National Action Plan 28th May 2019

2019-2021 UK National Action Plan for Open Government

Updated 12 June 2019

Ministerial foreword
Introduction
Summary of commitments
Commitment 1: Grants data
Commitment 2: Public participation
Commitment 3: Open policy making
Commitment 4: Open contracting data
Commitment 5: Natural resource transparency
Commitment 6: Innovation in democracy programme
Commitment 7: Effective knowledge sharing for sustainable OG policies and practices across public services in the UK
Commitment 8: Local transparency

Ministerial foreword

Margot James MP, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries

Margot James MP, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries
The UK remains committed to the principles of openness and transparency of government. This fourth National Action Plan for Open Government continues our push to increase accountability and visibility of public institutions and services.

The pace of technological innovation in recent years has given rise to a number of high profile cases that serve to underline the importance of the open government movement, and once again reinforce the need for government to strive to be as open and accountable as possible.

The National Action Plan is set against the backdrop of innovative technology being harnessed to erode public trust in state institutions, subverting and undermining democracy, and enabling the irresponsible use of personal information.

But where technology can be misused, there are also positive new opportunities to use technology to elevate the voice of citizens, forging new connections between individuals and the state. As government we must show the way forward, demonstrating how the use of technology in ethical ways can also be a force for good, empowering citizens to scrutinise the work of those they elect, and have a meaningful say in the development and delivery of public policy.

The Open Government Partnership allows us to demonstrate how technology can be used in a positive way, committing alongside other nations to provide new means for people to influence decisions being made on their behalf, create new forms of accountability for public institutions, and shine a light on corruption and fraud.

We are proud to be a founding member of this movement, and to demonstrate our dedication to the cause by once again signalling our intent through the publication of the fourth National Action Plan.

The National Action Plan has many ambitious commitments:

  • Opening up policy making to citizens
  • Transparency around publicly owned natural resources
  • Improvements to the quality and quantity of data we publish as a government to show accountability and drive improvements in the way we deliver public services through third party contractors

I would like to commend the collaboration between government and Civil Society in developing the proposals, the efforts of organisations to continuously push their government counterparts to be ever more ambitious, highlighting the areas that will have the most impact from a citizen perspective and helping to work through the details. The creation of the Action Plan would be a limited and fruitless exercise without the critical friendship of Civil Society organisations throughout its development.

Now that this National Action plan has been developed, we are eager to get on with its delivery, working with our partners in Civil Society to transform the relationship between citizen and state. We want to continue harnessing innovative technologies and approaches to give individuals ever greater agency in the decisions made on their behalf. The commitments of this plan continue the tradition of placing transparency and accountability at the heart of public policy making and service delivery, propelling the UK to be a fairer society, and its people to be ever more empowered.

The Rt Hon Margot James MP, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries

Introduction

The UK has a strong track record in open data. Since co-founding the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in 2011, the UK has led by example – increasing citizen participation in policy and decision making, adopting international open standards for publication, and making an ever greater number of datasets available to the public.

This unprecedented level of openness has created many benefits, from making government more accountable and transparent to improving the effectiveness of public services. It has also created the potential for new businesses to thrive. Through making our data available to the public, we have been able to fuel innovations that make life better and easier.

The fourth National Action Plan (NAP) builds on this momentum by making commitments to increase public participation in government and helping to deliver solutions that are truly transformative. It also acknowledges the need for the public sector to innovate, develop policies that meet the demands of a fast paced world, scale with the demands of public service users, and that can be tested and iterated as they are delivered.

The NAP recognises the need to deepen previous commitments and improve the quality of the data that has been released. The plan shines a light upon the full process of government procurement and spending and promotes transparency about who the government is doing business with.

The plan seeks to address the corruption and fiscal mismanagement in the international natural resources sector. Countries have achieved strong progress over the past 15 years through voluntary reporting and mandatory rules now in force in the UK, the EU, Canada and Norway. The plan commits to going further by enhancing company disclosure regarding payments to governments for the sale of publicly owned oil, gas and minerals, and to establish and implement a common global reporting standard.

At a time when citizens’ trust is being eroded by the influence of social media, it is important to allow for engagement and influence on a local and national basis at times outside of the general election cycle. The NAP looks to pursue new ways to involve citizens in decision-making, through participatory democracy and the piloting of Area Democracy Forums to empower individuals, complementing face-to-face participation with digital platforms to increase engagement and transparency.

