Preparing the National Action Plan

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) requires broad consultation for the development of member countries’ National Action Plans (NAP). This provides the public, civil society, and the private sector with the opportunity to participate in the process, and suggest commitments for governments to undertake.

As described in the consultation process timeline below, the Government will use the prioritised public-suggested commitments to guide the development of a draft NAP. Contributions for the NAP will be considered in the context of what will improve public services and improve management of public resources, as well as what will benefit the public, provide opportunities for business and support innovation in Australia.

We look forward to your contributions to the consultation and public discussions. We encourage you to contribute throughout the process and, as this is a public consultation process, we prefer all contributions to be made publicly for transparency and peer review.

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) is the lead Commonwealth agency for developing the Australian Government’s NAP and will coordinate the consultation and resulting program of work. PM&C will work with other agencies across the Australian Public Service and other jurisdictions within Australia to develop the NAP, including public consultation, to support this work. We are keen to have representation and ideas from all parts of society, including civil society, industry, academia, cultural sectors, and from different areas of government in Australia.

You can subscribe to the OGP Au mailing list for updates and news. Alternatively you can get website updates with the OGP Au RSS feed. We will be reporting progress on a regular basis.

Thank you in advance for your contributions, and in helping to shape Australia’s first submission to the OGP.

Structure of the National Action Plan

The OGP advises that a country’s NAP should consist of 5-15 recommendations, draw on at least one of the five ‘grand challenges’ defined by the OGP, and address defined National Action Plan Principles.

Open Government Partnership ‘Grand Challenges’

NAPs are developed drawing on at least one of the five ‘grand challenges’ defined by the OGP. At this stage, it is envisioned that the first Australian Government’s NAP will focus on the two OGP grand challenges of:

  • Improving Public Services – measures that address the full spectrum of citizen services including health, education, criminal justice, water, electricity, telecommunications, and any other relevant service areas by fostering public service improvement or private sector innovation; and
  • More Effectively Managing Public Resources – measures that address budgets, procurement, natural resources, and foreign assistance.

National Action Plan Principles

Each of the commitments made under an NAP must address at least one of the following principles laid out by the OGP, so please consider these when making your contributions.

  • Transparency: Publication of government-held information; proactive or reactive releases of information; mechanisms to strengthen the right to and open access to information.
  • Accountability: The rules, regulations and mechanisms in place that call upon government actors to justify their actions, act upon criticisms or requirements made of them, and accept responsibility for failure to perform with respect to laws or commitments. Ideally these should include the public.
  • Participation: Mobilisation of citizens on government policies or programs to provide input or feedback and make contributions that lead to more responsive, innovative and effective governance.
  • Technology and Innovation: Providing citizens with open access to and capability with technology for greater innovation. To be relevant to OGP, these initiatives must advance government transparency, accountability and/or public participation.

Stages for contributing to the National Action Plan

There are key stages we need to meet to ensure consultations are completed by the end of the June 2016 deadline. The scheduled timing for your input takes into account the Christmas period.

Stage 1 – Preparation, Framework and History

17 November 2015 – 11 December 2015

A very short preparatory stage to get your feedback on a vision, skeleton framework for the Australian NAP Draft and get feedback on the background/history of open government in Australia. We also encourage you to explore the OGP website including some of the actions plans from other governments. This is Australia’s first action plan. You can contribute to this stage by:

  • Adding feedback on the vision and framework to the Stage 1 Blog post comments.
  • Adding feedback to the draft Background page comments.
  • Tweeting your thoughts to #ogpau.
  • Please keep specific ideas, actions and contributions to stage 2 as we need to get the framework right first.

Stage 2 – Drafting and Live Event

14 December 2015 – 28 February 2016

Starting to flesh out the NAP skeleton document with ideas about possible commitments, success criteria, roles and responsibilities, mechanisms to monitor and track progress, and creating a cohesive open government approach for Australia. This feedback will be collated and will feed into a draft NAP.

  • A wiki will be set up according to the feedback from stage 1 for you to contribute draft commitments and other content during this phase and to comment on other commitments proposed.
  • A live streamed event will be held in Canberra in February 2016 to air ideas, discuss and peer review approaches, and collate a body of input to the consultation. Please subscribe to the OGP Au mailing list to indicate your interest in attending. All attendees will have the opportunity to present their idea to the group for discussion. Details about the where and when this forum will take place will be published on this website closer to the date.
  • You can add comments to the Stage 2 Blog post once it is published.
  • Tweet your thoughts to #ogpau.

