1st Irish OGP Action Plan – 1st meeting between civil society and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

On Thursday, 6th Feb. 2014, representatives of three civil society organisations, citizens and the Open Knowledge Foundation Ireland met with William Beausang, Head of Government Reform Unit and three of his colleagues from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to further develop Ireland’s plan for open government. The meeting took place in the government rooms in 15, Merrion Street 11.30am – 1pm

Members of the Open Knowledge Foundation Ireland, ActiveCitizen, Digital Rights Ireland, An Taisce, TASC/TI Ireland and one unaffiliated citizen have met with DPER and will take part in a series of working group meetings with representatives DPER to co-create Ireland’s 1st OGP Action Plan over the next 3 months.

During the 1st meeting of the members of the working group set out the process of how DPER is going to work together with the civil society group and vice versa and created a list of actionable next steps to agree on the commitments the government should make in the 1st Irish OGP Action Plan. The list is below and has kindly been provided by Evelyn from the government Reform Unit.

In 2013 the government awarded a 12 week contract to TI Ireland to lead a set of public consultation meetings which produced the a report outlining 62 requested commitments + 10 separate submissions. Those were categorised to address the four core principles of open government as recommended by the Open Government Partnership: transparency, citizen participation, accountability, and technology and innovation. But in an initial meeting in October 2013 DPER concluded that the result was not focussed enough and commitments now needed to be prioritized. From experience good OGP Action Plans contain 8-10 actionable and achievable commitments and the aim of the working group is to now co-create such a sound OGP Action Plan.

At the meeting Denis Parfenov, founder of ActiveCitizen and  Ambassador of The Open Knowledge Foundation Ireland reiterated that involving the wider civil society in the development of the national Action Plan is a critical step in improving the dialogue between citizens, civil society and government. This in turn is one of the primary aims of OGP and is an important enabler for a more open government and citizen participation in policy making. With regards to the traditional way of public consultations Denis dittoed that we have a great opportunity to do things differently this time by engaging the public and advertising widely, have an open and transparent process of co-creating Ireland’s first OGP Action Plan and allow for unorganised participation through available online tools.