We are moving in a new age where technology, such as artificial intelligence, is making all organisations more data-driven. As the UK moves rapidly towards a data-driven economy, we have a real opportunity to harness the potential of open data further. As such the fourth UK National Action Plan is a critical milestone in realising those benefits in government and the economy as a whole.

Summary of commitments

Commitment number and title Commitment summary Lead implementing organisation(s) Other actors involved – government Other actors involved – CSOs, private sector, working groups, multilaterals etc
1. Grants data Working with users across government, the Cabinet Office Grants Efficiency Function will increase the transparency of government grant funding for the 2018/19 and 2019/20 financial years. The Cabinet Office Grants Efficiency Function will continue to assist departments in ensuring that grant making across government is efficient and that funding is being used effectively. Cabinet Office Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) 360Giving
2. Public participation in digital and data policy development We commit to developing data and digital policy, including the Digital Charter and the National Data Strategy, in an inclusive and participatory manner. The policy documents will be informed by a robust ongoing dialogue with a diverse range of voices from business, third sector, civil society and data users, including through the UK Open Government Network and Open Government Partnership, to incorporate the views and concerns of the citizens. Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Cabinet Office, Government Digital Service Open Data Institute, Open Rights Group
3. Open policy making UK government’s Policy Lab will continue to develop resources to support Open Policy Making (OPM) for more informed and better designed policies with the human experience in mind. To implement this, Policy Lab will develop the OPM toolkit and work with stakeholders like the Policy Profession and departments to consider the levers these groups have over how policy is made; conduct user research with policymakers; increase the transparency and accessibility of evidence; and to make policy resources publicly available. Cabinet Office Policy Lab,Cabinet Office What works team, GDS Children’s Rights Alliance for England,Sense about Science
4. Open contracting data To improve compliance, coverage, and quality of publication to Contracts Finder so that all above threshold public contracts can be tracked from planning to final spending. Cabinet Office DCMS Open Contracting Partnership,UK Open Contracting Steering Group
5. Natural resource transparency To enhance company disclosure regarding payments to governments for the sale of publicly owned oil, gas, and minerals, and to help establish a common global reporting standard. This includes undertaking a scoping study to review what potential national action the UK could take; maintaining the commitment to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI); to implementation of the UK-transposed EU Directives for mandatory reporting by companies; and providing clarity for UK-listed extractive companies under the Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules. DFID DFID, BEIS, HM Treasury(HMT), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), Publish What You Pay UK (PWYP), Global Witness, Transparency International-UK, Oxfam GB and Open Contracting Partnership
6. Innovation in democracy programme To deliver a programme involving citizens in decision making in Local Authorities through piloting Area Democracy Forums to empower citizens to deliberate and make recommendations, leading to real impact on local policy development and delivery. The face-to-face participation will be complemented by digital platforms to increase engagement and transparency. DCMS, in partnership with the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) Democracy Support Contractor consortium delivering programme: Involve, The Democratic Society, MySociety and the RSA.
7. Effective knowledge sharing for sustainable OG policies and practices across public services in the UK Scotland will lead a programme of discussions to identify how best to support the spread of Open Government policy and practice across public services. This work will draw on the expertise from the OGP and each jurisdiction, and support the priorities in each place. The aim is to establish a process to share learning across the UK; to establish effective, collective governance for leading and spreading Open Government – through collaborative dialogue between governments, civil society and experts. Scottish Government, in partnership with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and OGP Scotland Network Representatives of all spheres of government in Devolved Administrations OGP Europe support unit, OGP Civil Society networks
8. Local transparency MHCLG will develop a package of policy proposals to help and encourage councils to publish all the information they can (i.e. not personal or sensitive data) as a matter of course. These proposals will be developed and tested in collaboration with the local government sector. MHCLG will engage with the sector through a series of visits, meetings and workshops aimed at understanding the barriers to and opportunities of greater local transparency. The subsequent proposals will drive further efficiency and innovation within the local government sector. Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Local Authorities

Commitment 1: Grants data

Objective

Working with users across government, the Cabinet Office Grants Efficiency Function will increase the transparency of government grant funding for the 2018/19 and 2019/20 financial years.

The Cabinet Office Grants Efficiency Function will continue to assist departments in ensuring that grant making across government is efficient and that funding is being used effectively.

DCMS will host a Ministerial event bringing together key sector partners to discuss how to collectively improve data infrastructure and open data publication to support the third sector.

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?

The government spends more than £113bn a year on grants. Traditionally, individual departments and teams have managed grants information internally. There was no central mechanism to collate data on grants and no reliable way of scrutinising government grants activity.

