Last Meeting of the Joint OGP Working Group between 5 civil society group members and the D/PER Team

First things first:

  • Last Meeting of the Joint OGP Working Group between 5 civil society group members and the DPER Team. We were never in favour of these closed group meetings as the only way to communicate on drafting the OGP Action Plan. We raised wider consultation, online channels and more open channels of communication at every opportunity but those were dismissed. This is something we would like to see the Government do better on next time round.

Anyway, we attended all these meetings including the last one and here are the talking points we addressed with the comments and answers received by the Team in the Government Reform Unit.

Details about timeline for OGP Action Plan.

Open Data Section of OGP Action Plan (alternative version shared with DPER prior this meeting):

  • To achieve some successes early on our proposal is:

    • 1 day workshop led by DPER project manager with commitment owners – put in place a 6 month project plan to pilot OGP commitments

    • benefit is that you can start with a pilot phase straight after publishing the action plan & can work towards having an agile project plan

    • pilot the portal, pull in Insight, pilot open data training and pilot the change agenda. OKF can help deliver these parts and can help prepare such a project plan. The leanings from this pilot will be great inputs for the overall plan

    • amend commitment 1.5 in the open data piece to put in place a ‘project board’ with a DPER project manager rather than waiting until the capacities have been built for for an Implementation Group or a Governance Board

    • This pilot project board can then be reformed to include the strategy boards in time.

[This idea was largely dismissed] DPER’s reason: DPER is in consultation with Insight and awaiting there report. It’s a good idea, but they are in consultation with Insight and awaiting report from them (x 5 times). But they’ll take ‘something’ out of it into account….

Other points:

  • Communication between now and publishing draft & final? Who do we contact in case a question comes up or a timeline needs to be confirmed?

A: “Via email”, but they claim that they “don’t know” what is going to happen next. (It was mentioned that Claire is available till the end of May)

  • Will there be 4 weeks of public consultations – terms of this public consultation? May 7th – June 7th? how can people provide feedback? Recommending to publish all feedback from a possible consultation next to the final action plan so that people have the opportunity to understand the impact of their contribution?

A: They “don’t know” yet. They’ll let us know soon….

  • Comments on the final draft rec’d Tuesday: we will ask DPER to take into account the comments in the document as well as the alternative suggestions for introductions for when they draft their final version.

A: They don’t have time and capacity to deal with them.

  • Will they share the final version that will go to government for approval?

A: Most probably not… There is very little time left… etc, etc..

  • OGP Action Plan format: We believe that anything aspirational or not confirmed should be deleted. At this time the plan is way too long and commitments should be made up of bullet points & in plain language including the following items:

    • 2-3 lines description of the commitment

    • Supporting Civil Society Organisations

    • Impact and Vision – 1 paragraph

    • Context – 1 paragraph

    • Timescales for milestones

    • Means – who will drive the commitment and who will challenge

    • Feedback Loop – who will be asked for feedback on progress and how will feedback & progress update be published

    • Grand Challenges – which grand challenges are addressed

I’ve read out all the above points about NAP format loud and clear; and I constantly reiterated that we were supposed to learn from the best practice (and was told “Denis will not give DPER golden medal for this consultation”)

In general, DPER:

  • Deeply offended by ‘uncivilized’ comments online

  • It’s our first plan… There was not enough time, resources etc. etc.

  • Yes, we could’ve learned from experiences of others, but it’s our 1st plan, (why should we…)

  • Why we are constantly referring to the UK? We should do it in our own way…

  • We don’t know “how good NAP is gonna be at the end”; “may be you will be happy”

Ingo’s introduction was dismissed. Anne’s intro was found favorable. We (CSF) should submit our proposed introduction till next Tuesday, 15 April 2014.

What’s going to happen next? They claim not to know….

Stay focused.