic Forum and Impact Investing Policy Collaborative)
Domestic commitments will be delivered by the UK government and key sector bodies, such as the Social Investment Forum.
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The UK government will manage and capture digital records and there will be a comprehensive, accessible and timely paper and digital record of UK government available to the citizen.
The International Records Management Trust
Citizens will have access to the records of UK government earlier and delivered in ways that make them more accessible and more usable than they have ever before.
Ensuring the creation, capture and survival of essential public records is the ultimate guarantee of transparency for governments. Without good information management, there is no transparency; no records for public scrutiny and use or to provide necessary evidence to underpin data and statistics to benefit the wider public sector and the citizen.
The UK government needs to define clearly what records departments need to keep in the digital era, both in paper and digital format, and to enable them to do this efficiently and effectively. This will help to ensure that information is available and survives for scrutiny both now and in the future.
The UK government is working with archives across the public sector to help ensure that this potential is realised at both local and national levels.
On 1 January 2013, the period by which records selected for permanent preservation should be transferred to The National Archives and specialist places of deposit was reduced from 30 to 20 years. The change to a ‘20 year rule’ is being implemented over a ten-year transition period that will enable departments to transfer two years worth of records to The National Archives every year until 2023. This is estimated to have effected over three million government records. This is a key part of the UK’s transparency agenda and will see a wealth of historical material opened up to the public much earlier. The aim is to provide greater openness and accountability, strengthening democracy through more timely public scrutiny of government policy and decision-making.
Key achievements up to 2013 are:
The National Archives has been preserving government websites for a decade. The UK Government Web Archive includes material that dates from 1996 to the present. It ensures that, through preservation and web continuity, links persist and government information published online remains fully accessible online. It also captures the websites of major public inquiries.
The key milestones for the delivery of this commitment are:
The government will define and deliver an efficient, scalable and sustainable process for the transfer of its digital records into the DRI. The National Archives has resourced a Digital Transfer Project within its operational transfer teams, supported by their counterparts within transferring government departments. The project will gather business intelligence to build a view of the numbers of digital records expected to start transferring as business as usual from 2017. It will work with departments to understand their capabilities and deliver an operational process that can be supported by government. This process will be operational across departments transferring digital records by April 2015 and will be supported by publicly available guidance and training.
Government, through The National Archives, will continue to publish guidance to support the management of digital records and work to ensure that existing guidance is kept up to date. By the end of 2013, it will publish a set of business requirements to support the management of digital information and will refresh its retention and disposal guidance by the middle of 2014. The government is working to identify how technologies can be used to support the identification and release of the government record. The National Archives is working on a challenge to the government’s standards hub to define a minimum metadata standard for transfer and publishing that includes retention and disposal criteria.
The government will invest in creating innovative solutions to the preservation challenges involved in capturing the government web estate and keeping information published online findable in the future. A social media archive will be launched in Autumn 2013, with a focus on Twitter and YouTube.
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The UK government is committed to tackling corruption. Corruption harms individuals, societies, economic development and the environment, both in the UK and overseas. Corruption undermines financial and social stability, weakens investor confidence and remains one of the major impediments to poverty alleviation, good governance, achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, and the fight against organised and serious crime.
Corruption has devastating consequences for the most vulnerable citizens in many states. Africa loses more through illicit financial flows than it gets in aid and foreign direct investment, and the scale of the problem is mounting. In 2010, developing countries lost over US$850 billion in illicit financial flows – an increase of 11% in one year .
Tackling corruption cannot be solved by one country alone. It requires strong international action and enforcement of anti-corruption legislation to ensure that public resources are used for public goods and service delivery, and not siphoned off through embezzlement, bribery or tax evasion. It also requires strong international cooperation between different players, including the UK’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, business, international institutions and civil society.
This is why the UK made it a cornerstone of its G8 Presidency to tackle tax evasion and fraud and promote transparency of company beneficial ownership. Despite there being in place comprehensive international rules to prevent money laundering, the UK recognises that we all have more to do to ensure that those rules are fully implemented and effective.
At the G8 Summit at Lough Erne, the UK and other G8 members also agreed to hold the first public and private sector dialogue on anti-money laundering and how to prevent the financing of terrorism in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Dialogue was hosted by the Namibian Government from 6 to 8 September 2013 and was attended by a dozen finance and other ministers from the Eastern and Southern African region, and over 200 delegates from the G8 and regional treasuries, financial investigation units, financial institutions, telecommunication units, non-governmental organisations, the World Bank and United Nations. The Dialogue covered a range of issues relevant to anti-money laundering and the prevention of the financing of terrorism and a report will be produced by the G8.
The UK, with the support of other G8 nations also agreed to share its experience of supervision and enforcement of anti-money laundering legislation in the financial sector by conducting a lessons learned exercise. This will help identify best practice to inform further work by the Financial Action Task Force in this area during 2014 to 2015.
At the same time, the UK is working with the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies so that together we lead from the front on this agenda. All Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies with a financial services industry have published action plans setting out steps they will take to deliver much greater transparency about who really owns, controls, and benefits from companies, and to ensure that this information is available to tax authorities and law enforcement authorities. They also agreed to join the multilateral pilot for automatic tax information exchange launched by the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Good progress has also been made on their commitment to join the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance on Tax Matters. These are significant steps forward. The Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies have demonstrated their commitment to take action to be at the forefront of international standards in this area, and it is essential that commitments are fully implemented to deliver a fair, responsible and effectively regulated global business environment.
The UK government will, for the first time, bring together all of the UK’s anti-corruption efforts under one cross-government anti-corruption plan.
BOND Anti-Corruption Group: Article 19, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Corruption Watch, Global Witness, Integrity Action, ONE, Public Concern at Work, Tearfund, The Corner House, Transparency International UK
Our vision is to have a robust, cross-government anti-corruption plan that will bring much more coordination and coherence to the work that is going on, from preventing corruption taking place in the first instance to taking effective enforcement action when it does.
The UK’s work so far has sought to address corruption both at home and abroad. The UK government takes the issue of preventing and dealing with corruption where it occurs – both at home and overseas – very seriously. Over recent years, the UK has taken a number of steps to deal with corruption and we have good structures and legislation already in place including:
Even with this activity taking place, we recognise that there is more that can be done to improve our standing at home and to better manage our reputation for dealing with corruption and bribery offences overseas. To do this, the UK government will for the first time bring together all of the UK’s anti-corruption efforts under one cross-government anti-corruption plan. The plan will bring greater coordination and effectiveness to the UK’s efforts to tackle corruption both domestically and internationally, across government and its agencies, and with civil society, business and international institutions. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations (CSOs) will be consulted for their views on the content of the plan.
The plan will include a range of measures that the UK will take to prevent corruption and enforce relevant legislation. For example, once refreshed EU rules are in place – whereby we are already required to exclude suppliers for bribery and corruption – we will reconsider:
The UK government will also build on good progress made so far, by continuing to work with the UK’s Overseas Territories to extend to them the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Anti-Bribery Convention. The Home Office will provide the coordination function across government which will report jointly to the Home Secretary and the government’s Anti-Corruption Champion.
The development and content of the plan is still for departments to agree. The Home Office will work with the Cabinet Office, other government departments, and CSOs to take forward this work.
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The UK government will lead by example by creating a publicly accessible central registry of company beneficial ownership information. The registry will contain information about who ultimately owns and controls UK companies.
CAFOD, Christian Aid, Global Witness, ONE, Open Knowledge Foundation, OpenCorporates, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund, Transparency International UK
A lack of knowledge about who ultimately controls, owns and profits from companies and legal arrangements facilitates their misuse for illicit purposes including tax evasion, money laundering, corruption and bribery.
