2016-18 Open Government Action Plan: April 2018 Commitment Progress Updates
Update of progress on 2016-18 Open Government Action Plan commitments prepared by the UK Government.
Commitment 1: Beneficial ownership
The Government has published a response to last year’s call for evidence, on proposals for a new beneficial ownership register of overseas companies which own or buy UK property or participate in UK government procurement.
Officials are currently developing the draft legislation to establish this register. In January this year, the Government confirmed it intends to publish the draft Bill this summer, and to have the register operational in 2021.
Commitment 2: Natural resource transparency
DfID continued work to stimulate international dialogue with a successful event hosted by OECD on commodity trading transparency in January 2018. The next commodity trading dialogue is scheduled for June 2018 in Paris, for which DfID is preparing a UK scoping study on potential national approaches to the issue. The UK will commence validation under the EITI Standard in July 2018.
Commitment 3: Anti-corruption strategy
The Anti Corruption Strategy was published on 11 December 2017. JACU are now working with departments to implement this and have developed a monitoring and evaluation framework, which was signed off at the cross Whitehall Directors meeting on Anti Corruption this month.
Commitment 4: Anti-Corruption Innovation Hub
The Anti Corruption Strategy makes a commitment to ‘review options to develop and promote innovative approaches to combat corruption and consider how to support this going forward’. JACU have contracted a consultant to do scoping work in furtherance of this commitment. The consultant will complete his work by end of March and then JACU will consider next steps.
Commitment 5: Open contracting
In addition to the enhancements made in the Autumn the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) will release an update in March to include corporate identifiers for local authority Buyer based on the UK registers list on GOV.UK.
CCS is work with central government departments to identify contractors to publish supply chain notices. Further announcements are planned in March on the implementation of the public commitment for central government to improving visibility of opportunities available to SMEs.
Assessment of latest implementation of Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) on Contracts Finder by the Open Contracting Partnership (OCDS Helpdesk) during 2018/19 will include both technical and qualitative aspects.
Contracts Finder usage continues to increase:
● 82,030 visitors in February 2018, up from 76,466 visitors in October 2017.
● 1,211,016 page views in February 2018 up from 784,7171 page views in October 2017
● 38,344 individual users (up from 32,794 in October 2017) from 25,149 organisations, 16,075 of these (63%) are SMEs.
● Circa 75,000 emails sent weekly in February. (Reduced emails due to search optimisation)
A joint ‘Contracting 5’ working group has been established by the members (Colombia, France, Mexico, and the Ukraine, and Argentina) to develop a work plan that includes a web site to share C5 experiences of implementing open contracting, setting out accession rules for countries wishing to join and promoting the work of the C5 at G20 events.
We continue to work closely with the Open Contracting Partnership, the focus for 2018 will be on sharing learning and engaging with a wider audience. Case studies, coordinated communications and a stakeholder event are planned for the first half of 2018.
Commitment 6: Grants data
Excellent progress has been made. On 25 October 2017, for the first time, we published data from the Government Grants Information System (GGIS), in line with the UK’s Open Government National Action Plan. This included full data at scheme level for the 2015/16 and 1206/17 financial years together with award level data for both the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Transport. Providing award level data in the standard format developed by 360Giving Standard means that the data can be compared with that of the other grant making organisations, thereby providing a richer picture of funding landscape.
Working with users across government, the Grants Efficiency Function is fully committed to increasing the transparency of government grant funding for the 2017-18 financial year. Departments are making considerable progress in uploading their award level data onto the GGIS and we are on track to publish even better quality data in the Autumn of 2018. The picture, in terms of the dataset to be published, will become clearer as we complete the data cleansing process.
Commitment 7: Elections data
Progress has continued steadily since the last report, following entry of the elections data standard into the H.M. Government catalogue of open data standards. The LGA and Cabinet Office have been focussing on engaging with Election Management System suppliers to integrate the standard into their systems. The remaining suppliers have quoted for the development costs that they will incur and have indicated they have no capacity to make progress until 2019. We will continue to remain in touch (with Cabinet Office support) to see if this can be given higher priority and if development funding can be identified.
