Minister Brendan Howlin TD, publishes Ireland’s first Open Government Partnership National Action Plan

Issued 23 July 2014

Mr Brendan Howlin, TD, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform today (23 July 2014) published Ireland’s first Open Government Partnership (OGP) National Action Plan. Publication of the plan was approved at this morning’s Government meeting.

Minister Howlin said:  

“I am delighted to be publishing the OGP National Action Plan today. The plan is the result of a significant and fruitful collaboration of officials and civil society representatives and a public consultation process. I will now submit the plan to the OGP Steering Committee to enable Ireland to progress its full membership of the Partnership along with other countries.”

The 26 commitments in Ireland’s National Action Plan span three core areas:

  • Promoting Open Data and Transparency
  • Building Citizen Participation
  • Strengthening Governance and Accountability to rebuild public trust in Government

The measures in the National Action Plan build on the foundations already laid in the area of political and democratic reform, in particular, on key commitments included in the Public Service Reform Plan, and provide a framework for the implementation of further reforms identified in the National Action Plan. 

The National Action Plan was first published in draft format and opened for public comment during the OGP Europe Conference, which was hosted by Ireland on 8 and 9 May 2014.

The Minister also said:

“The publication of our first OGP Action Plan, following on from yesterday’s launch of the national open data portal, Data.gov.ie, represents a significant step on our OGP journey, a journey towards greater transparency, greater accountability and greater accessibility.”

Ends.

 

Notes for Editor

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

National Action Plan

A total of 26 actions are included in the Action 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.

2.    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 the Aarhus Convention
  • holding referenda arising from the recommendations of the Constitutional Convention
  • measures to increase civic participation at local level
  • measures to increase participation of children and young people in decision-making
  • measures to provide better services for citizens

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.

3.    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.