#Openpolicy goes to Brussels

Yesterday I gave a talk to a group of staff at DG Connect in Brussels, as part of their Tuesday Conversations series, talking about Open Policy in the UK and projects such as NHS Citizen. Thanks to Prabhat Agarwal and Vessela Karloukovska for the invitation.

What I said

The slides I used are below.

I mentioned six different things in my talk that I said I’d pass on links to. They were (and thanks to Mark for noting them down!):

  1. The report Pathways through Participation, by our good friends at Involve, which is a great bit of work.
  2. The Commission’s own DCENT project, which we’re on the margins of and is exactly the sort of thing the EC should be funding.
  3. Dan McQuillan‘s writing about assemblages.
  4. The Technology Strategy Board project on natural language and data, which was called EVOKES.
  5. My own talk at the Open Data Institute about how you can use data in open policy making (slides here)
  6. And of course, the NHS Citizen project blog and webcast archive.


The EU bureaucracy may not have the best reputation in the British press, but I found the audience I was speaking to very appreciative, and very interested in the ideas and in the UK’s experience.

The UK, one said to me afterwards, is clearly ahead of the rest of Europe in thinking on open government, and there was definitely scope for a European network of forward-thinking organisations and individuals to try to push work forward and encourage the more conservative parts of the system. I got the sense that there was scope for the European institutions to put a few experiments out there, and take a few risks, once the election period is over and the new political leadership is in place.

In fact, and I’ve said this before elsewhere, it feels to me that the European level has the potential for the most interesting open policy and democratisation work in the coming years. This is partly because there is an understanding that things have to change, partly because of a refresh of political leadership coming along, and partly because there is just such an interesting challenge in managing open conversations in 28 countries and multiple languages. If there’s a way to do it, it’s a great opportunity to create networked democracy.

I hope the conversations will continue.


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.

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