2016-18 Open Government Action Plan: November 2017 Commitment Progress Updates
Commitment 1: Beneficial ownership
The government has met the first milestone under this commitment by consulting, through a 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. This concluded in May 2017. The responses to the call for evidence are being analysed and we will publish a response in due course.
Commitment 2: Natural resource transparency
There has been good progress against milestones one and two. For milestone three, DFID introduced a new OECD-hosted international dialogue on transparency in commodity trading in June 2017. We will work up a programme with the OECD and Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) for a policy event hosted by OECD on commodity trading transparency in January 2018. We are in the process of agreeing the terms of reference. The UK will commence validation under the EITI Standard in July 2018.
Commitment 3: Anti-corruption strategy
The government is finalising a new Anti-Corruption Strategy which will be published in due course. The Joint Anti-Corruption Unit will be meeting with representatives of the BOND Group on 28 November 2017.
Commitment 4: Anti-Corruption Innovation Hub
The development of the Anti-Corruption Innovation Hub has been slower than expected due to the difficulty of contracting a consultant to support GDS on developing the Hub as set out according to the original terms of reference. Officials are working with new ministers and officials from across government on plans for the Hub.
Commitment 5: Open contracting
Crown Commercial Service (CCS) have made significant progress since the last update:
- Corporate identifiers for Buyers, based on system identifiers, implemented on all Contracts Finders notices (24/11/2017).
- Discovery commenced for upgrading to use UK registers list on GOV.UK.
- Corporate identifiers enabled for suppliers on Contracts Finder Award notices (24/11/2017) based on UK Companies House number and UK Charity registers.
- Supply chain notices for contractors to the public sector enabled (31/08/2017).
- Public commitment for central government to improving visibility of opportunities available to SMEs by requiring suppliers to advertise their subcontracting opportunities on Contracts Finder so SMEs can bid. (11/10/2017). (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/small-firms-benefitted-from-over-12-billion-of-government-spending)
Further assessment of latest implementation of Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) on Contracts Finder by the Open Contracting Partnership (OCDS Helpdesk) planned to include both technical and qualitative aspects.
Increases in all Contracts Finder usage stats:
- 76,466 visitors in October 2017. Over 800,000 calendar YTD
- 784,7171 page views in October 2017 (7.5m calendar YTD) the vast majority for search
- 32,794 registered supplier users, 63.3% are from organisations registered as SMEs
- Approximately 100,000 email alerts issues per week.
We had a successful workshop which showcased the use of Contracts Finder OCDS data with two public sector and two private sector use cases reviewed (15/11/2017). Central government dashboard (Contracts and Spend Insight Engine – CaSIE) released in Beta to commercial function in seven departments (27/10/2017) combining Contracts Finder award and spend data to improve commercial management. Data warehouse and visualisation tool prototyped for compliance using publicly available tools (Google) CCS working closely with OCDS Helpdesk (31/08/2017).
UK developed a template for Contracting 5 (Colombia, France, Mexico, UK and Ukraine) to complete providing a summary of their Open Contracting implementations. To be shared at next C5 meeting (30/11/2017). The common factors and unique characteristics of each implementation provide insights for other countries adopting Open Contracting.
First draft of mid-term review of UK Showcase and Learning project completed and shared with civil society stakeholders at the UK Open Contracting Steering Group (15/11/2017).
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
Working with the Grants Efficiency Function in the Cabinet office, all departments have made good progress in capturing data on the Government Grants Information System (GGIS), which currently contains information on over £100bn of government grants schemes for 16-17 financial year. This represents the most comprehensive picture of the government grants landscape.
Excellent progress has also been made in publishing the grants data first time from GGIS in line with the UK’s Open Government National Action Plan. Full scheme  level grants data for the 2015/16 and 16/17 financial years was published on 25 October 2017. Award level data for Ministry of Justice and Department for Transport was also released. By providing award level data in the standard format developed by 360Giving Standard, this more granular data can be compared with that of the other grant making organisations, therefore providing a richer picture of funding landscape.
Departments are now uploading grants data to the GGIS covering 2017/18 financial year. We are committed to providing more granular data on grant awards and we are working closely with departments including Arm’s Length Bodies to deliver this. An upward trajectory of the quality and volume of data input would be expected in next few months. Data for FY17/18 will be published by the autumn of 2018.
Commitment 7: Elections data
There has been slow but positive progress this since the last report. We have been consulting a third time for most of the year on GitHub and have engaged with the Government Standards Board to review and refine the emerging data standard.
The elections data standard has now been approved by the Government’s Standards Hub. The Local Government Association (LGA) and Cabinet Office will be working with Electoral Management Systems suppliers in the coming months to explore how new import and export processes can be added to commercial electoral systems.
Commitment 8: Freedom of information
The public consultation the draft FOI Code of Practice launched on 15 November and runs for twelve weeks. It can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/revised-freedom-of-information-code-of-practice. The Cabinet Office will write out shortly to key stakeholders, including members of OGP, inviting them to respond.
Commitment 9: Identifying and publishing core data assets
There are now 17 registers ‘ready to use’ including Government Domain, Government Service, and Government Organisation, with another 45 ‘in progress’, of which 10 are open for public feedback. These status descriptions replace the prior classifications of alpha and beta, in order to be more meaningful to users and more representative of the creation process. The registers product has entered private beta phase, with a trial service domain for testing iterations and validating approach before proceeding to assessment and public beta.
Commitment 10: Involving data users in shaping the future of open data
GDS staff attended the fifth Open Data Camp, which GDS also sponsored. It regularly attends semi-structured events at the ODI lunchtime lectures or Meet-ups (such as Open Data for Development) to interact with the community. On a regular basis it interacts with individual data requestors on data.gov.uk to help them find public sector open data. Officials are drafting an engagement plan for open data.
Commitment 11: Better use of data assets
We continue to make good progress, particularly around data sharing and raising the data literacy of non-specialists. On data sharing, our public consultation on Codes of Practice and Regulations under the Digital Economy Act 2017 has now concluded, with Parliamentary scrutiny to follow. We continue to develop data training for non-specialists, including ‘Art of the Possible’ workshops for leaders. A further cohort – the 9th to date – of analysts were trained through the data science accelerator.
Commitment 12: GOV.UK
While the first two milestones were already complete, we continue to invest in improving GOV.UK’s tagging, navigation, search and notification systems to help users find the content they need. These include new menu options and task lists to help users navigate complex tasks like ‘Learning to drive’.
We have completed our third milestone, providing a documented public API for government content. Users can take a feed of content and metadata from GOV.UK and the quality of data in our API has improved. We published our documentation in September with an open call for interest in using the API and mechanisms for support and user feedback which can help inform further development of our APIs.
As mentioned in our 6-month update, our discovery into providing a full version history of content uncovered confusion among users and publishers about how GOV.UK presents current and out-of-date content. We have prioritised work to address this problem in the current quarter and are on track to deliver a strategy for managing out-of-date content. At this point we will be able to decide how best to provide version history to users while improving their experience of finding content on GOV.UK.
Commitment 13: Ongoing collaborative approach to open government reform
The Cabinet Office and the Open Government Network have been working together to identify new commitments which could be added to the current National Action Plan, and the fourth National Action Plan (NAP). OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) have informed us that commitments added in the second year of the plan cannot be included in the IRM assessments. We will therefore look to include any proposed commitments into the fourth NAP.
 The grant data is collected at scheme and awards level where scheme is related to an overarching policy area and grant award is given out to meet the objectives of the grant scheme.