The UK is committed to lead by example to implement international standards on transparency of ownership and control to tackle the misuse of companies and legal arrangements. In particular, the UK has committed to place a requirement on companies to obtain and hold adequate, accurate and current information on their beneficial ownership – defined as the natural person(s) who ultimately owns or controls a legal person or arrangement.
Company beneficial ownership information will be held in a central registry maintained by Companies House. The UK sought views on whether information in the registry should be made publicly accessible. A large number of respondents to the consultation supported this in the interests of promoting positive corporate behaviour and transparency, though concerns were also expressed, notably around competitiveness impacts and privacy. Having carefully considered the arguments for and against, the UK has committed to making information on individuals with significant interests in UK companies accessible publicly via Companies House, potentially using as a model the type of information already in the public domain on company shareholders.
As we further develop the policy we will give careful consideration to:
This will help ensure the robust implementation of the new requirements.
In parallel, the UK is taking forward related G8 commitments to enhance corporate transparency and has sought views on the following issues:
Furthermore, we continue to pursue the same level of ambition through the EU, G8 and the G20. All G8 countries have published action plans on beneficial ownership. The G20 also declared at St Petersburg this year that they too will lead by example on implementation of beneficial ownership requirements, and G20 leaders have tasked finance ministers to update the G20 next year on steps taken to meet the relevant international standards. In the EU, the UK is continuing to push for an ambitious approach in the context of proposals for a Fourth EU Money Laundering Directive.
Through the UK’s G8 action plan on beneficial ownership, the UK is taking forward a number of other commitments. We are currently undertaking the UK’s first ever national risk assessment of money laundering and terrorist financing threat to be completed in 2014. We also committed to improve the supervision and enforcement of those that facilitate company formation in the UK. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are currently leading a review of supervision and enforcement of trust and service providers which will include consideration of additional measures to ensure company formation agents conduct effective due diligence including the identification and verification of beneficial owners. We will also take forward work in the context of the national risk assessment to assess the money laundering and terrorist financing risk posed by trusts, and through the Fourth EU Money Laundering Directive we will seek to ensure that trustees of express trusts are obliged to obtain and hold adequate, accurate and current information on beneficial ownership regarding the trust. Furthermore, we are working hard in the OECD to establish a new global standard on automatic exchange of information which the G20 has called for by February 2014. This will provide greater transparency over trusts than ever before, providing the authorities with more information to tackle the misuse of trusts.
A lack of transparency of company ownership and control favours those looking to hide their identity and launder illicit proceeds through international financial systems. In the UK, investigations are frequently frustrated by the inability of law enforcement to identify the true owner of a company being used to hide or conceal criminal activity, particularly where this information is held offshore by companies incorporated outside the UK. The government is taking steps to implement smart regulation which will improve the playing field for responsible businesses and put a stop to abuse by those who are less scrupulous. In leading by example, the UK hopes to encourage collective global action to tackle corporate opacity.
Companies are already required to know and provide information on their beneficial ownership when, for example, they seek to establish a bank account. Similarly, financial institutions and other professional organisations are required to verify beneficial ownership information through their customer due diligence requirements, with higher risk clients requiring a higher degree of verification. However, financial institutions often cite the customer due diligence requirements as one of the most costly and difficult requirements to fulfil as they are heavily reliant on the information provided by the company. An explicit requirement on companies to obtain and hold information on their beneficial owners could make it easier for financial institutions and others to carry out this due diligence.
By requiring UK companies to provide this information to a central registry, there could be additional benefits for tax authorities and law enforcement agencies in terms of more efficient investigations into company ownership and control. Making this information available publicly could have advantages in terms of public scrutiny, building public trust and ensuring investors, the market and other companies can identify who really owns the companies with whom they are doing business.
The government discussion paper relating to these commitments has informed this action plan. Implementation will now be taken forward through amendments to company law, led by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and through: transposition of the Fourth EU Money Laundering Directive, which is currently being negotiated; amendments to the UK Money Laundering Regulations; and other relevant bilateral and multilateral agreements led by HM Treasury.
The UK government will establish by 1 January 2014 a high level working group to ensure greater transparency and accessibility of police records in England and Wales. The group will explore the range of options for achieving this, including bringing police force records under legislative control, by adding police forces to the Public Records Act 1958, alongside other options that may not require legislation. The working group will report with a clear proposal and action plan by 30 June 2014.
The International Records Management Trust
If police records were brought into the public records system, police bodies would be required to review their records and transfer those selected for permanent preservation to a place of deposit by the time that they are 30 years old (reducing to 20 years over the next decade), in order to ensure their long-term preservation and public accessibility. It would still be possible for police bodies to retain records such as scene of crime evidence for a further period if they could demonstrate the records were needed for current and future work.
The working group will determine the potential benefits and whether it recommends to ministers implementation of the recommendation made by the Hillsborough Independent Panel. The decision ultimately rests with ministers.
This was a recommendation following the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s Report into the disaster at the Hillsborough Football Stadium, Sheffield in 1989. The Panel noted that police records were made available to the Panel on an exceptional basis and would not normally have been made available. The Panel recommended that “police force records are brought under legislative control and that police forces are added to Part II of the First Schedule to the Public Records Act 1958, thereby making them subject to the supervision of the Keeper of Public Records”. There may be other options to achieve the objective that do not require legislation.
The working group will report by 30 June 2014. If it supports the recommendation then it will propose a resourcing and implementation plan to ministers for consideration.
If ministers agree, pending appropriate resourcing, police forces in England and Wales would assess records in accordance with a retention and disposal policy and schedule developed with guidance from The National Archives. Suitable places of deposit would be identified for police forces where records can be deposited and viewed by the public, at the appropriate time.
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The UK government will promote the principles of transparency and accountability in all government-funded construction projects in the domestic and international arenas, including, in the period up until 2015:
CoST, Engineers Against Poverty, Institution of Civil Engineers, Integrity Action, Transparency International UK
Promoting transparency and accountability in infrastructure will achieve impact in four interrelated areas:
The beneficiaries of these improvements are all those who contribute to the public purse through taxation and/or use public infrastructure. Private sector organisations that follow principles of integrity and efficient management in bidding for and undertaking construction work will also benefit.
Our vision is for all governments to be applying the principles of openness and accountability to government funded construction projects. Realising this vision is an enormous task and requires action on many fronts, but the commitments included here will help demonstrate how it can be achieved.
Construction is an essential component of job creation, enterprise development and the achievement of international development goals. But construction is also particularly susceptible to problems of corruption, mismanagement and inefficiency and it has been estimated that up to a third of investment could be lost as a result.
Open government can help deal with these problems and improve value for money. DFIDfunded a three year CoST pilot project from 2008 to 2011. Since then CoST has been established as an independent legal entity and is taking the programme forward with support from the World Bank. CoST is an example of how these benefits can be realised. Its achievements include the annulment of a contract and debarment of consultants through highlighting irregularities on the rehabilitation of the Belize Bridge in Guatemala and institutional improvements in the form of regulations and/or legislation requiring the disclosure of information in Ethiopia, Malawi and Tanzania. DFID continues to provide direct support to countries participating in CoST. This includes £100,000 to CoSTEthiopia, £50,000 to CoST Tanzania and £98,000 to CoST Vietnam.
Infrastructure UK has been very supportive of CoST. This support was reflected in itsInfrastructure Cost Review: annual report 2012 to 2013:
“In January 2013 the Prime Minister reinforced, in a letter to the G8 Leaders, the government’s commitment for improved global transparency on construction costs – including through the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) and new ideas like a global land transparency partnership. Infrastructure UK will continue to promote the use of CoST principles.”
The key milestones for this commitment are:
The mechanism that will be used to measure progress is the CoST Monitoring and Evaluation framework, the results of which will be subject to independent review. All information will be made available to the OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism.