How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?

The Government Grants Information System (GGIS) enables information on grant schemes (programmes) and the associated awards to be captured and shared with other government departments in a simple, standardised, and scalable way. The insight obtained from the GGIS enables grant managers to improve the effectiveness of their grant making and ensure greater scrutiny by identifying areas of potential inefficiency or fraud throughout the grant making process.

The GGIS will reinforce our drive for efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency in how we do our business in government and will give us greater assurance of identifying and preventing fraud.

Publishing granular data in the 360Giving Standard makes the data more meaningful and useful, both for government and for external users, as it is possible to see and compare grants made by charitable trusts and foundations alongside government grants. This makes it easier to identify gaps and overlaps as well as areas of need, and to see changes in funding over time.

Lead implementing organisation

Cabinet Office

Timeline

September 2018 – Autumn 2019

OGP values

Access to information, Technology and innovation for openness and accountability

Other actors involved – government

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)

Other actors involved – CSOs, private sector, working groups, multilaterals etc

360Giving

Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfil the commitment New or ongoing Start date End date
Publish more granular and even better quality 17/18 financial year data, to 360Giving Standard in the Autumn of 2018. ongoing September 2018 November 2018 (complete)
DCMS Ministerial event with key sector partners – to discuss how to collectively improve data infrastructure, open data publication to support the third sector and ensure that the data is effectively used. New December 2018 December 2019
The 18/19 financial year granular data, in line with the 360Giving Standard will be published in the Autumn of 2019. Ongoing September 2018 Autumn 2019
DCMS and its Arm’s-length bodies will ensure all relevant grants data is uploaded on the Government Grants Information System at awards level including third party data from onward grantees, in line with 360Giving. Ongoing September 2018 November 2018 (complete)

Commitment 2: Public participation

Objective

To work with Civil Society, including through the Open Government Network, to develop the Digital Charter incorporating the views and concerns of the citizens. We will ensure to include under-represented groups in the process.

We will leverage the peer network of the Open Government Partnership to build international dialogue in support of the aims of the Charter.

We will ensure that principles of openness and citizen participation are at the core of the operation of the new Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, which will advise the government and regulators on the implications of new data-driven technologies, including AI.

We will also ensure that the Government’s National Data Strategy is developed in an inclusive and participatory manner and informed by a robust ongoing dialogue with a diverse range of voices from business, third sector, civil society and data users. In relation to the Government’s own use of data, we will maximise its use and value to build and support a strong data economy, while ensuring that we maintain the public trust.

We will undertake a review of the government open data, including the challenges and barriers to publishing in a machine-readable and structured format, and identifying datasets that could offer more value if improved. In order to address these issues and improve open data within the government overall, DCMS will develop a strategic approach for future action.

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?

Technological developments and data-driven innovations are causing fundamental changes to the way we live and work around the world.

Rather than just adapting to these changes, it is vital for the UK to become a frontrunner in introducing new technologies and setting regulatory norms for technological developments such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, and Blockchain. We must stimulate innovation and growth while ensuring that the new tools are harnessed to deliver maximum public good and leave no one behind.

Technology can act as an enabler for social good and community cohesion. For instance, communities are using social networks such as Facebook and WhatsApp to connect those in need to local support. Similarly, crowdfunding sites create a new fundraising route for charities and social enterprises. Digital platforms can also serve as a powerful tool for the under-represented groups to organise themselves and ensure their voices are heard.

However, new technologies also bring new risks and challenges. For instance, the Internet can be used to spread terrorist content or as a tool for abuse and bullying. It can undermine civil discourse, credible news, and intellectual property rights. Such trends are deeply concerning and can hinder the pursuit of Open Government reform due to their negative influence on the levels of public trust.

The Digital Charter is our response: a rolling programme of work to agree norms and rules for the online world and put them into practice. Through the Charter we aim to increase public confidence and trust in new technologies, and create the best possible basis on which the digital economy can thrive.

Due to the fast pace of technological change, it is essential to create flexible, open, inclusive structures for the citizens to engage in a dialogue with the government, civil society, academic experts, and businesses.

How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?

Because of the speed at which technology is developed and the cross-border nature of data-driven technologies, there is a need to develop new mechanisms for building an open dialogue and the principles of collaboration and inclusivity into the Government’s policy development and delivery approach.

This commitment will inform the Government’s Digital Charter and National Data Strategy by strengthening the mechanisms of participation and collaboration. We will continue to develop these policies in a collaborative and open way, making it as easy as possible for citizens and businesses to give us their views.

