The Government would participate in the global initiative ‘Open Government Partnership’ (OGP) and invite you to make a submission setting out concrete proposals as to what should be contained in Ireland’s first National Action Plan in this regard.
The OGP is a multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. The OGP commitments will be structured around a set of five “grand challenges” that governments face. In year one, countries will choose at least one of these grand challenges and develop concrete commitments around open government to address it. Countries are welcome and encouraged to tackle more than one challenge in year one.
The five OGP grand challenges are:
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
While the nature of concrete commitments under any grand challenge area should be flexible and allow for each country’s unique circumstances, all OGP commitments should reflect four core open government principles.
1. Transparency: information on government activities and decisions is open, comprehensive, timely, freely available to the public and meets basic open data standards (e.g. raw data, machine readability)
2. Citizen Participation: governments seek to mobilize citizens to engage in public debate, provide input, and make contributions that lead to more responsive, innovative and effective governance.
3. Accountability: there are rules, regulations and mechanisms in place that call upon government actors to justify their actions, act upon criticisms or requirements made of them, and accept responsibility for failure to perform with respect to laws or commitments.
4. Technology and Innovation: governments embrace the importance of providing citizens with open access to technology, the role of new technologies in driving innovation, and the importance of increasing the capacity of citizens to use technology.
Countries may focus their commitments at the national, local and/or sub-national level—wherever they believe their open government efforts will have the greatest impact. Recognising that achieving open government commitments often involves a multi-year process, governments should attach timeframes and benchmarks to their commitments that indicate what will be accomplished in year one and beyond, wherever possible. Commitments should be SMART therefore – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timebound.
Preliminary work is now underway in order to develop Ireland’s draft OGP national action plan and as part of the process, it is important that we obtain the views of a broad spectrum of stakeholders including members of the public, civil society, Government Departments, local authorities, business interests and trade unions. This is your opportunity to say what you think belonging to the Open Government Partnership should mean in Ireland and your proposals will help formulate a cohesive action plan over a two year period addressing concrete commitments under a grand challenge as described above.
Transparency International Ireland was appointed on behalf of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to coordinate and administer a consultative process with civil society and citizens on OGP and will produce a report on society’s proposals for concrete commitments for inclusion in the OGP National Action Plan. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will be considering this report together with the views of other stakeholders as described above.
• Submissions may be made by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform by email to email@example.com
• Submissions may also be posted to the postal address set out at www.ogpireland.ie/your-voice/ or to Conor McCann, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, 7-9 Merrion Row, Dublin 2.
In addition to submissions, people may also contribute to working group documents or join the discussion forum led by Transparency International Ireland. The first of three public meetings in this regard took place on July 10, at the Wood Quay Venue beside Dublin City Council offices by the Liffey in Dublin 8. A follow- up meeting will be held in the same venue on August 8, with a third scheduled for September 5. In between these sessions, you are encouraged to take part online as part of four working groups. To sign up to the next public meetings and to contribute to working group documents or join the discussion forum, please visit www.ogpireland.ie/
Closing date: 5 September 2013