Yesterday (12 May 2016) saw the launch of the UK’s 2016-18 open government action plan at the Prime Minister’s Anti-Corruption Summit. The plan is the product of 18 months of work by the UK Open Government Network, coordinated by Involve, and 12 months of collaboration with government to identify, develop and agree commitments.
Responding to the plan’s launch, OGN steering committee members, including Involve’s Simon Burall and Tim Hughes, stated:
“We welcome the progress made on a number of the OGN’s priorities in this National Action Plan, and particularly endorse the progress on open contracting, beneficial ownership transparency and parliamentary openness. We trust that the shift to a rolling action plan will enable us to add commitments and milestones to continue to increase the ambition and comprehensiveness of the plan over the next two years. There are a number of areas of open government that are important to the OGN that are not included in the plan. These include open budgeting, lobbying transparency and transparency of surveillance. We will continue to push the government to make reforms in these areas.
We commend the collaborative approach taken to develop this action plan, and particularly welcome the partnership with civil society, devolved governments and parliaments. This approach, although challenging at times, has resulted in a stronger set of commitments and will help to drive progress across the UK’s nations.”
The plan already contains some important and ambitious commitments, but it is just the start. Over the course of the next two years, existing commitments will be extended and new commitments added, including from the devolved nations and UK parliaments.
Or see a summary of commitments below.
Summary of commitments
|Commitment number and title||Commitment summary||Lead implementing organisation(s)||Other actors involved – government||Other actors involved – CSOs, private sector, working groups, multilaterals etc|
|1. Beneficial ownership||We will establish a public register of company beneficial ownership information for foreign companies who already own or buy property in the UK, or who bid on UK central government contracts.||Department for Business, Innovation and Skills||Cabinet Office||mySociety, Natural Resource Governance Institute, ONE, Publish What You Pay UK, The Open Data Institute, Transparency International UK|
|2. Natural resource transparency||We will work with others to enhance company disclosure regarding payments to government for the sale of oil, gas and minerals, complementing our commitment to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and implementation of EUDirectives, and explore the scope for a common global reporting standard.||Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Department of Energy and Climate Change, HM Treasury, Financial Conduct Authority and Department for International Development||N/A||Global Witness, Natural Resource Governance Institute, ONE, Oxfam, Publish What You Pay|
|3. Anti-Corruption Strategy||To develop, in consultation with civil society, and publish a new Anti-Corruption Strategy, ensuring accountability to Parliament on progress of implementation.||Cabinet Office and Home Office||All government departments||Bond Anti-Corruption Group (ARTICLE 19, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Corruption Watch, Global Witness, Integrity Action, ONE, Public Concern at Work, The Corner House, Transparency International UK), Campaign for Freedom of Information, International Budget Partnership, mySociety, Natural Resource Governance Institute, Publish What You Pay UK|
|4. Anti-Corruption Innovation Hub||We will incubate an Anti-Corruption Innovation Hub to connect social innovators, technology experts and data scientists with law enforcement, business and civil society to collaborate on innovative approaches to anti-corruption.||Cabinet Office (Government Digital Service)||Department for International Development, Foreign and Commonwealth Office||Other governments (Switzerland, Indonesia, Spain, Georgia, UAE, Australia, Norway and France), The Omidyar Network, Thomson Reuters, Transparency International UK, Vodafone|
|5. Open contracting||To implement the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) in the Crown Commercial Service’s operations by October 2016; we will also begin applying this approach to major infrastructure projects, starting with High Speed Two, and rolling out OCDS across government thereafter.||Crown Commercial Service||All government departments||ARTICLE 19, CAFOD, Campaign for Freedom of Information, NCVO, Open Contracting Partnership, The Open Data Institute|
|6. Grants data||Government plans to collect more granular data on grant making. This will be in line with the 360 Giving Standard. In addition, the Grants Efficiency Programme in the Cabinet Office will publish more granular level data on Government Grants Expenditure at a scheme and award level. The quantity and type of data provided publicly will be determined following consultation and agreement with the data providers.||Cabinet Office||All grant giving government departments||360Giving, NCVO, The Open Data Institute|
|7. Elections data||Working with interested parties from government, Parliament and civil society, we will develop a common data standard for reporting election results in the UK faster and more efficiently, and develop a plan to support electoral administrators to voluntarily adopt the standard.||Local Government Association||Department for Communities and Local Government, House of Commons||Democracy Club, Democratic Audit, Democratise, LGiU, mySociety, The Open Data Institute|
|8. Enhanced transparency requirements and revised Freedom of Information Act Code of Practice||To increase transparency and improve the operation of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act in the public interest.||Cabinet Office||All government departments||360Giving, ARTICLE 19, Campaign for Freedom of Information, mySociety, The Open Data Institute, Transparency International UK|
|9. Identifying and publishing core data assets||We will create a high quality national information infrastructure, making government data more secure and easier to find, store and access.||Cabinet Office (Government Digital Service)||All government departments||mySociety, The Open Data Institute|
|10. Involving data users in shaping the future of open data||We will ensure government’s work to modernise and improve the management, use and availability of data assets is informed by active and wide-ranging collaboration with current and potential data users.||Cabinet Office (Government Digital Service)||All government departments||mySociety, The Open Data Institute|
|11. Better use of data assets||We will encourage and support data-driven techniques in policy and service delivery across government departments and encourage the better use of open data in the economy and civil society.||Cabinet Office (Government Digital Service) and Office for National Statistics||All government departments||Democratise, mySociety, The Open Data institute|
|12. GOV.UK||Assess opportunities for digital consultation tools, rebuild navigation to bring guidance and policy together by topic, provide APIs for government content and provide a full version history of every published page.||Cabinet Office (Government Digital Service)||All government departments||Democratic Society, Involve, Natural Resource Governance Institute, The Open Data Institute|
|13. Ongoing collaborative approach to open government reform||Identify, develop and implement robust and ambitious open government commitments on an ongoing basis through collaboration with partners in governments, parliaments and civil society across the UK.||Cabinet Office and Involve||UK government departments and UK Parliament, in consultation with colleagues in Northern Ireland Executive, Scottish Government and Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Assembly, Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly||UK Open Government Network, NCVO|