Lead implementing organisation

DCMS

Timeline

November 2018 – ongoing

OGP values

Civic participation, Public Accountability

Other actors involved – government

Cabinet Office, Government Digital Service

Other actors involved – CSOs, private sector, working groups, multilaterals etc

Open Data Institute, Open Rights Group

Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfil the commitment New or ongoing Start date End date
Ensure that principles of openness and civic participation are built into the operation of the new Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation. New November 2018 ongoing
Further develop and maintain an open dialogue with data users and civil society to support the development of the Government’s National Data Strategy. New September 2018 ongoing
Review of HMG’s Open Data publication, which will identify the key challenges and opportunities of publishing more in machine-readable, standard, openly licenced formats, and set out measures to address this. New April 2019 Autumn 2019

Commitment 3: Open policy making

Objective

To work with the UK government’s Policy Lab in continuing to develop resources to support Open Policy Making (OPM) for more informed and better designed policies with the human experience in mind.

Policy Lab will deliver at least four ‘demonstrator’ projects commissioned by departments which put citizens at the centre of policymaking and reach groups whose voices may otherwise not be heard. Learnings from the projects will be shared through the OPM toolkit, blogs, and reflective sessions with Civil Society groups.

Together, we will share ideas on integrating best practices into policymaking; consider the processes governments go through to consult people on policy; and codesign materials that are tailored to different types of open policymaking engagements. Policy Lab will continue working with departments to increase the transparency and accessibility of evidence and to make policy resources publicly available. GOV.UK team will work with the Civil Society and Policy Lab to improve using and sharing their data as openly as possible.

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?

Open Policy Making (OPM) is a way for the government to create and deliver policy that meets the demands of a fast-paced and increasingly digital world. It means that policy is more informed and better designed for both, the government and the people who use, or are impacted by, services. Open policymakers design around the human experience, enable co-design supported by evidence, and test policies as they develop them.

A core element of OPM is ensuring that evidence is used in a transparent and open manner. This enables policymakers to have a common understanding of people’s needs; for Civil Society, it helps understand the evidence base that has informed decision making. It also provides opportunity to see if there are gaps in the knowledge base and where further research might be commissioned. However, understanding the OPM theory differs from delivering it in practice. OPM is not fully embedded across the government yet, and we have not fully realised its potential.

It is vital that Open Policy Making is not an ‘add on’ to policymakers day to day work. It should be embedded across Government organisations – at all levels and at all points in the policymaking process. Policymakers need to be supported to develop, trial, and understand a range of different approaches.

Further, citizen and end-user engagement is a continuously developing field, with different tools and techniques advancing on an ongoing basis. The Government has great expertise to draw on. Meeting people’s needs has always been at the heart of GOV.UK’s mission. HMG can learn a lot about citizens’ needs and behaviours from their interactions with government online. This can help us to be more responsive to people, develop better services, and inform more effective policymaking.

How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?

Open policymaking is a means of civic participation. Citizen engagement, as part of that process, is a continuously developing field, with new evidence of benefits and limitations of different techniques in different settings emerging on an ongoing basis. There is no single correct model that should be adopted in any given scenario, but instead a range of possible approaches, the design of which needs to be adapted to the specific context of implementation as well as the user groups you are designing for.

It is, therefore, important that governments and civil society continue to explore the efficacy of different approaches to inclusive citizen engagement in different scenarios, but do so in an agile way that enables continued development of approaches, and encourages the sharing of best practice across both Whitehall and local government.

Lead implementing organisation

Cabinet Office

Timeline

March 2019 – Autumn 2021

OGP values

Civic participation, Access to information.

Other actors involved – government

Policy Lab, Cabinet Office What works team, Cabinet Office GDS

Other actors involved – CSOs, private sector, working groups, multilaterals etc

Children’s Rights Alliance for England, Sense about Science

Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfil the commitment New or ongoing Start date End date
Update the Open Policy Making Toolkit in collaboration with delivery partners and stakeholders Ongoing January 2019 July 2019
Deliver at least 4 Open Policy Making demonstrator projects (share learnings from 2018/19 in April and May of 2019/20, feeding into NAP governance) Ongoing September 2018 ongoing
Identify stakeholders and proactively engage to verify and publish outcomes of Open Policy Making impacts Ongoing September 2018 ongoing
Convene stakeholders to co-create new, and update existing, standards for Open Policy Making approaches based on mutually agreed best practice Ongoing January 2019 September 2019
Showcase Open Policy Making approaches and projects back to stakeholders through existing channels (blogs, toolkit, in-person presentations etc) Ongoing September 2018 ongoing

Commitment 4: Open contracting data

Objective

To improve compliance, coverage, and quality of publication to Contracts Finder so that all above threshold public contracts can be tracked from planning to final spending.

