Open Government in Wales | Meeting notes
On 7th March, representatives from Welsh government and civil society met to discuss the Open Government Partnership in Wales, hosted by the Open Government Network.
The Open Government Partnership is a mechanism for bringing together reformers in civil society and government. The UK Government signed up to the Open Government Partnership in September 2011. Involve has been coordinating and developing the Open Government Civil Society Network since September 2012.
Up to now could only be nation states that signed up to OGP. However, last 6 months has seen a call for sub national pilots being developed – and those who will be leading this will be announced soon. In the meantime, all of the UK nations have agreed to co-develop the UK’s 2016-18 OGP National Action Plan.
The new action plan is 3 months away from being published, which with the devolved elections is a tight time frame for developing commitments. Hope today can be beginning of bringing together a civil society network in Wales and starting engagement between government and civil society. In Scotland, the referendum acted as driver. There is now a lot of focus from government on civic participation (e.g. involvement around children and young people in decision making).
Approaches to open government and the Open Government Partnership are quite different across the UK nations. Devolved civil society networks have already been set up in Northern Ireland and Scotland. Important to focus is what can be done over the next 2 years to build an open government movement, both in UK and in Wales itself. WVCA offered to help move civil society network in Wales forwards. Lots of people who would be keen to be involved if timescale hadn’t been so short for involvement.
Important to take long view in action plan development. Get the ball rolling on commitments in this action plan, with a view to developing and building commitments in future iterations.
Ideas for possible commitments to discuss included:
- Welsh Assembly scrutiny could improve
- Better engagement/greater focus around consultations
- Legislation – more open and greater invitation for comment
- Open Data platform – shared with other public sector bodies
- Proposals from the Local Government white paper
- Exploring making data more accessible.