Commitment 8: Freedom of Information
The public consultation on the draft FOI Code of Practice closed on 2 February 2018. The Cabinet Office is considering the responses and will be formally consulting with the Information Commissioner before publishing a revised version of the Code of Practice alongside the Government Response.
Commitment 9: Identifying and publishing core data assets
There are currently 34 registers which are ‘ready to use’ i.e. live (up from 17 in the last update) and there are 36 more which are in progress (down from 45). Of the 36 in progress registers, 10 are open for feedback. The number of government departments and agencies who have live or in progress registers is 22.
Work has continued on making finding, evaluating and downloading datasets on data.gov.uk simpler for users. A new frontend has been designed, tested with users, and scheduled to be launched by the end of March 2018. This will be given a distinct service name of “Find open data”. Where applicable the new service uses GOV.UK design patterns which have been tested for accessibility and ease of use.
Commitment 10: Involving data users in shaping the future of open data
GDS continues to engage with the Open Data community through meet ups and events such as GovCamp, regular engagement with CSOs such as the Open Data Institute, and by supporting individual data requestors through the data requests process on data.gov.uk.
We improved the publication guidance for transparency data published by government departments to make it easier to find and use, and the Prime Minister wrote an open letter to Cabinet urging them to make sure departments comply with the new requirements. We also took this opportunity to identify opportunities to improve the structure and quality of transparency data; for example improving the templates used to capture Ministerial Meetings data following recommendations from Transparency International.
We continue to engage with the Data Leaders Network to generate of new open data commitments and to scope the level of activity in Open Data work in departments.
The Data Ethics Framework – milestone 8 – is currently being updated. Version two of the framework is expected to launch in April 2018. This follows a concerted engagement process during autumn 2017 to inform the redraft. We held two workshops in partnership with the Royal Society attended by a cross section of experts from academia, industry, civil society and practitioners from the public sector. We also held a specific industry-focused roundtable with representatives from techUK.
Commitment 11: Better use of data assets
We have made good progress on data sharing and training non-specialists in the better use of data. We published the Government Response to last year’s consultation on the Digital Economy Act 2017 Part 5 Information Sharing Codes and Regulations. Following Parliamentary scrutiny these new data-sharing powers should come into force later this year. We have begun to pilot training and development opportunities on the better use of data (including data science) for non-specialists across government, reaching 700 civil servants to date. We have also delivered masterclasses on data literacy for senior civil servants with the Civil Service Leadership Academy. We will continue to iterate and scale this training in 2018/19 with the GDS Academy.
We continue to showcase best practice in data science through the Government Data Science Partnership, which held its second conference in March with over 150 analysts, data scientists and policy colleagues attending. We are also supporting the cross-government Data Advisory Board, which is overseeing a programme of data-enabled transformation. Chaired by the Chief Executive of the Civil Service, this Board acts as a senior forum for sharing ways of moving beyond advanced analytics into driving significant changes in how government works.
Commitment 12: GOV.UK
Three of the four milestones have been completed. We made recommendations for digital consultations, following our discovery in 2016. We have also made considerable improvements to tagging, navigation, search and notification systems on GOV.UK. Since the last update, we have released the first version of a site-wide taxonomy, which will mean that we can start applying new navigation patterns to the whole of GOV.UK. We have also launched an improved email notification system using GOV.UK Notify and further improved design patterns for navigation and step-by-step tasks.
Our discovery into providing full version history of pages on GOV.UK found that presenting past versions of content on GOV.UK was confusing to users and they found it hard to navigate through different versions of content and make sense of the information. Some users also expected to find past versions of pages through the National Archives and not on GOV.UK. We are therefore exploring alternative approaches to delivering version history.
During the period covered by the National Action Plan, we have worked closely with the National Archives to improve the way they crawl GOV.UK for the UK Government Web Archive. We have decided that enabling them to crawl GOV.UK more comprehensively will provide a better way for users to access past versions of GOV.UK pages. We are now working with them to find ways that they could use the API for content, delivered as part of the third milestone, to build up a version history of GOV.UK by crawling pages reactively as they change.
Commitment 13: Ongoing collaborative approach to open government reform
The Cabinet Office and Open Government Network have continued to work together, with a focus on the development process for the UK’s fourth National Action Plan.