Government, including Infrastructure UK in the domestic arena and DFID in the global arena, in partnership with non-governmental actors, will be drivers of promoting transparency and accountability in construction. CoST will lead multi-country efforts to promote multi-stakeholder programmes to improve value for money in construction.
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The UK government will:
Involve, The Democratic Society
The volume and piecemeal structure of the statute book make it difficult for users to find and use legislation. To make the entire collection of UK legislation available free of charge on a user friendly platform such as legislation.gov.uk, enables lawyers and ordinary citizens alike to identify and scrutinise the laws on which their legal rights and responsibilities are based.
The site contains legislation as it is originally enacted or made, and in the case of Acts in revised or amended form, thereby showing changes to legislation over time. It already offers users significant access to UK legislation. Legislation.gov.uk is the world’s first linked data statute book, providing free online access to all UK legislation. Bringing the online statute book fully up to date will provide full access to the statute book as open data – providing an API to give developers full and open access to the underlying data – and will be a step change in transparency and access to the law.
Law has a wider readership than ever before. The web has made it possible for people to find sources of law and legal information more easily but most users of legislation tend to find the experience confusing. The digital age brings new opportunities to ensure that legislation is accessible and comprehensible. Tools for publishing and arranging law, and techniques for diagnosing and predicting how law is used could dramatically improve public access to the law and the way people perceive and use legislation. Products already created by commercial re-users include a smartphone application and a product enabling lecturers to create and self-publish course-specific ‘mini statute books’.
In 2010, The National Archives launched legislation.gov.uk, the first service of its kind in the world. The creation of legislation.gov.uk integrated two distinct and very different sets of data from the previous statutelaw.gov.uk and opsi.gov.uk services. It involved the migration of thousands of documents, while ensuring that their accuracy and integrity was preserved. Legislation was also one of the first government websites to be underpinned by an API, giving people access to the underlying data and promoting its re-use.
While the service provides the text of legislation (including legislation passed by the devolved governments of the UK) dating back to 1267, it does not yet take account of every ‘effect’ – the changes (since 2002) made by one piece of legislation to another. Since the launch, The National Archives has been working to ensure that the service is brought fully up to date, by applying thousands of effects.
The UK government has set a goal of applying all outstanding legislative effects to primary legislation by the end of 2015. By April 2013, there were less than 129,000 outstanding effects still to be applied to legislation.gov.uk. The key priority is to ensure that the entirety of the UK statute book in its most up to date version is easily accessible and presented to citizens in a user friendly format.
The UK government has set the goal of applying all outstanding legislative effects by the end of 2015. Metrics for the timely release of information against the various legislation are already set and year on year progress can be measured through collection and amalgamating the relevant data sources. Progress towards this is monitored as one of The National Archives’ key performance indicators and reported on in its annual report to Parliament.
The UK government will, with support from The National Archives, ensure that best practice is identified, understood and applied appropriately by government. It will identify or create standards to deliver this commitment through process and technology. The major mechanism for achieving this goal is The National Archives’ Expert Participation Programme. Maintaining an up to date public source of legislation with finite resources is a hundred year-old challenge, but there is a wide and disparate community with an interest in bringing the online statute book fully up to date. The UK’s Parliaments and Assemblies make around 15,000 changes to legislation every year – and The National Archives has the resources to apply 10,000 of those in-house.
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The UK government is committed to ensuring a strong legislative framework to encourage workers to speak up about wrongdoing, risk or malpractice without fear of reprisal.
Public Concern at Work, Transparency International UK
The government’s vision is to ensure that whistleblowers are protected from suffering any reprisal. Whistleblowing is recognised as playing an important role in preventing malpractice and illegal activity and it is right that individuals are protected when acting to expose wrongdoing that is in the public interest. Where there are barriers to whistleblowing, such as the fear of losing employment or being bullied, it creates a negative culture that prevents wrongdoing from being effectively addressed. Recent case studies have indicated that the legislation has not worked as effectively as hoped and it has also shown that there is a need for a cultural shift in attitude to whistleblowing.
The UK government is working to ensure that issues with the existing framework to protect whistleblowers are resolved, so that government can contribute to achieving the cultural change necessary. This work was initiated through changes made in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 and continues in the current call for evidence on the legislative framework. The UK government will consider using a range of complimentary measures to achieve its vision. The appropriate mechanisms will be used for implementation. This could be anything from legislative change, statutory or non statutory codes of practice, guidance or best practice measures.
The legislative framework for whistleblowing in the UK was introduced in 1998 to ensure that whistleblowers are protected from suffering dismissal or reprisal when they raise the alarm about issues of public interest, such as malpractice, in an organisation they work in. The intention was to encourage people to raise issues of concern to prevent disasters and scandals such as Barings Bank and the Piper Alpha Explosion. Over the past 15 years this law has played an important role in raising issues and holding organisations to account. However, recent reports such as the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards and the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Report have highlighted that there is a need to strengthen the framework, as part of a response to prevent scenarios such as unacceptably poor levels of patient care, fraudulent activity, and staff cultures that deter whistleblowers from raising concerns. Therefore, the UK Government has called for evidence to understand where the system is not working as well as it should and allow consideration to be given to what steps could be taken to improve the framework. We consider that a holistic view of the issues and solutions is the best approach for taking future work forward.
The changes that have already been introduced will be reviewed as part of the wider evaluation strategy for the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013. This is a five year plan and will draw conclusions by 2018.
The call for evidence will close on 1 November 2013. The UK government will then consider the responses, along with the report from the Whistleblowing Commissionsupported by Public Concern at Work to identify solutions.
Following evaluation of the responses to the call for evidence, the UK government will set out a plan for future work to achieve change and will continue to monitor the general landscape, along with Publish Concern at Work, to understand the experiences of whistleblowers.
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Fiscal transparency is one of the eligibility requirements for countries looking to join theOGP and the UK government is committed to reaching the highest standards in this area. Fiscal transparency involves making financial information available to citizens throughout the governmental process – from transparency in taxes and revenues received to transparency in how government money is used on contracts and service delivery.
Tax was a key element of the UK’s G8 Presidency in 2013 at which the UK agreed to provide practical support to developing countries, both directly and by working with our international partners, so they can build their capacity to collect taxes that are owed to them.
An effective tax system is at the heart of an effective state. Tax revenues provide the only sustainable alternative to aid for funding of essential public services, from health centres to infrastructure. Taxation is also a core part of state building and a visible sign of a social contract between citizens and the state. Fair and transparent taxation promotes social cohesion and shapes government legitimacy by promoting accountability of governments to tax-paying citizens.
The UK government is already a strong supporter of revenue collection in developing countries and has recently committed to the establishment of a new Developing Countries Capacity Building Unit at HMRC. This will be dedicated to providing support to developing countries’ tax authorities and will initially deliver tax programmes in Southern Africa, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Pakistan.
In the 2012 Open Budget Survey, which measures budget transparency, public participation and oversight by Parliament and audit institutions, the UK was ranked third in the world with a score of 88 out of 100. This is a significant achievement and we hope to retain or better this scoring when we are next assessed in the 2014 survey. To show our support to budget transparency both domestically and internationally, we have recently announced funding of £5 million to the International Budget Partnership (IBP). As well as conducting the Open Budget Survey, the IBP collaborates with a large and diverse network of CSOs around the world to make budget processes more transparent so that timely, accessible, useful budget information is available to citizens. The IBP works with CSOs to analyse and participate in government budget processes, and work with formal oversight institutions to hold government to account. This money will support the IBP as they continue to improve governance through increased global budget transparency, participation and accountability.
It is estimated that governments around the world spend over US$9.5 trillion every single year through contracts. It is vital that citizens are able to see who are awarded these contracts and how their money is being spent.
This improves the transparency of government contracting so that wastefulness and inefficiency is eliminated and corruption and mismanagement of public funds is prevented.
