As the UK takes up the rotating leadership of the international Open Government Partnership (OGP), the Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maude, has said the time has come for the organisation to focus on helping member states turn their transparency commitments into actions.
In its first year, the Partnership grew from the 8 founding states to 57 member governments, representing around 2 billion people, or a third of the world’s population. Of these 57 members, 46 have already published action plans detailing more than 300 commitments to open government, and the remainder are developing their plans. As part of its chairmanship, the UK will introduce a new mechanism for assessing members’ progress against their transparency commitments.
Setting out the UK’s vision for the Open Government Partnership in New York, Francis Maude said:
12 months ago, the UK was one of 8 national governments that founded the Open Government Partnership. Now, the organisation, which includes a third of the world’s population, is a powerful global movement for change through transparency.
Our predecessors as lead chairs, the US and Brazil, have steered us purposefully and energetically to this point. As co-chair alongside Indonesia, we will be focused on supporting members to deliver their transparency commitments, helping them turn their words into actions.
Transparency is all about greater accountability and that’s why we are putting in place a new Independent Reporting Mechanism which will see governments voluntarily subjecting themselves to the formal scrutiny of researchers drawn from civil society and supported by the media.
For the duration of its chairmanship, the UK will highlight the opportunities for prosperity and growth that open government and transparency can bring. Francis Maude said today:
Open data is the raw material of the 21st century, a resource for a new generation of entrepreneurs. Transparency drives prosperity and growth. It shines a light on underperformance and inefficiencies in public services and allows citizens and the media to hold governments to account.
Notes to editors
- The Open Government Partnership was formally launched in September 2011 by the 8 founding governments (United Kingdom, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, United States).
- The OGP is a multilateral initiative which aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. The UK’s drive for greater international transparency will help to promote and deliver the Golden Thread of development and support the UK’s joint leadership of the post Millennium Development Goals high-level panel and presidency of the G8 next year.
- The OGP co-Chairs provide strategic leadership to the initiative, convene the steering committee as necessary, facilitate proposals on relevant policy/governance issues, and conduct outreach on behalf of OGP with governments, civil society, the private sector, donors and the media.
- The UK will have the role of “senior” co-chair, alongside “junior” co-chair Indonesia, until September 2013, when it will step down. The UK’s vision for its year as lead chairman is available here.
- The UK is one of the most open and transparent governments in the world. As lead co-Chair of the OGP, the UK aims to drive forward the global transparency initiative. Since helping to found the OGP just one year ago with seven other governments, the UK has helped to grow the initiative to 57 nations.
- Over the last two years, the UK government has released key new data on health, education, justice and transport, publishing and updating over 8,000 datasets. Every department made specific new open data commitments as part of its business plan for the first time this year.
- Transparency is a key component of the UK Government’s public services reform agenda and of its programme of support for economic and social growth. Transparency commitments have been taken forward through 3 major policy announcements: the first 2 through prime ministerial letters to government departments in May 2010 and July 2011; with additional commitments announced as part of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, in November 2011. Find out about the Government’s Transparency programme. You can stay in touch with government activity on Transparency and Open Public Data at www.data.gov.uk, and through Twitter: @UKTransparency and @datagovuk; and @cabinetofficeuk and with the Open Government Partnership @opengovpart.