Outcomes from the second meeting of the Interim Working Group

On Tuesday 13 September 2016, the Interim Working Group for Australia’s OGP National Action Plan met for the second time. It was a positive and productive meeting with substantial progress made in shaping commitments for the National Action Plan.

Meeting minutes can be accessed/downloaded here: IWG – Meeting 2 – Minutes

As always, you can provide your views by commenting on this blogpost or by email to OGP@pmc.gov.au. The Interim Working Group will have a standing item on public comments and feedback until their third meeting.

The next meeting of the Interim Working Group will be held on Monday, 19 September 2016.

The final papers for the meeting can be accessed/downloaded at the following links:

Interim Working Group for Australia’s OGP National Action Plan – Agenda and Papers – Meeting 2

The second meeting of the Interim Working Group for Australia’s OGP National Action Plan will be held in Canberra on Tuesday, 13 September 2016.

The final papers for the meeting can be downloaded/accessed at the following links:

The minutes from the meeting will also be published.

If you have any comments or suggestions on the work of the Interim Working Group, please email ogp@pmc.gov.au.

Outcomes from the first meeting of the Interim Working Group

On Monday 5 September, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet convened the first meeting of the Interim Working Group for Australia’s OGP National Action Plan.

Meeting minutes can be accessed/downloaded here: Meeting 1 – 5 Sept – Minutes

Potential commitments for inclusion in the National Action Plan

Members agreed to further explore the following list of potential commitments in detail at future meetings:

  • Work towards compliance with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
  • Explore options for a beneficial ownership register for companies.
  • Improve whistle-blowers protections in the corporate sector, noting the Government’s commitment to improve protections for whistle-blowers who report tax misconduct to the Australian Taxation Office.
  • Assess Australia’s compliance with the Open Contracting Data Standard.
  • Improve the availability and use of public data.
  • Establish metrics to assess public utilisation of information access rights.
  • Create, manage and preserve informational digitally to support transparency, accountability and citizen engagement.
  • Improve disclosure of grants information.
  • Explore options to improve public participation and engagement in Commonwealth policy development and decision-making.
  • Establish a permanent mechanism for OGP consultation during implementation of the National Action Plan.
  • Support government agencies to digitally transform high volume services

Members also agreed to discuss the feasibility and details of the following proposals raised by civil society members:

  • Enhancing the National Integrity System, including matters such as an upgrade of the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity into an Australian Integrity Commission, bringing the regulation of political campaign funding up to international better practice, and supporting integrity reforms by the Houses of Parliament.
  • Review and reforming access to information laws and practices.

We encourage you to comment on and share this list with your networks. The Interim Working Group will have a standing item on public comments and feedback until their third meeting.  As always, you can provide your views by commenting on this blogpost or by email to OGP@pmc.gov.au.

Timeframes for consultation and public engagement

The Interim Working Group will facilitate further broader consultation to seek views from the public and to inform their work as they co-draft and finalise the draft National Action Plan. Make sure to keep an eye out on this blog for information over the coming weeks.

Phase 1: commitments

  • 9 – 19 September: Publish list of potential commitments the IWG has agreed to further explore and invite public comments.
  • 13 September: Second IWG Meeting:
    • Update from consultation and public comments received.
    • Commence discussion on feasibility and scope of commitments.
  • 16 September: Meeting of the OGP Inter-Departmental Committee.
  • 19 September: Third IWG Meeting:
    • Continue discussion on merit and scope of commitments.
    • Discuss the text of the draft National Action Plan.
    • Update from consultation and public comments received.

Phase 2: draft National Action Plan

  • Late September – early October: Publish draft National Action Plan for public comment and circulate to government agencies and relevant OGP Working Groups for comment.
  • 7 October: IWG Workshop event:
    • Discuss feedback on the draft National Action Plan.
    • Confirm text of the draft National Action Plan.
    • Record areas of dissent/contention.
  • Mid to late October: Australian Government to consider the National Action Plan.
  • By 1 November: Submit the National Action Plan to the Open Government Partnership.

Interim Working Group for Australia’s OGP National Action Plan – Meeting 1 Update

Yesterday, the Interim Working Group for Australia’s OGP National Action Plan met for the first time. Both government and civil society members were keen to get down to the business of co-drafting Australia’s first National Action Plan.

The group talked about the need to develop an ambitious plan and had a productive discussion about potential commitments that could be explored.

In addition to the commitments outlined in Agenda Item 4 (see: IWG – Meeting 1 – Agenda Item 4 – Australia’s National Action Plan), civil society representatives also nominated access to information / FOI reform and a national integrity system as areas for further discussion.

