Date: 11 Oct 2013

Opening up government

Open Government Partnership

By Tim Hughes

Tim is Open Government Programme Manager at Involve and coordinator of the UK Open Government Network - a coalition of active citizens and civil society organisations committed to making government work better for people through increased transparency, participation and accountability.

If you are involved in promoting any aspect of Open Government, such as transparency or participation, we encourage you to attend a meeting of the UK Open Government Partnership Civil Society Network.

When: 11 October, 10:00 to 16:00

Where: The Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Rd, EC1R London

Click the link to sign-up, or carry on reading to find out more: http://uk-opengov-civilsociety.eventbrite.com/

What is the Open Government Partnership?

This November the UK will take over as lead chair of the Open Government Partnership (OGP). The OGP is a global effort to make governments better by promoting transparency, empowering citizens, fighting corruption, and harnessing new technologies to strengthen governance. The initiative was launched in 2011 in New York by eight governments, including the UK. To become a member countries must endorse a high level Open Government Declaration and develop an OGP National Action Plan setting out concrete commitments to open government. So far the declaration has been endorsed by over fifty countries, 34 of which have developed their open government commitments.

What is the UK OGP Civil Society Network?

Civil society participation is integral to the OGP, which is jointly governed at an international level by both governments and civil society organisations. Involve is part of a loose civil society network engaging with the Open Government Partnership process. The network focuses on both the UK’s own open government commitments for domestic and foreign policy, and the role of the UK in providing international leadership on key open government topics.

Becoming lead chair of the OGP provides the UK with a unique opportunity to demonstrate its leadership on key open government topics. But for the most to be made of this opportunity, it will require strong support and pressure from civil society to build and maintain momentum and ambition.

What is the meeting?

On 11 October a meeting is taking place of the UK Open Government Partnership Civil Society Network. The purpose of the meeting is threefold; to:

  • Introduce the Open Government Partnership and provide an update on recent developments in the UK and beyond;
  • Build shared understanding of the OGP, and the particular issues UK-based civil society would like to see it address;
  • Put together a draft UK OGP Civil Society Network Strategy for the next 12 months.

If you are involved in promoting any aspect of open government (understood broadly as: increasing the availability of information on government activities; supporting civic participation; implementing high standards of professional integrity in government and increasing use of new technologies for openness and accountability) we encourage you to sign-up and attend via: http://uk-opengov-civilsociety.eventbrite.com/

If you would like any more information, please get in contact: tim@involve.org.uk

3 Responses to “Opening up government”

  1. October 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Hi Tim

    Thanks for sharing this, I hope the network meeting went well.

    I’m responding because I’m involved in a few things in Dudley which seem to fall in to your most helpful descriptions of aspects of open government. One project involves working with local groups to influence changes to how elected members work with communities (I’ve just come across the Involve and NCC document on deliberative public engagement, which is the sort of thing I’m aspiring to). Another is that I’m about to start delivering an active (critical) citizenship learning programme for women in Dudley, using the Take Part framework. We anticipate the programme including a visit to the Houses of Parliament and opportunities to meet MPs, as well as local decision-makers.

    I’d find it most helpful to know if there is anything in particular I could use, read about etc. which would enable me to bring in open government considerations, ideas and issues to either area of work. And/or if there is anyone you would suggest I could talk to with a view to inviting them to contribute to the work (e.g. meeting learners to explain what open government is etc.)

    I’d also love to be kept up to date on the work of the UK OGP Civil Society Network.

    Many thanks
    Lorna

    • Tim Hughes
      Tim Hughes
      October 19, 2012 at 6:37 pm

      Hi Lorna

      Thanks for your comment. One of the challenges we face over the coming months (and years) is to explore what open government means at the local level and demonstrate its relevance to people’s everyday lives. It’s great to hear that you’re already making those links to the work you’re doing. The Government is very keen to work with national level civil society organisations (which is great), but we’re going to be pushing for it to also engage with those working at a local level around what open government means and how it should be implemented.

      I’d encourage you – and anybody else who’s interested – to sign up to the civil society network mailing list here: http://www.opengovernment.org.uk/engage/ and to also have a look around the site for info on open government and the story of the Open Government Partnership so far.

      I’d also be very happy to talk to you about open government and perhaps contribute to your work in some way.

      Thanks again!
      Tim

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