The UK government is committed to transparency and opening major government projects to public scrutiny. In May 2013, the Major Projects Authority published its firstannual report which requires government departments to publish their performance ratings, actions to improve performance, and other information on the project every 12 months. Our vision is to provide accountability to UK citizens on the performance of its major projects to drive greater improvement in the way projects are delivered. It is hoped that year on year reporting will drive up the success rate even further.
“The Authority’s first annual report was a watershed moment. For the first time ever we disclosed an honest appraisal rating for each one of the government’s major projects. This transparency will help further drive up standards, ensuring the billions of pounds that we spend on projects are properly focussed.”
Rt Hon Francis Maude MP, Minister for Cabinet Office
The UK government endorses the principles of open contracting. We will build on the existing foundation of transparency in procurement and contracting and, in consultation with civil society organisations and other stakeholders, we will look at ways to enhance the scope, breadth and usability of published contractual data.
CAFOD, Campaign for Freedom of Information, Compact Voice, Global Witness, Integrity Action, ONE, Open Knowledge Foundation, The Institute for Government
‘Open contracting’ refers to practices for increased disclosure and citizen participation in public contracting. It covers the entire process, including formation, award, execution, performance and completion of public contracts.
Domestically, our vision is to provide accountability to the taxpayer for how government funds are spent, to drive better value for money and increased competition, and to improve the quality of the services and products government buys. We will achieve this by delivering greater transparency of the procurement and contracting process.
The UK is sharing its expertise in open contracting through an international group of organisations led by the World Bank. The Open Contracting Partnership introduced a set of Open Contracting Global Principles to a public audience for consultation on its blogand website in August 2013. This was after developing them over a period of 18 months with over 200 representatives from governments, the private sector and civil society.
The UK broadly welcomes these principles and will look to assist developing nations to improve the transparency of their government contracting. The Open Contracting Partnership is also working to develop a set of open data standards that should also deliver greater harmonisation of the data that is published.
The Prime Minister published a letter on 31 May 2010 setting out three policy commitments in relation to open contracting:
The vehicle for publication is Contracts Finder.
All data published on Contracts Finder is published under the Open Government Licence. As of September 2013, nearly 18,000 contracts had been published. Where the supply chain has already been established, typically the contract will contain details of the key subcontractors. Key metadata for each contract is available to the general public in the form of machine-readable CSV files.
In addition, since 31 March 2011 central government, and other public sector bodies have used Contracts Finder to advertise contract opportunities of a value above £10,000. Opportunities above the threshold for publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) are also automatically advertised on Contracts Finder through an interoperable link. Additional data feeds provide access to contract opportunities published by other wider public sector bodies.
In November 2011 an additional dataset was added. These ‘procurement pipelines’ cover up to £79 billion of potential contracting opportunities across 18 sectors over the next six years. Each notice in the pipeline contains a confidence level allowing suppliers to get an idea of how likely it is that a contract notice will be issued further down the line. The dataset is being expanded regularly with the next new pipeline due to come on stream in November 2013.
Key suppliers to government have also been encouraged to post subcontracting opportunities on Contracts Finder. To date, over 160 subcontracting opportunities have been published in support of the delivery of government contracts.
Departments are expected to ensure when entering into a new contract provisions are contained within the contractual terms and conditions; this will allow for the contract to be published. A standard transparency clause was developed in support of this policy.
Over the next 12 to 24 months the UK government will:
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The Scottish government broadly endorses the principles of ‘open contracting’ and commits to work with civil society and wider stakeholder groups to improve transparency in its procurement practices as part of our continuing programme of procurement reform.
To be confirmed
The Scottish government has set out a clear vision for the future of Scotland. At the core of its programme is the determination to focus government and public services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth. The Scottish government and the wider public sector are committed to public procurement reform. The Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill is intended to build on the work to date. It aims to establish a national legislative framework for public procurement that supports Scotland’s economic growth by delivering social and environmental benefits, supporting innovation and promoting public procurement processes and systems which are transparent, streamlined, standardised, proportionate, fair and business friendly.
Promoting transparency, accountability and the efficient use of public resources is central to this vision and to ensuring value for money. ‘Open contracting’ relates to ensuring transparency and accountability in procurement practices and procedures, which in turn will promote fair competition and greater access by all sectors to public sector contracts.
The Scottish government has very similar policies on open contracting to the UK, the only important differences being the thresholds at which we recommend advertising (£50,000 in Scotland, £10,000 for Whitehall departments and £500 for local government) and that we do not promote the automatic publication of contract documents themselves. The Scottish procurement portal for advertising is Public Contracts Scotland (PCS).
A central theme of the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill is transparency and the Scottish government has consulted widely with a diverse range of stakeholders throughout 2012 on the Bill proposals. The Scottish Procurement Reform Bill currently progressing through the Scottish Parliament introduces a number of new general duties including a general duty on contracting authorities to conduct procurement in a transparent and proportionate manner. Other important measures aimed at improving transparent and open contracting include the mandatory use of the single online portal Public Contracts Scotland (PCS) for advertising contract opportunities, the publication of contract award notices and contract registers, the publication of procurement strategies by public bodies and de-briefing on a regulated procurement to unsuccessful economic operators, unsuccessful tenderers and successful tenderers. This range of transparency measures supported by Scotland’s Freedom of Information legislation and by a diverse range of Scottish stakeholders, including civil society, are designed to widen access opportunities to public sector contracts across all sectors, stimulate competition and encourage accountability and openness in the awarding of contracts. These developments are fully in line with the broad principles of ‘open contracting’.
In 2014, the Scottish government will undertake external stakeholder engagement on the ‘open contracting’ commitment. We will, monitor the extents to which contracts are advertised through PCS and compliance generally with the transparency elements of the Bill and our wider procurement reform programme.
The Scottish government and the wider public sector work in partnership to improve procurement policies, procedures and practices. Realising procurement reform requires collaboration between all stakeholders – across the public, private and third sectors. In Scotland, four Centres of Procurement Expertise across central government, local government, the National Health Service and Higher and Further Education support public sector bodies to improve the capability and capacity of public procurement. Governance mechanisms exist to help influence and drive the procurement reform agenda. As part of consulting on the ‘open contracting’ commitment, these bodies will be involved.
The mechanisms being further developed through the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill, in addition, to building on existing systems and processes should allow for capturing contracting authorities’ commitment to the principle of transparency and open contracting, for example, through monitoring the use of the advertising portal Public Contracts Scotland (PCS) and adherence to the public duty on transparency.
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The UK government will show leadership in transforming the transparency of global development assistance by publishing information on official development assistance (ODA) in line with the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) Standard, so that UK assistance can be tracked through the delivery chain.
Development Initiatives, Integrity Action, ONE, OpenCorporates, Publish What You Fund
Increasing the transparency and traceability of development spending has the potential to transform the way aid is delivered globally and to improve its impact. Making information about aid spending easier to access, understand and use means that taxpayers in donor countries and citizens in developing countries can more easily hold governments to account for using funds wisely. It also enables international development actors to coordinate and plan their activities more effectively. As the UK achieves the milestone of providing 0.7% of Gross National Income on development assistance from 2013, this greater transparency and openness is a crucial element of helping to ensure we get best value for every pound spent.
Achievement of this commitment will result in more UK data on development assistance being published and available in a common format to an internationally recognised standard. We will also encourage other providers of development assistance to make their information available in this common format, helping to create a richer global dataset of more open, timely, comprehensive, comparable and reusable information.
Increasing the transparency and traceability of development commitments and spending can transform the way aid is delivered globally, improving its impact, increasing accountability and helping reduce waste and opportunities for fraud and corruption.