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?

Although there is increasing compliance with the requirement to publish contract opportunities and awards through the Contracts Finder platform, there remain data gaps and limitations that make it difficult for government, the private sector, and citizens to understand the full pattern of government procurement and spending, and to identify who the government is doing business with.

It remains difficult to answer questions such as:

● How many contracts does government hold with Firm X? And how close to completion are these?

● How many government tenders are being won by suppliers outside the United Kingdom?

● How do terms and values for waste management contracts vary across public authorities?

● How many contracts include a transparency clause supporting citizen oversight of delivery?

Building on existing foundations, a focus on better data should be able to answer these questions.

How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?

This commitment will drive continued developments of the Contracts Finder platform, and UK implementation of the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) as a tool for transparency, accountability and operational analytics.

Improving the use and validation of non-proprietary, unique, reusable organisation identifiers will help to provide a view of government business with specific organisations, and will help identify the geographic origin and beneficial ownership of those organisations.

Work on bringing subcontracting data into the Contracts Finder platform will provide a clearer view of the government supply chain, including the presence of SMEs, third-sector and mutual providers of services.

Improving compliance with policy requirements and guidance to publish contract documents will assist analysis of how contract terms affect the price and delivery of public services. The creation of additional OCDS compatible metadata fields in Contracts Finder to indicate specific types of contract terms (e.g. use of a transparency clause) will allow the consequences of outsourcing on citizens access to information to be monitored.

Working with the community to build analytics tools of Contracts Finder data will help government, private firms and citizens to use available data to be more informed about public procurement.

Work on contract registers and spend linkage will support a move towards a much more integrated public financial infrastructure, where citizens and government can fully ‘follow the money’.

Providing transparency and open contracting guidance to the parties in Social Impact Bonds to help improve this public contracting mechanism.

Lead implementing organisation

Cabinet Office

Timeline

September 2018 – April 2021

OGP values

Access to information, Public Accountability

Other actors involved – government

DCMS, Department for International Development

Other actors involved – CSOs, private sector, working groups, multilaterals etc

Open Contracting Partnership, UK Open Contracting Steering Group

Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfil the commitment New or ongoing Start date End date
Agree joint methodology with civil society for measuring tender and award publication New April 2019 September 2019
Achieve 80% of above threshold tenders and awards on Contracts Finder Ongoing December 2019 October 2020
Achieve 90% of above threshold tenders and awards on Contracts Finder Ongoing October 2020 April 2021
Report regularly on publication of contract documents, and extent of redactions. Ongoing January 2020 Quarterly until April 2021
Suppliers on larger central government contracts will have to advertise subcontracting opportunities via the Contracts Finder website. ongoing ongoing ongoing
Design and introduce fields for reporting on the use of model contract transparency clauses New April 2020 December 2020
Design and pilot features to maintain a contracts register and implementation progress information, through Contracts Finder, supporting coverage from planning -> implementation. New April 2020 March 2021
Publish buyer and supplier organisation identifiers for 90% of domestic awards, and all awards over £1m New April 2020 March 2021
Publisher supplier identifiers for 90% of international awards New April 2020 March 2021
Consult widely on the impact and implications of linking contracts and spend to identify opportunities for identifier exchange between procurement and financial systems New April 2020 December 2020
Four government agencies in DFID priority countries regularly publish data in line with the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) by June 2020, with assistance from Open Contracting Partnership (OCP). Ongoing April 2019 June 2020

Commitment 5: Natural resource transparency

Objective

To work with others to enhance company disclosure regarding payments to governments for the sale of publicly owned oil, gas and minerals and help to establish and implement a common global reporting standard.

● To continue leading an international dialogue on increased transparency around sales of publicly owned oil, gas and minerals.

● To undertake a scoping study to review what potential national action the UK could take to enhance company disclosure around the world regarding sales of publicly owned oil, gas and minerals. As part of this review, we will consider a form of cross-departmental guidelines on reporting these specific payments to governments.

● To maintain our commitment to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and to implementation of the UK-transposed EU Directives for mandatory reporting by companies.

● To provide clarity for UK-listed extractive companies, under the Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules; transparency disclosures are required to be in both open machine-readable data format and in human-readable format suitable for dissemination to as wide a public as possible.

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?