Stage 3 – Community Prioritisation and Workshop

1 March 2016 – 11 May 2016

In this stage we encourage you to vote for and comment on specific commitments to help identify community priorities. A workshop will be run in April to peer review ideas and co-design implementation options and ways to measure progress for community priorities.

  • All Actions will go into a voting system for you to prioritise what you consider is important and should be included in the final report. Link to be provided during the stage.
  • A live streamed workshop will be run in Canberra in April 2016 to consider the actions proposed and how to best measure the progress of actions. Please subscribe to the OGP Au mailing list to indicate your interest in attending. Details about the where and when this forum will take place will be published on this website closer to the date.
  • You can add comments to the Stage 3 Blog post once it is published.
  • Tweet your thoughts to #ogpau.

Stage 4 – Consideration

May 12 2016 – June 2016

The Government will need time to consider the NAP contributions and decide what is possible and practical to endorse. This follows the same basic methodology as the Gov 2.0 Taskforce Report consultation from 2009.

Launch

July 2016

Launch of the final Australian Government’s NAP with Government providing feedback on all ideas contributed to the consultation.

Implementation

Annual

Ongoing monitoring and reporting of implementation will be conducted by OGP and status updates will be publicly reported by PM&C.

22 thoughts on “Preparing the National Action Plan

  1. With regard to models for such an enterprise, I can only endorse the NZ comparison and strongly recommend that you look at the UK initiatives in relation to open government and open data. Placing the open data strategy within the ambit of the National Archives. along with Her Majestys’ Stationery Office, focuses on government information across all sectors – creation, use, reuse and preservation.
    http://www.opengovpartnership.org/country/united-kingdom

  2. How are State and Territory Governments able to participate in the Open Government Partnership? Will the Action Plan seek to identify actions specific to State and Territories Governments?

    What about Local Council?

    • Hi Alysha – I just noticed this comment had no response.
      State and Territories are also welcome to submit their own applications to join the sub-national pilot program recently introduced by the International Open Government Partnership: <http://www.opengovpartnership.org/how-it-works/subnational-government-pilot-program&quot;.
      I am engaging with State Government Open Government teams across the Country, inviting them to submit an action to the National Action Plan. I have been in touch with Gail from Premiers in SA.
      I'll send you an email so you have my contact details too.
      Amelia

  3. This national action plan is so convoluted and intangible it reads like a Greens initiative . All flourishes but completely hollow.
    To advance Australia our bloated commonwealth and state public servants must be drastically reduced in number. The Australian newspaper`s research today showed their employment conditions to be so much better than the private sector.
    Furthermore overseas studies show that for every public or quasi public sector job create between three to six jobs are lost in the private secots due to subsequent regulations and costs.
    Turnbull`s failure to cut or at least freeze service numbers indicates an unbelievable oversight or psychological capture by the Canberrs public service.
    Real actions not grandiose statements are needed as we plunge further down the steepening deficit slope.

    • Hi Bill, thanks for the comment but it is worth noting that there is no national action plan at this stage, it is being developed over the coming 5 months, so we are curious about what you are commenting on. If you have any specific ideas about how to improve open government, please feel free to contribute to the consultation.

      Warm regards,
      Pia Waugh

      • Hi Pia,
        As I mentioned above public services would be improved by cutting Commonwealth Public servant numbers. With nothing useful to do the redundant public servants hold endless talkfests and suggest and impose layers of regulations that suffocate private companies from growing GDP,growing employment and being productive. For example. why does the Commonwealth have 4000 plus servants in the department of Health and Ageing which is really a state responsibility?
        This is why Australia is heading inevitably into a 2016 recession despite excessive government spending temporarily propping up the economy.

      • Bill, Thanks for your suggestions on improving government and the Australian economy. I agree with you!!

  4. I can’t help but be extremely wary of this process.
    Having been involved in Senate Inquiries that achieve absolutely nothing in the past, even though the majority want change. I can’t see myself wasting time doing submissions that achieve nothing!
    Australia’s financial position is deteriorating quickly and it is unlikely the government can pick winners. Private enterprise is the only thing that can save our country, a National Action Plan run by Government won’t achieve much at all. Government just needs to get out of the way, but they won’t until the economy collapses or the global bankers turn the money off?

