Ireland and the Open Government Partnership (OGP)

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. It is overseen by a multi‐stakeholder International Steering Committee involving numerous countries and representatives of civil society organisations from across the globe. Details on the background to the Open Government Partnership are available here.

In May 2013, Ireland submitted a letter of intent to participate in the OGP.

Ireland’s first OGP National Action Plan

Ireland’s first Open Government Partnership (OGP) National Action Plan was published on 23rd July 2014,

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

  • Promoting Open Data and Transparency;
  • Building Citizen Participation; and
  • 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.  Details on the background to the development of the National Action Plan are available here.

Implementation of the first National Action Plan – Mid-term Self-Assessment Report

After 12 months of OGP implementation, Ireland was required to publish a Mid-term Self-Assessment Report assessing its performance in respect of its commitments under its OGP National Action Plan, and was reviewed by the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM). Ireland’s report was drafted in September 2015 and was been published following a 3-week consultation process. This can be viewed online or downloaded from this website.

An update of progress on implementing the actions under the National Action Plan at end December 2015 is available here.

The Independent mid-term Report by the IRM was published on 2nd February 2016 for public comment. It is positive in its assessment of the Government on its implementation of the ambitious commitments in the Plan and of the process of consultation undertaken during the development and implementation of individual actions in the Plan. It notes that going forward, formalising permanent dialogue forums and more awareness-raising will strengthen participation.   

Development of Ireland’s Second National Action Plan

In August 2016, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) launched a process to consult the public and civil society groups in preparing Ireland’s Open Government Partnership National Action Plan 2016-2018.

A consultation process was designed following discussions with members of the Joint-Working Group that was involved in drafting Ireland’s first National Action Plan 2014-2016. The Department commissioned CiviQ and TCI Engagement to help engage the public and civil society in this consultation. This helped to ensure that the process was as open, inclusive and transparent as possible, within the constraints of the timeframe.

 

Initial Consultation

Stage one of the consultation process, which ran from 22nd August-30th September, aimed to obtain possible commitments to include in Ireland’s second National Action Plan. This initial part of the consultation consisted of an online portal intended to encourage discussion. Telephone and postal submissions were also invited and received.

Following consideration of the issues raised through the open online discussion, two civic forums were held in order to obtain further input and insight from civil society. These were held on Wednesday 14 September 2016 (Kilkenny) and Tuesday 27 September 2016 (Dublin). The forums focussed on the three categories identified in the consultation document; Strengthening Governance and Accountability, Increased Transparency and Open Data, and Strengthening Citizens Engagement.

A number of wide ranging actions emerged from the forums, complementing those raised via the online submission portal process. Findings from the forums were published on the OGP Ireland website.

Following the close of the first stage of the consultation, CiviQ analysed, reviewed and combined all of the feedback received to provide an independent report which includes a list of possible actions to include in Ireland’s second National Action Plan.

CiviQ’s report indicated that actions in Ireland’s Second National Action Plan should:

  • Demonstrate ambition with transformative potential
  • Be relevant to the values of transparency, accountability and public participation
  • Be specific, time-bound and measurable.
  • Be as inclusive as possible of the range of submissions received

The independent report was published online in an interactive table at www.ogpireland.ie/actions. Each action is linked to the related submissions and comments from the civic forums, demonstrating the relationship between citizen’s input and output.

Final Consultation on the Draft National Action Plan 2016-2018

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform considered the list of possible commitments proposed to develop a draft of this National Action Plan. On foot of this process, a draft plan was published for public comment on the consultation portal www.ogpireland.ie. CiviQ also contacted Civil Society groups and those who made contributions to let them know that the draft was available for review. CiviQ also initiated a social media awareness campaign to advertise the draft plan’s publication.

Approval of National Action Plan 2016-2018:

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr. Paschal Donohoe T.D., submitted the final draft plan for approval to Government on the 6th December 2016. A copy of Ireland’s second National Action Plan, as approved by Government, is available here.