News 4th May 2021

Funding announcement: Open Government – Creating Local Action Hubs

by Connor McLean

Written by Lucy Keown, NI Open Government Network Co-ordinator

We are pleased to announce that the Northern Ireland Open Government Network (NIOGN) has received a grant from The National Lottery Community Fund’s Great Ideas Fund, which has been made possible thanks to National Lottery players.

Our project, ‘Open Government – Creating Local Action Hubs’, will be run over 18 months from March 2021 – September 2022. The purpose of the project is to apply open government approaches as a practical lens that can add value to local campaigns on issues important to citizens across Northern Ireland. It is also an opportunity for people and groups across NI to learn more about the Open Government Network, and to help grow its scope and influence by becoming a member.

We believe that by matching the priorities of local activists and community groups with the methods and connections of the NI Open Government Network, as well as the wider Open Government Partnership (OGP) community, we can boost the health and effectiveness of local democracy by breaking down barriers to transparency, accountability and participation. In doing so, we will also work closely with representatives of local government and public agencies to enable new approaches to be developed collaboratively and ideally adopted for the longer-term.

Through the project, NIOGN will host a series of workshops right across Northern Ireland to promote the network, attract new members and identify local open government issues. An example of an open government issue could be a community group trying to scrutinise expenditure of the local council in their community, but being unable to access the necessary information in an easily understandable format. Based on this engagement, we will identify two existing campaigns relating to an issue or issues of public concern where progress is being hindered by a lack of open government. We will then support the activists and groups involved in those campaigns, as well as government representatives, to use open government methods and approaches in seeking to achieve positive outcomes for local people.

About NIOGN:

The Northern Ireland Open Government Network is an alliance of civic society representatives lobbying for more open, participatory and accountable government in NI. The network is linked to the Open Government Partnership. For enquiries or to get involved in the project, please contact us at lucy@opengovni.org.

About OGP:

In 2011, government leaders and civil society advocates came together to create a unique partnership—one that combines these powerful forces to promote accountable, responsive and inclusive governance.

Seventy-eight countries and a growing number of local governments—representing more than two billion people—along with thousands of civil society organizations are members of the Open Government Partnership (OGP).