Minister Howlin welcomes positive mid-term assessment of Open Government Action Plan
Issued 3 February 2016
Open Government Partnership National Action Plan 2014 - 2016
Positive Independent Assessment of Progress on Implementation
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform welcomes positive mid-term assessment of Government’s implementation of Open Government National Action Plan 2014 – 2016
The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr. Brendan Howlin T.D., today (2nd February 2016) welcomed the publication of an independent mid-term report assessing Ireland’s progress in implementing the Open Government Partnership (OGP) National Action Plan 2014-2016.
Minister Howlin said:-
“I am pleased that the Government has received a positive assessment by the Independent Review Mechanism of the Open Government Partnership of progress on its implementation of the ambitious commitments in this Plan. In particular, the report found that of a total of 30 actions in the Plan, 23 have already been substantially advanced or fully completed at this mid-way point in the Plan’s implementation.”
The independent review is also positive in its assessment of the process of consultation undertaken during the development and implementation of individual actions in the Plan. The report notes that going forward, formalising permanent dialogue forums and more awareness-raising will further strengthen participation.
The Minister also said:
“I am particularly pleased that specific initiatives advanced by own Department on Regulation of Lobbying, Whistleblower Protection (i.e. the Protected Disclosures Act) and reform of the legal framework for Public Sector Standards have been positively assessed by the reviewer as being of transformative potential impact.”
Notes to Editor
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) National Action Plan 2014-2016 (NAP), which was developed jointly with civil society and citizen interests over a period of 14 months, was published in July 2014. It spans three core areas: promoting open data and transparency; building citizen participation; and strengthening governance and accountability to rebuild public trust in Government.
Membership of the OGP requires that government submit two annual Self-Assessment Reports assessing the government's performance in respect of the commitments and supporting actions in its NAP. The first Mid-term Self-Assessment Report was published at end October 2015. This was subject to anIndependent Reporting Mechanism, which has been carried out by Dr Raj Chari of Trinity College.
Open Data and Transparency
There has been substantial progress made in implementing the Open Data action which include the development of the portal (data.gov.ie), the Technical Framework, a roadmap and an evaluation framework. The Open Data Governance Board has now been established and the Public Bodies Working Group has been in operation for the last year. The Digital Strategy for Schools (a 5-year strategy) was published in early October and is being rolled out.
Building Citizen Participation
The actions under this heading relate to the promotion of greater participation in policy-making and service delivery. Among others, these include the conduct of a comprehensive review of public consultation policies and procedures, the introduction of a pre‐legislative scrutiny process by the Oireachtas in respect of proposed legislation, the delivery of training modules to build capacity in the provision of information under the Aarhus Convention, the holding of referenda arising from the recommendations of the Constitutional Convention, the rolling out of Public Participation networks (PPNs) across all Local Authority areas and the publication first National Participation Strategy on Children and Young People’s Participation in decision making 2015‐2020.
Strengthening Governance and Accountability
These actions are about ensuring adequate and effective arrangements for governance and accountability and increasing public integrity. They include the progressing of legislation to reform Freedom of Information, to regulate Lobbying, to protect Whistleblowers and to strengthen and simply the statutory frameworkfor ethics in public office.