Under UK government leadership the IATI developed and agreed a ground-breaking common, international open data standard for publishing detailed information on development flows. It is an example of a successful and inspirational open data initiative that crosses national boundaries. The standard is designed to make data easier for users to find, compare and re-use – so that donors, governments and service providers can coordinate better, avoid duplication of projects and plan their activities knowing what others are doing. It also helps parliamentarians, civil society organisations and citizens to hold their governments to account for the use of these resources.
IATI is a voluntary, multi-stakeholder initiative involving donors, partner countries, civil society organisations and other providers of development cooperation. Membership has expanded to 37 major donors and 22 endorsing partner countries. Over 175 organisations, including many UK and international civil society organisations, are now using the standard – DFID was the first. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Home Office, Department of Health and Department for Work and Pensions have also published data using the IATI standard.
The UK government introduced an Aid Transparency Guarantee in June 2010. In 2011,DFID published financial information and project documents for all new DFID projects to show:
In October 2012, DFID was ranked first (out of 72 international organisations) in the2012 Publish What You Fund Aid Transparency Index.
Building on this, the government has ambitious plans to increase the transparency of its development assistance information, as well as helping partners to improve theirs through an Aid Transparency Challenge. This has led to building of a prototype of a new open data platform for development assistance – the ‘Development Tracker’ – which uses IATI standard open data to present timely and detailed information on UK programmes and expenditure and supports greater traceability of assistance. The UK government will make this technology available for others to use.
We believe this commitment will work as there is strong international momentum around increasing the transparency of development assistance, and an appreciation that this is key to improving effectiveness as well as accountability. The commitment builds on recent G8 commitments – and previous DFID commitments at the Busan High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in December 2011.
The Cabinet Office and DFID will work together to ensure that UK government departments that spend ODA publish information in line with IATI by 2015.
In addition, DFID will:
DFID, including through close ministerial engagement, will continue to lead the implementation of increased UK development assistance transparency, with Cabinet Office encouraging other government departments to publish to IATI. Other drivers include existing accountability and reporting mechanisms such as IATI, G8 and Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) monitoring, and CSO assessments of performance. It will also be driven by requiring IATI reporting in new contracts with implementing partners. Departments will need to factor resourcing into their transparency plans to ensure they are able to fulfil commitments.
The following existing mechanisms will measure progress:
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Getting people to exercise their democratic powers is essential to good open government. In the UK, even though 90% of the population who are able to vote are registered to do so, we can and want to do better to capture the remaining 10%. To help get those individuals who are not currently registered to vote on the electoral register the UK government is making £4.2 million available, for the period 2013 to 2014. This will be particularly targeted at groups of people who have been identified as being under-represented on the electoral register including young people aged 16 to 24 and people in social housing. For example, 55% of 17 and 18 year olds are registered to vote compared with 90% of those aged 55 to 64 and 94% of those aged 65 and over. We will be encouraging organisations to help inform and engage these target groups who are not on the electoral register. This funding will go a long way to ensure everyone can exercise their democratic right to vote in UK elections.
Getting people to vote is, however, only one way that citizens can influence the working of their government. Getting people to take a more active part in their local community to improve their local area and delivery of public services is also important. This is why in 2011, the UK government launched two community based programmes to empower citizens to get more involved in their local community. Community First has helped citizens come together through new and existing community groups to identify local priorities and strengthen existing networks so that they can plan for the future. To date over £14 million has been allocated to fund a range of projects. We have also provided training for nearly 2,000 Community Organisers to work in their local community to identify local leaders, projects and opportunities and support them to take action on the things that matter most to them.
Getting more young people to become more engaged and active citizens is the reason why the National Citizen Service, a unique full-time programme open to all 16 and 17 year olds across England, was born three years ago. One of the programme’s modules – Rock Enrol – is designed to get young people talking about democracy and to inspire them to register to vote from the age of 16. Coupled with the requirement that young people have to deliver a project in their local community, we hope that after participating on the programme, young people will continue to be active citizens and will use their vote once they are eligible at 18.
NHS England will be improving the quality and breadth of information available to citizens to support them to participate more fully in both their own health care and in the quality and design of health services which will result in greater accountability of NHS England.
Macmillan Cancer Support, Nuffield Trust
The English healthcare system is already one of the most transparent in the world – publishing more information than any other country. It is now taking further steps to transform access to data for patients, doctors, researchers, and academics. This ambition is central to NHS England’s strategy of delivering high quality care for all by improving the quality, efficiency and equity of health services. Greater transparency will empower patients and citizens to hold the health service to account and at the same time support life sciences research so that more life saving treatments can be found.
The NHS in England is committed to transforming services through transparency and participation and has made a huge volume and range of data and information available through channels such as data.gov.uk and NHS Choices.
In February 2013 the report of the public enquiry into care provided at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust highlighted the importance of transparency for a safe and effective health service:
The effective collection, analysis and dissemination of relevant information is essential for swift identification and prevention of substandard services; facilitating accountability; provision of accessible and relevant information to the public; and supporting patient choice of treatment.
Report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry Robert Francis QC
The actions that we are setting out in this document represent the biggest moves ever taken by any health service anywhere in the world to put transparency and patient participation at the very core of the health system.
A major initiative announced this year, called care.data, led by NHS England and delivered by the Health and Social Care Information Centre under its new legislative framework, is an unprecedented new data service. Information on the care received by patients is currently shared and stored in a secure system to support patients’ treatment. To help improve the treatment and care of patients it is important for the NHS to be able to use this information to plan and improve services for all patients. Sharing and linking information from all the different places where care is received such as GP surgeries, hospitals and community services will help the NHS to have a full picture of all the care that is going on across England. This will help the NHS and the life sciences sector to see what care and treatments have worked best and will lead to improvements in the health service for everyone.
Information such as a patient’s postcode and NHS number will be used to link a patient’s records but not their name. The system to do this will be secure so a patient’s identity is protected. This information, which does not reveal a patient’s identity, can then be used by others, such as researchers and those planning health services, to make sure the NHS provides the best care possible for everyone. Information that will be used and shared is controlled by law and strict rules are in place to protect patients’ privacy.
Patients will be given the right to object to their data being shared for these secondary purposes and for those objections to be upheld. To ensure that patients are aware of the programme and their right to object if they wish, NHS England will be leading a national programme of awareness including, in January 2014, a patient information leaflet which will be delivered to every household in England. In addition, patients will in the future be able to access information held about them via a secure web portal. This will allow patients to see the data that is held about them to help them manage their health or to share with health professionals involved in their care. In developing this service we will have regard to privacy requirements and the recent Caldicott Information Governance Review. We look forward to further engagement with civil society organisations as this important initiative develops and delivers.
The care.data initiative will help to:
The key milestones for this commitment are:
We have an ambitious programme of work to support patients to take greater control of their own health and wellbeing. This will be supported by their General Practice which will offer a range of digital services. Our ambition is that by March 2015 everyone who wishes to will be able to:
Alongside this, we are working with leading practices across the country to support development and evaluation of longer term ambitions, including the use of e-consultations and more interactive records access, ahead of wider adoption.
NHS England is leading the delivery of these initiatives and will work closely with civil society organisations, clinicians, patients and their representatives to ensure that the outputs achieve the maximum benefit.
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The UK government will demonstrate the potential of open policy making by running at least five ‘test and demonstrate projects’ across different policy areas. These will inform how open policy making can be deployed across the civil service.
The Democratic Society, Involve, Compact Voice, Campaign for Freedom of Information
The UK government’s commitment to open policy making was set out in the Civil Service Reform Plan. However, open policy making cannot be introduced by management order – it is an attitude more than a set of processes. To convince officials that open policy making is worthwhile, and to convince the public and others that the government is willing to follow through on its commitment, there is a need to demonstrate how open policy making can really work.
