Open Gov Partnership latest: Leading the race to the top

The latest from Sophie Oliver at the Cabinet Office is on the OGP UK blog:

Firstly, we need to get policy proposals sent up to the relevant ministers for approval before April. I don’t want to undermine the open methods of working we’ve employed so far by appearing to close down as we get into standard procedures for ministerial advice. We certainly need to make sure that all evidence is shared and that both officials and CSOs are putting up policy advice – but we can’t compromise the safe space for ministers to discuss policy with officials. I hope that officials and ministers will be as open as possible, and also that CSOs can be realistic in their expectations of how transparent this bit of the decision making process can be.

Secondly, and it sounds obvious because it is, open government is massive. It’s massive in its reach, with links to practically every policy area you can name, including FOI, open data, public sector accountability, public services delivery, social and economic growth, anti-corruption. And it’s massive in how we actually live it as we work on this plan – in terms of who we talk to, how we reach people in different parts of the country or without internet access, whether it’s also our role to help reduce barriers to participation. So we have a tough job on our hands over the next month or two in terms of setting boundaries both for the policy remit of the plan, and for how we define the process so that it’s sufficiently open and sufficiently pragmatic.

Having said that, we’ve made such great progress in the last three months – and I have to mention Tim Hughes here who is doing a brilliant job of keeping us organised – that I’m pretty confident that we can deal with these two issues and any others that arise. And of course, development of the UK plan isn’t a one-off, so we can also improve on what we do this time, next time. On that note, I’m always up for hearing from anyone that has ideas on what I or other officials could be doing differently to help this process work better – and it’s quite nice if you also tell us what we’re doing that’s working for you too!


Published by Anthony Zacharzewski

Anthony Zacharzewski was one of the founders of Demsoc in 2006. Before starting work for Demsoc in 2010, he was a Whitehall civil servant and a local government officer.