Corruption and fiscal mismanagement in the international natural resources (oil, gas and mining) sector have long been a major concern for governments, extractive companies, investors and civil society.

The UK and other countries have achieved good progress in promoting natural resource transparency and accountability over the last 15 years, through both voluntary reporting under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and mandatory reporting rules now in force in the UK, across the EU, in Canada and in Norway, and awaiting implementation in the United States.

However, significant gaps remain in the scope and coverage of extractive companies’ disclosures of payments to governments and in the clarity and accessibility of the disclosed data.

How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?

The largest payment stream missing from mandatory disclosure is payments to governments for the sale of publicly owned oil, gas and minerals (commodity trading), an area where corruption risk is acute.

Governments’ and state owned enterprises’ sales of the state’s production share in the extractive industries are huge, typically US$ billions per year, and vulnerable to large-scale abuse.

From 2011 to 2013, for example, the total value of sales by the national oil companies of Africa’s top ten oil producers was equal to 56% of their combined government revenues and more than ten times international aid to these countries.

At company level, total payments to governments for oil and gas by Swiss trader Trafigura amounted to US$21.2 billion in 2016, significantly more than the US$15.1 billion disclosed by Royal Dutch Shell, Europe’s largest oil company, as total payments for its oil and gas extraction around the world in the same year. Swiss-headquartered company Glencore voluntarily revealed it paid USD$12.6 billion to purchase crude oil from governments in 2017, almost five times more than its tax and royalty disclosures under the Transparency Directive. A further Swiss trader, Gunvor, has committed to make similar disclosures. No UK oil major has made a similar commitment, and while Swiss traders have revealed total payments above, they only disaggregate payments to the country level in EITI implementing countries, where the minority of their payments are made (Natural Resource Governance Institute figures).

Extractive company reporting under UK transparency rules currently suffers from several deficiencies that clarification of the disclosures’ content and format would ameliorate:

  • Non-inclusion by at least seven companies of their share of joint venture payments
  • Over-aggregation of projects by at least twelve companies
  • Non-identification of recipient government entities by at least 28 companies
  • Lack of volume data for, and over-aggregation of, in-kind payments by at least four companies

Failure of a number of UK-listed extractive companies to report under revised requirements for financial year 2017 in both open machine-readable data and human-readable format.

The commitments will build on progress to date by continuing efforts to explore, identify and (where practical and permissible) implement incremental enhancement in extractives transparency.

Lead implementing organisation

Department for International Development (DFID)

Timeline

September 2018 – August 2021

OGP values

Public Accountability, Access to information

Other actors involved – government

DFID, BEIS, HM Treasury, Financial Conduct Authority

Other actors involved – CSOs, private sector, working groups, multilaterals etc

Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), Publish What You Pay UK (PWYP), Global Witness, Transparency International-UK, Oxfam GB and Open Contracting Partnership

Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfil the commitment New or ongoing Start date End date
Continue to lead an international dialogue on increased transparency around sales of publicly owned oil, gas and minerals. Ongoing September 2018 July 2021
The UK will undertake a scoping study to review what potential national action we could take to enhance company disclosure around the world regarding sales of publicly owned oil, gas and minerals. As part of this review, we will consider a form of cross-departmental guidelines on reporting these specific payments to governments in this sector. New September 2018 Autumn 2019
Maintain our commitment to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and to implementation of the UK-transposed EU Directives for mandatory reporting by companies. Ongoing September 2018 July 2021
In light of the BEIS Post Implementation Review of the UK mandatory reporting regulations and the European Commission consultation in respect of the Accounting Directive chapter 10 (due end 2018), we will be open to working with stakeholders and delivery partners in exploring the scope for enhancing the effectiveness of reporting requirements. Ongoing September 2018 August 2020
We will clarify for UK-listed extractive companies, under the Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules, that transparency disclosures are required to be in both open machine-readable data format and in human-readable format suitable for dissemination to as wide a public as possible. Ongoing September 2018 December 2019

Commitment 6: Innovation in democracy programme

Objective

To deliver a programme to involve citizens in local decision making in Local Authorities through trialling innovative models of deliberative democracy, complemented by a digital engagement strategy to broaden reach and transparency.

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?

Between elections, the majority of UK citizens will experience very little influence in Government decision making at a local and national level.

We must continue to pursue new ways to involve citizens in Government decision making; stimulate dialogue and promote understanding of the impact of policymaking on everyday life. Both through promoting the benefits of such engagement, to citizens and Government officials and decision makers, and by sharing best practice and building skills and capability within Government.

