Published on October 31, 2013

How do you know if there’s trust in the OGP process?

By Simon Burall

Simon Burall is a Senior Associate of Involve. He has extensive experience in the fields of democratic reform, governance, public participation, stakeholder engagement, and accountability and transparency.

I was talking to Maurice Frankel from the Campaign for Freedom of Information at the Open Government Partnership CSO day yesterday. He had an interesting reflection on the UK National Action Plan for Open Government that I think is worth celebrating.

The draft National Action Plan has been shared with members of the CSO network at different stages, including at points when it included draft commitments which some in the network vigourously disagreed with. The final draft of the plan has been with around 40 of the most engaged members of the network for the last two weeks.

Maurice’s reflection was that it was amazing that nothing has leaked. One one level this is even more amazing given that many of the CSOs are more used to working in a campaign mode against government.

I think this lack of leaking is a testiment to the trust that officials in the Cabinet Office and members of the network have spent a long time developing. I think both sides see the process as one that does add value, but that this depends on a mutually respectful and trusting relationship.

I hope this trust provides us with a solid foundation for the next phase of the action plan process – holding the government to account for the implementation of its commitments.

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