OGN Publications 15th February 2017

Agenda For Pioneering Open Government – Common Weal (Scotland)

A Common Weal contribution to the Open Government Programme

November 2016

Author: Dr Ben Simmons is a writer and campaigner for Open Government and Basic Income in Scotland.

This short paper is drawn from Common Weal’s previous policy work, from the citizen participation sessions that we held and from an online consultation process organised via social media. While we appreciate that the initial proposals for Scotland’s action plan are likely to be some way short of the ideas in this paper, we hope that these can set an agenda for a much more forward-looking approach to participation and transparency over the months and years to come. This paper is organised into three sections. Transparency is taken to mean the extent to which the public can find out information about what is being done in the public realm and with public finances. Accountability is taken to mean the ability of citizens to know how those who enact public policy have gone about it, that they should be able to assess whether democratic power has been wielded effectively and in the public interest, that decision-makers can be made to take responsibility for their actions and that in the event of bad practice there can be consequences. And Participation is taken to mean the ability of citizens not only to observe and respond more fully to what is being done in their name but actively to influence, shape and become involved in the ‘doing’.