How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?

People are most likely to engage where they see the everyday impact of the decisions that are made, and feel they can make a difference by being involved.

We will be supporting local authorities (LAs) to pilot ‘Area Democracy Forums’ to empower participants to deliberate and make recommendations on a decision that the LA has to make, leading to real impact on local policy development and delivery. The face-to-face participation will be complemented by digital platforms to increase engagement and transparency.

Lead implementing organisation

DCMS in partnership with the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG)

Timeline

Spring 2019 – Spring 2020

OGP values

Civic participation – Creating or improving opportunities or capabilities for the public to inform or influence decisions

Other actors involved – government

DCMS, MHCLG, 8-10 LAs participating in the pilots

Other actors involved – CSOs, private sector, working groups, multilaterals etc

Democracy Support Contractor consortium delivering programme: Involve, The Democratic Society, MySociety and the RSA, Innovation in Democracy Programme Advisory Group.

Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfil the commitment New or ongoing Start date End date
Appoint Democracy Support Contractor (following an open competition) Ongoing November 2018 Spring 2019
Appoint local authorities which will take part in programme (following an open competition) New December 2018 Spring 2019
Pilots delivered New Spring 2019 Summer 2020
Evaluation New Spring 2019 Summer 2020

Commitment 7: Effective knowledge sharing for sustainable OG policies and practices across public services in the UK

Objective

Scotland will lead a programme of discussions over the next two years to identify how best to support the spread of Open Government policy and practice across public services.

The work plan for the two years and the groups taking it forward will be determined at an initial meeting of representatives from all spheres of government, civil society, citizens, and experts from across the UK in the spring of 2019.

The aim will be to build upon the collaborative work already carried out across all jurisdictions; establish a process to share learning across the UK; to establish effective, effective ways to lead and spread Open Government – through collaborative dialogue between governments, civil society and experts.

It will have a number of working groups to develop options for the models of leadership and guidance which can support Open Government becoming the way of working across public services. It will consider to what degree that this spread is dependent upon access to the benefits of direct membership of OGP.

The working groups may consider what mechanisms could support:

● improved collaborative working within and across the spheres of government, so that open government practices in transparency, accountability and participation are spread through public services

● the role of civil society to ensure there is a system which is sustainable, empowering, effective and recognises the roles of a vibrant civil society

● raising the profile of open government with citizens

● the relationship with OGP so we can all reap the benefits of international shared learning more equitably and effectively

It is proposed that this work will draw on the expertise from OGP and from the participating jurisdictions and support the priorities in each place. It could operate by meetings and remote discussions, with each group coming together at least four times over the next 2 years.

In addition, it is proposed that the output from the working groups comes together to a high level learning event in late spring 2020. This will be aimed at ensuring senior political (where possible), administrative, and civil society buy-in to support open government activity for the next National Action Plan cycle.

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?

The global public problem we are addressing is the growing lack of trust in governments, processes and power. The Open Government Partnership (OGP)’s potential contribution to democratic renewal, at home and across the world is much greater if all aspects of governance are supported to become more participative, transparent and accountable.

The OGP has reviewed the first cycle of Open Government subnational/local members of the ‘Pioneers’ programme, review report available in the papers for the International Steering Group. The review recognised the energy, innovation and new political leadership the Pioneers (including Scotland) brought from all levels of government. It also acknowledged that commitments owned by administrations delivering services are more likely to deliver direct improvement in people’s lives.

The report also acknowledged that it would be difficult for OGP to quickly expand as an organisation. The questions this raises resonate with the work Scotland led in the previous UK NAP 3. We recognised that if Open Government is to reach right through the system of public services it needs collaborative – not hierarchical – leadership; requires a learning environment, clear direction and support as well as an active civil society, able to engage and challenge governments at every level.

Further work will be undertaken by the OGP Global team during 2019 to identify the best way(s) to spread open practices and government-civil society engagement in all spheres of government. This commitment aims to support that work by considering the options to expand open government practices throughout public services across the UK.

The changing nature of democracy and varying levels of devolution in the United Kingdom make it an ideal testing ground for beginning to develop a robust framework for effective open government. The desired output would be one which enables OGP Action Plans to be developed in the places and at the right level that is most effective for the people they serve. This work could be supported collaboratively, within and across jurisdictions, with governments and civil society. The effective sharing of learning can help us all to tackle each jurisdiction’s most significant issues in ways which will support the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?

