Meeting notes 21st December 2012

Planning meeting between civil society network coordinators and Cabinet Office Transparency Team | 20 December

by Tim Hughes

Tim is coordinator of the UK Open Government Network.

On 20 December 2012, Sophia Oliver and Ilaria Miller (Cabinet Office Transparency Team), and Simon Burall and Tim Hughes (Involve, coordinators of the civil society network), met to plan the next steps of the joint development of the UK’s open government National Action Plan.

Developing the interim National Action Plan

Our discussion primarily focused on two things:

  1. The timeline for getting from where we are now to publication of the interim National Action Plan (NAP), including milestones
  2. How to move the text from where it is now, to the final submission to ministers

The process

We agreed that Sophia and Ilaria will create a template for what the NAP should look like, engaging with civil society organisations and then submitting for ministerial agreement. The template will include at least one fully worked up area – perhaps fictitious or on an area where there’s consensus – to give an idea of tone, language, detail. It will be shared before 17January for comment at brown bag meeting and online and then submitted to ministers.

Nick Hurd will be taking part in the OGP regional event in Chile on 10 January and will speak about the developments of the UK Action Plan. Being the Minister responsible for civil society, it is likely that he may want to become more involved with this aspect of the OGP. Sophia and Ilaria are also going to explore the potential for someone from civil society to come to this briefing, and will be looking to identify someone from an organisation that has demonstrated a commitment to the wider OGP process including coming to meetings and potentially funding.

We agreed that we should maintain the current schedule of brown bag lunches for thematic discussion with Whitehall officials. We’ll run other sessions alongside and during in-between weeks to develop drafting and to cover process issues.

We discussed what sessions we need and what questions we need to answer by end Jan:

  • Who are we (i.e. civil society)? And what statements can we make and on behalf of whom?
  • What’s the tone of the narrative – honest, open, parameterising where we’ve made good progress together, recognising where we’ve left issues out of scope?
  • Who/which organisations will take responsibility for each section of plan? (annotated plan and suggestions by 17th)
  • What is role description for each ‘owner’ (by 10th Jan)?

The timeline

  • 10 January – NAP priority development session: Anti-corruption
  • 17 January – Discussion of process and template, and plan is divided and assigned to individuals to lead working groups. Process of shared advice to ministers is clarified. This will happen online and at the 17 January brown bag lunch.
  • 24 January – NAP priority development session: Moving forward the global agenda on openness and transparency
  • 31 January – Discussion on general narrative of the NAP. Separate discussion of civil society network on: “Who are we?”
  • 7 February – Developing milestones for progress of working groups throughout February
  • 14 February – NAP working groups session (online and BBL)
  • 21 February – NAP working groups session (online and BBL)
  • 28 February – NAP working groups session (online and BBL)
  • 14 March – Interim plan drafted. Big group meeting to look at and discuss the plan that has emerged. Draft is submitted for ministerial approval.
  • April – Interim plan published and OGP meeting.
  • 31st October to 1st November (tentative) – OGP Annual Meeting

New Director of Transparency and Open Data

Paul Maltby has recently been appointed as the new Director of Transparency and Open Data in the Cabinet Office. We agreed that, if possible, a meeting would be set up for him to meet with civil society stakeholders at end January/early February.

Making meetings more open

We agreed that:

  • We need to find ways to open up the process more and respond to people’s concerns.
  • We should try to find a way to have a live chat, or Skype call.
  • As we think about the plan ahead we should identify a theme that we could ask the Guardian Public Leaders Forum if we could run a chat on.
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