These demonstrators need to make clear that open policy making is not dependent on deep technical knowledge, and is not futuristic – the key message should be “people like you are doing open policy making right now”. A range of different projects – expressly set up as experiments – will show officials at national and local level how open policy making can be integrated into the everyday business of government.
The projects will cut across different policy areas and demonstrate how different open approaches can be used to improve policy. These approaches will include:
The UK government is committed to make policy open by default in the Civil Service Reform Plan. Open policy making is about improving the quality of policy making – recognising that Whitehall does not have monopoly on the policy making process and that effective policy making necessarily relies on external input in an increasingly networked world. Open policy making does not change the core tasks of the policy process, which remain as they ever were: the policy question still needs to be properly defined and analysed; and options still need to be developed, tested, implemented, and evaluated. Open policy making therefore changes the way and the pace at which policy advice is prepared, recognising that there is no one ‘model’ or ‘one size fits all’ approach. It reaches for new tools and techniques that can help.
The UK government and the voluntary and community sector also have an agreement, called The Compact, which outlines a way of working the two sectors should follow when dealing with each other. Section 2.3 of the Compact commits government to work with Civil Society Organisations from the earliest possible stage to design policies, programmes and services and ensure those likely to have a view are involved from the start.
A meeting during the Autumn will identify candidate projects, with each requiring approval from their department and ministerial structures before they can formally be included. A final list will be agreed by January 2014.
The development and learning from the projects will be shared via existing open policy making networks throughout the process. Those outside of government will be actively encouraged to comment on, and contribute to, progress. In early 2015, after the completion of the projects, the government will set out how it will embed the learning and successful approaches uncovered across the civil service policy profession.
Learning from the projects will be overseen by a project board including civil society representatives. The projects will be accountable to their individual departments.
Civil society representatives will support departments in delivering these projects (where relevant). This will be agreed on a case by case basis.
The UK government will identify innovative and effective ways to engage the public in policy involving complex scientific and technological innovation through the Sciencewise Programme.
The Democratic Society
The Sciencewise Programme has built up considerable experience and expertise in engaging the public in policy involving science and technology. The new contexts of open policy making and the digital revolution present both challenges and opportunities to increase the programme’s impact to benefit UK citizens. Sciencewise will commit to exploring ways of opening up public dialogue to wider voices – both public and partners will share the learning.
Science, technology and engineering are essential to daily life. They help us to understand and address the main challenges we face both in the UK and globally, underpin economic prosperity and support growth eg food security. Scientific research and technology have led to dramatic increases in life expectancy, to unravelling the secrets of the universe and our own origins, to profound insights into human behaviour and culture, and to improve daily life, through innovation, from domestic appliances to satellite communications.
Sciencewise has been developing ways to carry out a dialogue with members of the public and experts within the UK research and policy making systems for ten years. It has opened up policy making by supporting, funding, and providing advice and training, on over twenty scientific and technology topics critical to the UK’s prosperity. These include Synthetic Biology, Nanotechnology, Stem Cells and Sustainable Energy Pathways to 2050.
The open policy caking commitments made by the UK government now provide an opportunity for Sciencewise to build on its experience in the very heart of government policy making. The Sciencewise commitments will commence in early 2014 with the aim of piloting and evaluating throughout 2014 and embedding during 2015.
Sciencewise will bring together civil society organisations to better understand how to involve them in public dialogue on science and technology policy. The programme will identify groups that come from different areas of the UK and certain sectors which will enable the programme to have as wide a reach as possible.
Sciencewise will also convene a panel of digital engagement experts and interested organisations from the civil society community to develop digital mechanisms to open up dialogue to a wider public audience. This builds on Sciencewise’s work with the Democratic Society and the Government Digital Service to assess barriers and potential options.
GC1, GC3, GC5
The UK government will publish legislation in a draft format on GOV.UK whenever appropriate, in order to enable and promote public involvement and engagement in proposed changes to the law.
Compact Voice, Involve, The Democratic Society
The UK government has a good track record of publishing legislation in draft and consulting on it before it is introduced. Experience to date suggests that the process of consultation, and of formal pre-legislative scrutiny by parliamentary committees, has potential to improve the quality of legislation by engaging stakeholders and the wider public at an early stage, giving an opportunity for legislation to reflect the input of those potentially affected by it. Making this practice the norm will, given the experience to date, help further the transparency of law and the policy development process, and improve understanding and engagement with legislation.
Government is committed to following Principle 2.4 of the Compact which states, “Give early notice of forthcoming consultations, where possible, allowing enough time for civil society organisations to involve their service users, beneficiaries, members, volunteers and trustees in preparing responses. Where it is appropriate, and enables meaningful engagement, conduct 12-week formal written consultations, with clear explanations and a rationale for shorter time-frames or a more informal approach.”
The procedure and timescales for publishing bills in draft is set by the Cabinet Office’s Parliamentary Business and Legislation Secretariat and Parliament. At an early stage in the process of approving work on new legislation, the government will set out its commitment to publish a bill in draft on GOV.UK (or the reasons why publication is not appropriate in a particular case).
The effect of publication will be evaluated on a case by case basis. This will take into account levels of stakeholder engagement in policy development.
The UK government will ensure that best practice is identified, understood and applied appropriately by government. It will identify or create standards to deliver this commitment through process and technology. Any further pilots involving public consultations on draft bills will have to reflect on any improvements that could be made to the technology and the processes used in the completed pilots.
The UK government will ensure the OpenDataCommunities programme continues to free up DCLG’s evidence-base from literally thousands of disconnected spreadsheets, so that it can be quickly and easily discovered, combined and re-used over the web alongside related third party sources.
DCLG will continue to extend the range and volume of fully accessible, five-star data published via its OpenDataCommunities service. It will also maintain a showcase of visualisations and interactive dashboards to demonstrate how developers, data analysts and local communities can use the open datasets to better understand the interplay of economic and social factors on specific neighbourhoods across the UK. Standards and best practice developed under the programme will also be promoted domestically (particularly amongst local authorities) and internationally.
The vision is that by 2015, OpenDataCommunities will be the DCLG’s single platform for:
The benefits and impact will include:
Through 33 demanding actions, the DCLG Open Data Strategy sets out how the department will drive reform and service improvement through transparency and greater citizen participation. At the heart of many of these commitments is its flagship OpenDataCommunities programme.
OpenDataCommunities has demonstrated and articulated the role and value of open data as an enabler of smarter, more efficient decision-making and partnership working.DCLG has worked with various partners and users to capture real-world evidence of demand for and benefits of more open, accessible data. Guided by the ‘Open Data Engagement’ principles, OpenDataCommunities has focussed on actively supporting re-use of DCLG data alongside related third-party sources.
To date, the project has focussed on partnerships with Local Authorities and homelessness charities, to deliver new tools and mechanisms for blending departmental and locally produced sources, and presenting results to users in a range of innovative, engaging tools. Examples include:
These projects demonstrate how we actively seek to apply the “Open Data Engagement” principles. For example, our work:
Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Chair of the Local Public Data Panel said that Open Data Communities is “an outstanding example of how Open Data can be published, reused and exploited to benefit a wide range of stakeholders. It supports extremely efficient data reuse and integration, and is a gold standard to which others should aspire.”
OpenDataCommunities is still largely in its formative stage, and driven by user demand for data, so it is difficult to provide precise milestones. However, in broad terms, the key outputs to be delivered by the end of 2015 will be:
We anticipate that additional resources will be required to fully realise OpenDataCommunities’ aims and vision. At this stage, it is difficult to estimate the likely scale and impact largely because the service will grow progressively, in response to user demand.
Where possible, we will look to absorb additional resource requirements within existing budgets, and by spreading the load amongst our stakeholders and partners. Where demand cannot be accommodated, we would either re-prioritise forward plans (ie scale back), or look to submit a bid for suitable funding sources, such as the Open Data Breakthrough Fund.