This commitment will provide the space for deliberation and discussion through specific working groups and summit discussions. This structure will offer the opportunity for all actors who chose to take part – be they political, official, civil society or public – to bring their expertise together, and propose options which support the spread of open government effectively.

For NAP3; Scotland led work to bring together a group of leaders from national governments in the UK and civil society as well as representatives of Local Authorities in Scotland to consider the process of shared learning on open government. The discussion was chaired by the Scottish Minister for Parliamentary Business, Joe FitzPatrick, and facilitated by the Head of Open Government at the OECD, Alessandro Bellantoni. This commitment will build on the enthusiasm at that meeting for improving how we share good practice across the UK. Scotland will lead a programme of discussions over the coming two years to identify how best to support the spread of Open Government policy and practice across public services.

Lead implementing organisation

Scottish Government, in partnership with Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and OGP Scotland Network

Timeline

Spring 2019 – Summer 2021

OGP values

Public Accountability, Civic participation

Other actors involved – government

Representatives of all spheres of government in Devolved Administrations.

Other actors involved – CSOs, private sector, working groups, multilaterals etc

OGP Europe support unit, OGP Civil Society networks

Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfil the commitment New or ongoing Start date End date
Hold working level discussions across the 4 nations to plan the programme of work-streams and outputs New Spring 2019 Summer 2019
Hold a workshop for each of the work streams to develop their thinking New Summer 2019, Autumn 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021 Spring 2021
Hold High level working group with representatives from each of the work-streams, OGP Support Unit and to include political leaders. To discuss and agree options for future sharing of learning across UK New Autumn 2020 Dec-20
Final meeting of working level group to put into action the outputs from the work-streams and the high-level discussions New Spring 2021 Aug-21

Commitment 8: Local transparency

Objective

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) will develop a package of policy proposals to help and encourage councils to publish all the information they can (i.e. not personal or sensitive data) as a matter of course. These proposals will be developed and tested in collaboration with the local government sector. MHCLG will engage with the sector through a series of visits, meetings and workshops aimed at understanding the barriers to and opportunities of greater local transparency. The subsequent proposals will drive further efficiency and innovation within the local government sector.

In December 2017 the Prime Minister wrote to Cabinet colleagues about her priorities for progressing the Government’s transparency agenda. In pursuit of these objectives, MHCLG will take forward the work to develop a package of policy proposals – in collaboration with the local government sector – to help and encourage councils to publish all the information they can.

These proposals will be developed in line with the Local Digital Declaration, a joint endeavour initiated by MHCLG, the Government Digital Service (GDS), and a collection of local authorities and sector bodies from across the UK and signed by over 160 LAs committed to working collaboratively to design user-centred public services fit for the internet age. Great work has already been done to transform our services using digital tools and technology, but we have an opportunity to do more by using Declaration principles.

The Declaration aims to co-create the conditions for the next generation of local public services in a more open and flexible market in which we can unlock the full potential for innovation. Proposals for driving greater local transparency will, therefore, be designed in accordance with Declaration principles.

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?

Since 2010, the UK has been at the forefront of opening up data. The public and press need data to hold public bodies to account and the UK government needs to do all it can to help ensure the highest standards of public life. Greater transparency can also improve public services, performance, and accountability. Public bodies need to deliver value for money, cut waste and inefficiency, and ensure every pound of taxpayers’ money is spent in the best possible way.

How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?

It will make it easier for the public to see how effective local government is, how they are performing and using resources. Greater transparency will further encourage dialogue between local authorities and citizens, increasing trust and leading to better feedback loops and co-creation of services.

Ensuring that data is in an open, standardised, structured, and usable format can also allow third parties and Government to re-use and create value from the data, driving innovation and economic growth.

Lead implementing organisation

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Timeline

Summer 2019 – Autumn 2021

OGP values

Transparency – disclosing data, improving the quality of the data that is captured and disclosed, and improving the accessibility of information to the public.

Other actors involved – government

Local Authorities

Other actors involved

CSOs, private sector, working groups, multilaterals etc

Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfil the commitment New or ongoing Start date End date
Develop a package of policy proposals to help and encourage councils to publish all the information they can (i.e. not personal or sensitive data) as a matter of course). New November 2019 Autumn 2021
Respond to the 2016 consultation on the Transparency Code summarising responses to the consultation as well as the findings of the 2018 survey. The consultation response will also set out MHCLG’s plan for developing a new policy on local transparency New November 2019 November 2019
Implement a local government data engagement programme to understand the barriers to and opportunities presented by open data, including workshops, site visits and presentations New November 2019 Autumn 2021
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