Meeting notes 25th March 2015

Opening Up Government: Leeds Workshop | 24 March 2015 | Meeting note

by Josephine Suherman-Bailey

Josephine was a Policy Analyst at Involve. She worked on the Open Government Partnership and supported the coordination of the UK Open Government Partnership civil society network.

The UK Civil Society Open Government Network is working with civil society organisations across the UK to deliver a series of workshops to discuss and develop commitments for the next National Action Plan, and build the community of transparency, participation and accountability reformers in the UK. For more details on this workshop series and where we’re holding them, click here.

Details

St George’s Centre, Great George Street, Leeds, LS1 3BR
Tuesday, 24 March 2015 from 14:00 to 17:00

Purpose

  1. Discuss and develop ideas for open government reforms in Leeds, Yorkshire and the Humber and throughout the UK
  2. Build the community of transparency, participation and accountability reformers in the UK
  3. Share the work of the Open Government Partnership and UK Open Government Civil Society Network

What does an “open government” look like? What are the benefits?

Attendees were asked to discuss what an open government looks like and what the benefits are.

  • Increase trust
  • Increase inclusion
  • Co-creation processes
  • Iterative processes
  • Greater public awareness
  • Direct citizen control of some budgets
  • Right of recall if rules broken and if not doing a good job
  • Non party political job description
  • Public meetings to present and discuss government decisions
  • ‘Bell principles’ as code of conduct with citizen control
  • Public information access workers
  • Information that is out there needs to be ordered in a way to make it more accessible
  • Accessible and comprehensible information
  • Does government really want to be more open or accountable?
  • Place/ person to help you find your way to the information you are looking for
  • More public engagement in policy and decision-making

What would a good open government reform look like? Reviewing existing open government ideas

Attendees were asked to look at the current commitments in the Open Government Manifesto and rank them in priority order. Each table was given a subset of half of the existing ideas.

Priority
Level

Table 1

Table 2

Table 3

1

Transparency in government contracting Co-production of public services Implement the recommendations of the Digital Democracy Commission

2

Give the Public a say in the future of our UK
Clean up UK politics
Bring contractors under the FOI Act
Government should lead on budget participation by the end of 2015
Civil society dialogue to decide what Open Data and open modelling is needed
Transparency in government contracting

3

Meaningful engagement when consulting with stakeholders
Open data modelling for strategic policy areas
Make open government a truly ‘national’ policy
Bring contractors under the FOI Act
Give the public a say in the future of Our UK
Open data modelling for strategic policy areas
A robust register of lobbyists
Independent support for local government scrutiny
Government should use UK company numbers to refer to UK companies
Launch a ‘Transparency of Surveillance’ Program
Support the development of an open local government partnership

4

Transparency of financial services markets to support financial inclusion
A robust register of lobbyists
Civil society dialogue to decide what open data and open modelling is needed
Government should lead on budget participation by the end of 2015
Fight Corruption in the UK and Abroad
Government meeting and Youtube
Fight Corruption in the UK and Abroad
Clean up UK politics
Make open government a truly ‘national’ policy
A Data Sharing Disclosure Standard
Open access to UK land ownership & sales data / big data to help increase community, commons, food security, transparency and citizen participation
Data for Open Government
Bring clarity to charity campaigning regulation
Incentivize crowdfunding of Social Impact Bonds

5

Transparency of financial services markets to support financial inclusion
Embedding UK progress on open data

What open government reforms would you introduce?

Attendees were asked to develop their own ideas for open government reforms they would like to see introduced. These commitments will be added to the Open Government Manifesto.

[line]

A fair constitution writing process in England and the UK

A bottom up process of creating a constitution for England and the UK beginning in wards, but happening regionally in England parallel not nationally at once in England, with the final constitution agreed by mandated delegates from the regions.

This idea originated with Anzir, Megan, Matthew, Andrew and Paul

[line] Better accountability of elected representatives during their term of office

Produce clear job description for elected representatives (comparable to other jobs).

Citizen oversight committee in each constituency (randomly selected from electoral roll) which is non-compulsory

Elected representatives report to committee, whose role is to publicise and report on MPs to constituents

Link to right to recall (triggered by breach of terms and conditions or petition of 25% of constituents

[line]

Citizen Assembly on voting reform

Randomly select a Citizens Assembly of 650 citizens to undertake a year long process of recommending a set of electoral reforms to consider e.g. proportional representation, right of recall, re-open nominations.

The assembly must be transparent, well-publicised and open to dialogue with wider citizens, to buid trust.

Binding referendum on the recommendations.

Why is this important?

You can’t have accountability if you can’t express your views on your representatives with your vote

Because FPTP needs to be more open.

[line] Encouraging/ allowing people to participate in government digitally

  • Increase skills and digital inclusion for people of adult age
  • Encouraging use of IT equipment and internet
  • Making people feel comfortable using social media
  • Increase participation and interest in government through social media
  • All services to save data so no time/ data is wasted and sites to work on slow connections/ limited data and all platforms such as phones, tablets etc
  • Fast internet access should be universally available throughout the UK

Why is your idea important?

Ensure that government services are available to all and also to encourage participation

It offers citizens flexibility (time/ location etc) and encourages skills which they can use in other ways.

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