GC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, GC5
The UK government will transpose into UK law and implement European legislation on the re-use of public sector information early, delivering the obligation on public sector bodies to make their information available for re-use.
Campaign for Freedom of Information, Open Knowledge Foundation, Open Rights Group
The UK’s implementation of European Directive 2013/37/EU amending Directive 2003/98/EC on the re-use of public sector information (the PSI Directive) will make more public sector information available for re-use both for commercial and non-commercial purposes, in machine-readable formats and under the Open Government Licence. This will deliver economic benefits for the UK and contribute to the UK government’s commitment to transparency and openness through a more open flow of data and information available for business and the public to scrutinise/analyse and re-use in products and services. This will enable international benefits, for example, through cross-border comparison and aggregation of PSI to create global information products and services.
The UK is committed to implement legislation in this area under the European treaty and the Digital Agenda. There are clear synergies between the aims of the Directive to remove obstacles to the use and re-use of public sector information and the UK Government’s policy on open data and transparency, including the NII and the Open Data Charter.
The UK has been operating under UK based regulations since 2005 and has effective open licensing and redress mechanisms in place to encourage and enable the re-use of public sector information, including:
Through these policies and initiatives, the UK is in first place on the crowd-sourced European PSI Scorecard which measures the status of open data and PSI re-use throughout the European Union.
Public consultation on the legislation will take place in 2014. Accelerated delivery of the new mandatory framework for re-use is the goal to ensure that the UK meets its aims to remove unnecessary barriers to public sector information. Practical tools, guidance and an effective redress mechanism will be in place to support and meet this commitment.
The commitment will be delivered by clear streamlined legislation underpinned by practical guidance and tools, including a suite of open licences. An effective regulatory framework to deliver the impartial review of decisions made by public sector bodies will build confidence in the information sector.
The UK has been at the forefront of recent efforts to make the world’s oil, gas and mining (extractive) industries more financially transparent and accountable. Citizens of countries rich in natural resources have often remained poor despite the large revenues generated from their oil, gas and minerals. These public assets are finite and non-renewable, so it is crucial that these countries and their citizens receive a fair share of the proceeds, and that the money is used wisely for the public good. Developing countries’ resource revenues have huge potential to support investment in infrastructure, health, education, social protection, agriculture, economic diversification and decent work, and to reduce dependency on aid.
The UK was one of the founders of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative(EITI), which was established largely in response to civil society campaigns about the secrecy surrounding extractive sector contracts and payments in many resource-rich developing countries. After supporting and playing an active role in the development of the EITI for a decade, the UK voluntarily committed earlier this year to implement theEITI’s requirements by becoming a candidate country. We are now starting to work towards publishing reports that reconcile the payments that oil, gas and mining companies make to the UK government with the revenues that the government receives from these companies.
In 2013 the UK and other EU member states reached agreement with the European Parliament on new mandatory payment reporting requirements for all EU-listed and large EU-incorporated oil, gas, mining and forestry companies. Of the two EU Directives establishing these requirements, the Accounting Directive has become EU law, and the Transparency Directive is expected to follow shortly. Once transposed into member state law, these Directives will result in a wealth of information on extractive and forestry company payments to governments all over the world, country by country and project by project, becoming publicly available. This will enable citizens and civil society to hold not only governments but also companies to account for the governance, apportioning and management of natural resource wealth.
Maintaining its leadership on extractive sector transparency at the 2013 G8 Summit in Northern Ireland, the UK ensured that the Summit communiqué committed the UK and its EU G8 partners to implement the EU Accounting and Transparency Directives quickly and to work within the G8 and with other countries to achieve common global reporting standards for the extractive industries to help fight corruption and fraud and to encourage more effective investment. Linked to this, the UK-hosted Summit issued the Open Data Charter, which commits G8 countries to ensure that good quality, accessible electronic data, usable by all, is freely available in areas including natural resources and extractives revenues.
The UK government will implement and internationally champion a global standard of financial transparency and accountability in the extractive industries (oil, gas and mining) on the part of governments and companies, in line with the principles in the G8 Open Data Charter.
CAFOD, Christian Aid, Global Witness, ONE, Open Knowledge Foundation, OpenCorporates, Publish What You Pay, Tearfund
Mandatory requirements for extractive (oil, gas and mining) companies to report their payments to governments country-by-country and project-by-project, especially when complemented by governments’ disclosure of the revenues received from each company and for each project, will help make the extractive industries far more transparent and accountable worldwide.
Our vision is that by 2020 at the latest all the world’s extractive companies will be required by home country regulations and stock market listing rules, and by host country membership of the EITI, to report their payments to governments by country and by project for every country where they do business and, where applicable, to hold information on their beneficial ownership and consider making it publicly available.
The UK aims to ensure that extractives companies’ transparency reports are openly available and accessible, and will explore the most suitable formats and mechanisms for this, including consideration of standard reporting templates.
Currently in resource-rich developing countries, a lack of open, accessible and reliable public information about tax, royalty and other payments by extractive companies to governments limits the monitoring of non-renewable resource revenue flows. Country-by-country and project-by-project reporting by extractive companies of their payments to governments, complemented by government reporting of revenues received, in an open and accessible format, is widely recognised as the essential first step in ensuring that governments and companies are transparent and accountable to citizens for the management of natural resources and the payments and revenues generated.
The EITI was launched over ten years ago, involving governments, extractive companies, investors and civil society, under which each member country, overseen by its multi-stakeholder group, publishes regular reports on company payments and government receipts for oil, gas and minerals.
The UK committed to become an EITI implementing country in May 2013 and welcomed the stronger and more detailed EITI reporting standard agreed at the 2013 EITI Global Conference, which requires project-level reporting of payments and information about state-owned enterprises, recommends publicly available registers of beneficial ownership of extractive companies, and encourages public disclosure of contracts and licenses.
The UK is also proactively engaged in discussions with other European Union member states to deliver effective transparency legislation through the EU Transparency and Accounting Directives, requiring extractive companies to report payments to governments at country and project level.
A key outcome of the June 2013 G8 Summit under the UK’s Presidency was the Open Data Charter, with commitments to a set of principles that will be the foundation for access to, and the release and reuse of, data made available by G8 governments. The Charter affirms G8 countries’ commitment to facilitate free access by individuals and organisations to high-quality open data that is timely, comprehensive, accurate and machine-readable. This will help increase transparency about what governments and businesses are doing, including about how countries’ natural resources are used and how revenues are spent, promoting accountability and good governance, enhancing public debate and helping combat corruption around the world.
The UK committed to principles of open data through the G8 Open Data Charter, which will be applied to extractives’ data.
The key milestones for this commitment are:
GC2, GC3, GC5
Now that the National Action Plan is published, the hard work begins to implement it. The partnership of civil society representatives and government officials has helped to strengthen the commitments that we have made. Now we want to extend and deepen these partnerships in order to ensure the effective delivery of the commitments.
Civil society has an important role to play in both partnering with government to achieve common goals, and to independently scrutinise the work of government and hold it to account. As such, we will work with civil society organisations to inform and support the implementation of the commitments, and to ensure that our progress is robustly assessed and does not lose momentum.
As is the case for all member countries, at the end of the first year of the plan we will produce a self-assessment of our progress. Our delivery against the commitments will be scrutinised by the Independent Reporting Mechanism. This dual self and independent assessment is a critical element of the OGP, ensuring that we have fulfilled our commitments. We will also work with civil society to expand the OGP UK Civil Society Network (the Network) so that it broadens its reach and becomes more representative.
We feel that we can go further by reporting regularly on progress on each of our commitments in order that people can see how we are doing, offer constructive feedback and help ensure that we succeed in implementing the commitments here. We will work with civil society organisations to ensure that our assessments are robust.
