Ireland’s first Open Government Partnership National Action Plan for public comment

Issued 9 May 2014

Mr. Brendan Howlin, TD and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform today (8 May 2014) published Ireland’s first Open Government Partnership National Action Plan for public comment in advance of submission to Government for approval next month.

The Minister said:- 

“I am delighted to be publishing the draft Action Plan on the first day of the OGP Europe Regional Conference which I am hosting in Dublin Castle attended by representatives of over thirty countries.  The important actions included in the Plan are closely aligned with OGP objectives to increase the openness, transparency and accountability of public governance.

The 26 commitments in the Ireland’s draft National Action Plan focus on:-

  • Promoting Open Data and Transparency,
  • Building Citizen Participation and
  • Rebuilding public trust in Government

The Plan draws on recommendations for inclusion in Ireland’s Action Plan contained in the report of the public meetings held by civil society organisations in summer last year.  The draft Plan was developed over the course of recent months by a Joint Working Group of officials and representatives of civil society reporting to a broader Civil Society Forum.

The Plan is now being published to allow citizens and civil society organisations more generally submit their views to inform the Government’s final consideration of the Plan.  Once approved by Government the Plan will be submitted to the OGP to facilitate Ireland’s full participation in the OGP. 

The Minister said:-

OGP membership reaffirms Ireland’s commitment to governmental transparency and reform and provides an important platform to further Ireland’s current national reform efforts.

Notes for Editors

Public Consultation

It is planned to submit the final plan to the International OGP Steering Committee in June to enable Ireland to progress its membership along with other countries and begin implementation of the Plan over the second half of 2014.

Views and comments on the draft Plan should be submitted to ogpdublin2014@per.gov.ie by Friday 6 June. 

National Action Plan

A total of 26 actions are included in the draft Plan.  These include:

 

  1. Open Data
  • signing up to the G8 Open Data charter,
  • establishment of an Open Data Governance Board and Steering and Implementation Group to drive the project,
  • establishing an Open Data portal and
  • establishing best practice standards for Open Data. 

The implementation of the proposed Open Data Actions as set out in the Plan will enable the structures to be put in place to lead the strategic implementation of an Open Data strategy for Ireland for the economic and social benefit of all.  

 

  1. Citizen Participation

Actions include:

  • reviewing practice to develop revised principles/code for public engagement/consultation with citizens and civil society
  • undertaking public engagement early in the legislative process
  • building capacity of public bodies to provide access to information under Aarhus Convention
  • holding referenda arising from the recommendations of the Constitutional Convention
  • measures to increase civic participation at local level

The Plan highlights that citizen participation is central to democracy and the proposed actions are intended to encourage citizen participation, engagement and consultation further enabling valuable contributions to be made to decision-making, policy formulation, and improving public service delivery. 

 

  1. Strengthening governance and accountability

A number of initiatives are planned to be progressed including

  • ethics reform
  • implementation of  code of practice for Freedom of Information
  • reform of FOI
  • regulation of lobbying
  • raising awareness of whistleblower duties and responsibilities.

These actions will help increase the effectiveness of governance and accountability arrangements within the civil service and between the civil service, the political level and citizens generally./