The final minutes from the meeting will be published this week, providing an opportunity for the public to comment on the areas of potential focus for the plan.

If you have any comments or suggestions on the work of the Interim Working Group, please email ogp@pmc.gov.au.

Interim Working Group for Australia’s OGP National Action Plan – Meeting 1 – Agenda and Papers

The first meeting of the Interim Working Group for Australia’s OGP National Action Plan will be held in Canberra on Monday, 5 September 2016.

The final papers for the meeting can be downloaded/accessed at the following links:

The minutes from the meeting will also be published.

If you have any comments or suggestions on the work of the Interim Working Group, please email ogp@pmc.gov.au.

Announcing the members of the Interim Working Group for Australia’s OGP National Action Plan

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is pleased to announce the members of the Interim Working Group for Australia’s Open Government Partnership (OGP) National Action Plan. The Group is comprised of six government and six non-government members, keeping with the collaborative spirit of the OGP.

The civil society representatives were selected from an extremely competitive field, reflecting the deep level of ongoing public engagement with Australia’s process to join the OGP. They bring a wide breadth of experience across a range of fields relevant to open government, and represent a diverse range of interests and sectors.

Meet the civil society representatives:

  • Ms Fiona McLeod SC (co-chair): Fiona is the President-elect of the Law Council of Australia and has also previously served as the President of the Australian Bar Association, as Chair of the Victorian Bar, and as a member of the Law Council Executive Board. Fiona brings considerable leadership experience to her role as co-chair, and substantial experience working with government, corporate and non-government sectors. The Law Council engages closely in parliamentary and public sector reform processes related to transparency and strengthening the integrity of public offices.
  • The Hon. Dr Ken Coghill: Ken is an Associate Professor at Monash University with research and teaching interests in government accountability and governance. He is also a former Member of Parliament in Victoria, and Deputy Chair and Treasurer of the Accountability Round Table, which advocates for transparency as a key factor of accountability. Ken has written extensively on Commonwealth, State and Territory government accountability and parliamentary reforms.
  • Mr Mark Zirnsak: Mark is the Director of the Social Justice Unit of the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Uniting Church in Australia. In this role, he has advocated for transparency, accountability and open government, including through his involvement in Publish What You Pay Australia, Transparency International Australia and as a member of the Secretariat for the Tax Justice Network in Australia.
  • Ms Maree Adshead: Maree is the CEO of the Open Data Institute Queensland, a node of the international Open Data Institute. She has held a number of industry representative roles, including as past Chair of the Technology Council of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland, and past Chair of the Australian Information Industry Association Queensland. ODI Queensland promotes the release of public data to increase accountability, improve efficiencies, and to drive technological innovation.
  • Mr Peter Timmins: Peter is the Interim Convener of the OGP Civil Society Network, a coalition of civil society organisations and individuals committed to making government work better through transparency, participation and accountability. He also has considerable experience engaging with freedom of information and privacy laws, including as a member of the Australian Law Reform Commission Advisory Committee for the Inquiry into Secrecy Laws and Open Government in Australia, and the NSW Information and Privacy Advisory Committee.
  • Ms Katherine Szuminska: Kat is the Co-Founder and Director of the OpenAustralia Foundation and also sits on the Steering Committee of the OGP Civil Society Network. The OpenAustralia Foundation uses technologies and tools to encourage public participation in the political process, and to advocate for more transparency and accountability in government. Kat has a strong knowledge of the OGP, having been involved in various international OGP events.

Meet the government representatives:

  • Dr Steven Kennedy (co-chair): Deputy Secretary, Innovation & Transformation, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
  • Dr Stein Helgeby: Deputy Secretary, Governance & APS Transformation, Department of Finance.
  • Mr Iain Anderson: Deputy Secretary, Civil Justice and Corporate Group, Attorney-General’s Department.
  • Ms Meghan Quinn: Division Head, Financial System Division, The Treasury
  • Mr Timothy Pilgrim: Australian Privacy Commissioner and Acting Australian Information Commissioner.
  • Ms Anne Lyons: Assistant Director-General, Government Information Assurance & Policy, National Archives of Australia.

The NSW Information Commissioner, Ms Elizabeth Tydd will also be a non-voting jurisdictional member, reflecting the Commonwealth’s desire to build stronger relationships with the states on open government matters.

Thank you once again to everyone who submitted an expression of interest. The Interim Working Group will be continuing to engage with all interested stakeholders as they work to co-draft Australia’s first National Action Plan. We invite you to sign up to the mailing list for updates, and stay tuned to this blog for meeting agendas, meeting minutes and other details of the Interim Working Group’s progress.