In addition, the Minister for the Cabinet Office will chair a meeting every six months with representatives from the Network and government officials to take stock and review implementation of the commitments in the National Action Plan.
During this time, we will continue to work with civil society and other stakeholders to identify common goals which will inform the UK’s third National Action Plan.
Together with civil society, we will reflect on the lessons that can be learnt from this partnership and will look for other opportunities in which we can pilot similar ways of working.
|Supporting civil society organisations
|Open data: radically opening up government data for greater accountability, public service improvement and economic growth
|The UK government will continue to develop and list an inventory of all the datasets it owns, whether published or unpublished, in order to identify the National Information Infrastructure (NII) – the datasets which are likely to have the broadest and most significant economic and social impact if made available. The identification of the NII will facilitate discussions to prioritise the release of these datasets.
|Open Knowledge Foundation, Open Rights Group, OpenCorporates
|1, 2, 3, 4, 5
|NHS England will work with governments and civil society organisations internationally to create an online space to share experiences of embedding high quality standards into information, with a view to building an accreditation scheme to enable citizens and organisations to assess their progress.
|1, 2, 3
|The UK government will issue a Local Authorities Data Transparency Code requiring local authorities to publish key information and data. This will place more power into citizens’ hands and make it easier for local people to contribute to the local decision making process and help shape public services.
|Department for Communities and Local Government
|By 2015, the UK aims to be the most transparent social investment market in the Open Government Partnership and G20, in line with the Open Data Charter principles.
|Big Lottery Fund, Big Society Capital, City of London Bridges Trust, Social Enterprise UK
|1, 3, 4, 5
|The UK government will manage and capture digital records and there will be a comprehensive, accessible and timely paper and digital record of UK government available to the citizen.
|The National Archives
|The International Records Management Trust
|2, 3, 5
|Government integrity: fighting corruption and strengthening democracy through transparent government
|The UK government will, for the first time, bring together all of the UK’s anti-corruption efforts under one cross-government anti-corruption plan.
|BOND Anti-Corruption Group: Article 19, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Corruption Watch, Global Witness, Integrity Action, ONE, Public Concern at Work, Tearfund, The Corner House, Transparency International UK
|1, 2, 4, 5
|The UK government will lead by example by creating a publicly accessible central registry of company beneficial ownership information. The registry will contain information about who ultimately owns and controls UK companies.
|Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, HM Treasury
|CAFOD, Global Witness, ONE, Open Knowledge Foundation, OpenCorporates, Oxfam, Save the Children, Christian Aid, Tearfund, Transparency and Accountability Initiative, Transparency International UK
|The UK government will establish by 1 January 2014 a high level working group to ensure greater transparency and accessibility of police records in England and Wales. The group will explore the range of options for achieving this, including bringing police force records under legislative control, by adding police forces to the Public Records Act 1958, alongside other options that may not require legislation. The working group will report with a clear proposal and action plan by 30 June 2014.
|The International Records Management Trust
|1, 2, 3, 5
|The UK government will promote the principles of transparency and accountability in all government-funded construction projects in the domestic and international arenas, including, in the period up until 2015: working with others in government and civil society to identify suitable projects for the application of the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) in the UK; using its bilateral and multilateral relationships to encourage the establishment of at least four new national CoST programmes in countries where DFID is working
|Department for International Development (DFID), Infrastructure UK
|Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST), Engineers Against Poverty, Institution of Civil Engineers, Integrity Action, Transparency International UK
|1, 2, 3, 4
|The UK government will: promptly publish all new primary and secondary legislation on legislation.gov.uk; bring the revised versions of primary legislation on legislation.gov.uk up to date by the end of 2015 and keep them up to date subsequently; make legislative data available in an open and accessible format to allow people to re-use content under terms of the UK’s Open Government Licence
|The National Archives
|Involve, The Democratic Society
|1, 2, 5
|The UK government is committed to ensuring a strong legislative framework to encourage workers to speak up about wrongdoing, risk or malpractice without fear of reprisal.
|Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
|Public Concern At Work, Transparency International UK
|1, 2, 3, 4, 5
|Fiscal transparency: helping citizens to follow the money
|The UK government endorses the principles of open contracting. We will build on the existing foundation of transparency in procurement and contracting and, in consultation with civil society organisations and other stakeholders, we will look at ways to enhance the scope, breadth and usability of published contractual data.
|CAFOD, Compact Voice, Global Witness, Integrity Action, ONE, Open Knowledge Foundation, The Institute for Government
|2, 3, 5
|The Scottish government broadly endorses the principles of ‘open contracting’ and commits to work with civil society and wider stakeholder groups to improve transparency in its procurement practices as part of our continuing programme of procurement reform.
|Civil society organisations to be consulted in 2014
|1, 2, 3, 5
|The UK government will show leadership in transforming the transparency of global development assistance by publishing information on official development assistance (ODA) in line with the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) Standard, so that UK assistance can be tracked through the delivery chain.
|Department for International Development
|Development Initiatives, Integrity Action, ONE, OpenCorporates, Publish What You Fund
|1, 2, 3, 5
|Empowering citizens: transforming the relationship between citizens and governments
|NHS England will be improving the quality and breadth of information available to citizens to support them to participate more fully in both their own health care and in the quality and design of health services which will result in greater accountability of NHS England.
|Macmillan Cancer Support, Nuffield Trust
|1, 2, 3
|The UK government will demonstrate the potential of open policy making by running at least five ‘test and demonstrate projects’ across different policy areas. These will inform how open policy making can be deployed across the civil service.
|Compact Voice, Involve, The Democratic Society
|The UK government will identify innovative and effective ways to engage the public in policy involving complex scientific and technological innovation through the Sciencewise Programme.
|Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
|The Democratic Society
|1, 3, 5
|The UK government will publish legislation in a draft format on GOV.UK whenever appropriate, in order to enable and promote public involvement and engagement in proposed changes to the law.
|Cabinet Office, Office of the Parliamentary Counsel
|Compact Voice, Involve, The Democratic Society
|The UK government will ensure the OpenDataCommunities programme continues to free up DCLG’s evidence-base from literally thousands of disconnected spreadsheets, so that it can be quickly and easily discovered, combined and re-used over the web alongside related third party sources.
|Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)
|1, 2, 3, 4, 5
|The UK government will transpose into UK law and implement European legislation on the re-use of public sector information early, delivering the obligation on public sector bodies to make their information available for re-use.
|The National Archives
|Open Knowledge Foundation, Open Rights Group
|Natural resources transparency: ensuring natural resources and extractive revenues are used for public benefit
|The UK government will implement and internationally champion a global standard of financial transparency and accountability in the extractive industries (oil, gas and mining) on the part of governments and companies, in line with the principles in the G8 Open Data Charter.
|Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Department for International Development, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, HM Treasury
|CAFOD, Christian Aid, Global Witness, ONE, Open Knowledge Foundation, OpenCorporates, Publish What You Pay, Tearfund
|2, 3, 5
The UK OGP Civil Society Network is open to any representatives of UK civil society organisations to join, and is committed to increasing the membership of the network ever further.
The following organisations have worked with government to create this National Action Plan and the commitments within. Those organisations marked with an asterisk are signatories of the OGP UK Civil Society Network foreword.
Big Lottery Fund
Big Society Capital
Campaign for Freedom of Information*
Centre for Global Development
City of London Bridges Trust
Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST)
Engineers Against Poverty
Institution of Civil Engineers*
Macmillan Cancer Support*
Open Knowledge Foundation
Open Rights Group*
Public Concern at Work*
Publish What You Fund*
Publish What You Pay UK*
Save the Children
Social Enterprise UK
The Corner House
The Democratic Society*
The Institute for Government [IA The International Records Management Trust
Transparency International UK*