Selection process

The submission period closed at 5pm AEST on 24 August 2016 and PM&C received around 40 expressions of interest for the civil society positions on the Interim Working Group. In parallel, PM&C invited senior executives from key agencies to represent the Government on the Interim Working Group.

PM&C assessed all submissions received according to the criteria in the call for expressions of interest. Candidates were shortlisted and ranked by suitability against these criteria, which included their experience and expertise in open government and open data, and their experience in engaging with stakeholders and/or government.

We strived for a diversity of civil society representatives, and the applicants were assessed with regards to breadth and diversity against a number of factors (e.g. demographics, geographical region, access to a variety of sectors and indusry, engagement on OGP issues, and relevant skills). The selected civil society representatives provide a good mix of experience across the spectrum of open government issues, and bring a wide variety of backgrounds and skillsets.

The OGP project team contacted all applicants with the outcome of their expression of interest on 29 August 2016. All applicants are welcome to contact OGP@pmc.gov.au for feedback on their application.

Submissions for the Interim Working Group are now closed

Stakeholder expressions of interest to join the Interim Working Group for Australia’s National Action Plan have now closed, with approximately 40 submissions received.

We are extremely pleased with the quality of the submissions, the diversity of applicants and the extensive experience they offer.

The large number of submissions reflects the ongoing interest and public engagement with Australia’s process to join the Open Government Partnership. Regardless of who is selected for the Interim Working Group, we look forward to continuing to work with all interested parties as we co-draft Australia’s first National Action Plan.

We are endeavouring to notify applicants of the outcome of their submission over the coming days. PM&C is also engaging with key agencies to finalise the government members of the Interim Working Group.

As always, any enquiries can be submitted to this blog or to OGP@pmc.gov.au.

Third Inter-Departmental Committee meeting

On Friday 19 August, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet convened the third meeting of the Inter-Departmental Committee (IDC) on the Open Government Partnership.

The meeting provided members an update on Australia’s progress to join the Open Government Partnership, outlined the establishment of an Interim Working Group to co-draft Australia’s first National Action Plan, and asked agencies to provide views on the list of proposed commitments received through earlier consultations.

In attendance were:

  • Attorney General’s Department
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity
  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
  • Australian Public Service Commission
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Communications and the Arts
  • Department of Defence
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Environment
  • Department of Health
  • Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
  • Department of Infrastructure
  • Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Digital Transformation Office
  • National Archives of Australia
  • Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
  • Treasury

Meeting minutes can be accessed and downloaded here: OGP IDC – 19 August 2016 – Minutes.

The next meeting of the IDC will be held on Friday 16 September.

Interim Working Group for Australia’s National Action Plan – Expressions of Interest

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) is calling for stakeholder expressions of interest to join an Interim Working Group to help co-draft Australia’s National Action Plan for the Open Government Partnership (OGP).

The Interim Working Group will build upon the civil society consultations conducted from December 2015 to April 2016. Proposed commitments submitted by stakeholders can be accessed here.

The Interim Working Group will consider and prioritise commitments for possible inclusion in the draft National Action Plan which will be considered by the Government before its submission to the OGP by 1 November 2016.

A draft Terms of Reference setting out the role of the Interim Working Group and arrangements for membership can be accessed here. The draft Terms of Reference will be considered by the Interim Working Group at its first meeting.

This will be Australia’s first National Action Plan. It is intended to provide a foundation to further engage with civil society and identify new initiatives over time that will strengthen transparency, accountability and public participation in government.

Process

The Interim Working Group is expected to have up to 12 members. It will comprise equal representation of government officials and a range of civil society stakeholders.

EOIs must outline relevant experience and expertise related to supporting transparency, accountability and open government. The Interim Working Group will be co-chaired by a senior government official and a civil society representative. Please indicate in your EOI if you are interested in co-chairing the Working Group.

Candidates must be available over August-September 2016 and must be able to attend:

  • a minimum of 3 tele/videoconference meetings; and
  • a face-to-face workshop (date and location TBC).

Remuneration will not be provided. If required, government will work with civil society groups to help cover travel costs and associated expenses for the workshop.

In assessing EOIs for members and co-chair, PM&C will consider:

  • the breadth and diversity of representatives (across demographics, geographic regions, and access to a variety of sectors and industries);
  • experience in open government, using open data and engaging with stakeholders and/or government; and
  • for co-chairs, experience in chairing similar groups.

EOIs should be no more than one page in length and be submitted via email to ogp@pmc.gov.au by 5pm on Wednesday, 24 August 2016.