  5. I am encouraged that the Australian Government is progressing to membership of the OGP, particularly considering the foundational principle of engaging civil society in government decision-making. This is increasing being demonstrated in social purpose programs where those the programs are intended to impact are engaged in the decisions on the design, delivery and evaluation of those programs.
    However, I am surprised that the current engagement for gaining membership does not embody that very principle. Informations session in four major cities and limited consultation structures immediately disengages and potentailly loses the trust of many sectors of civil society. It is those most disadvantaged that will be impacted most by this approach to ‘engagement’

  6. Pingback: You can contribute to the Open Government National Action Plan | Open Data Aha!

  7. Pingback: You can contribute to the Open Government National Action Plan | OpenAus

  8. Doing away with the Freedom of Information Act (FoI) sounds like a crazy idea. But the UK Cabinet Secretary, Francis Maude in 2010 spoke about the hope of open data will remove the need for the FoI Act because “people won’t have to ask”. I think this is a very good premise to start with.

    Conservative think-tank, Policy Exchange, in a 2012 report said better use of data, technology and analytics could help the UK government save billions by improving efficiency rather than cutting services. It predicts the “data force” could save taxpayers up to £33bn per year. Not only could it save taxpayers money, it could improve public policy and importantly improve accountability and transparency of government decisions.

    In 2010 David Cameron campaigned on improving transparency and accountability. And in 2011 I was working at the Home Office at the time when they launched street-level crime maps, showing exactly what crimes had been committed across the whole of England and Wales. This example typifies what big data can achieve and one that goes to improving transparency and accountability.

    In the UK, every Secretary, Minister, political staffer and senior civil servant must publish details of meetings with external organisations, gifts (given and received), hospitality and overseas travel on a quarterly basis. Also an initiative that would go a long way towards making the system more accountable and transparent to taxpayers.

    The FoI Act is a powerful tool for the public. But the Government has a bill before the Parliament that seeks to undermine and weaken the Act.

    The bill would abolish the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, an independent final place of appeal for those seeking documents under the Act. In anticipation of tearing down the office the government has stripped it of its funding – a mere $10.2 million over four years. The office faces the bizarre situation of still being in existence but with no money. Appeals to the office cost nothing but the government wants to charge people to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal – this will cost $861, plus legal advice and representation charges.

    This issue needs to be resolved before progressing the Open Government Partnership action plan. It is incompatible to have a bill before Parliament that seeks to undermine the very principles being set out in this important task.

    Contrast this with the US where two Senators from either side of politics have teamed up to strengthen their FoI Act. The Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent. It then was sent to the House of Representatives, which had already passed its own version of the reforms by an overwhelming vote of 410-0. Given the current political climate in the US to achieve such bipartisan agreement on anything is nothing short of a miracle. But it does show the importance both sides hold to appearing to improve accountability and transparency.

    I welcome this process and congratulate the Government for committing to develop a national action plan.

  9. Hi Pia,

    Just a couple of comments, now that we’re getting to the point of doing things globally.

    You’d appreciate that there’s a parallel org to the ogp – the civil society end of gov – so we’ll be able to give you some comparative feedback on how you go about building the Action plan.au. http://www.ogphub.org/napreview-pilot/

    Obviously one of the major products of these plans will developing is a “Citizen’s Engagement Platform” (built around a citizen’s ID). So we can expect (with your imagination) that ad hoc/buckshot approaches like the gov 2.0 taskforce will start firming up into a platform which may be used by gov, and civil society, groups around the world. http://open4m.org/about-us/

    You’re very lucky to have many existing groups of correspondents in various countries already that span between the internal groups of a government and the civil society groups with which they coordinate “actions”. e.g. http://forum.opengovernment.org.uk/groups/ogp

    One more note as you say “NZ and other governments have generally established their groups after getting the national action plan developed”. That’s not what they are telling others. “New Zealand (as one) is in the process of setting up a Stakeholder Advisory Group to assist with developing, implementing and evaluating their plans”. http://www.ogphub.org/blog/advancing-ogp-in-asia-pacific/

    Personally I prefer the way you’re going about it – keeping things open. As Shreya (your OGP contact in Singapore) says in the doc above, “The important thing now is to sustain the positive momentum generated by OGP and create permanent dialogue mechanisms, with clear terms of reference, representation drawn from groups that go beyond the ‘usual suspects’ and regular meetings to strengthen the impact of the OGP process on government-civil society engagement and to mitigate against risks posed by changes in leadership.”

    “Citizen’s Engagement Platform” (as the English call it). “Permanent Dialogue Mechanism”, “Knowledge Exchange”; call it what you want. That’s one deliverable which every gov wants delivered before the “action” really starts.

  10. Pia, great to see the initiative. Congratulations all round. And your response on this blog is also, IMO exemplary. What I’m talking about is the flavour of talking to an intelligent being with thoughts and responses capable of conveying personal inclinations and values without expressing them in anodyne form until they’ve been run up the line for approval. The kind of thing that we tried to model in the Government 2.0 Taskforce. It’s been a long time.

    Now I have to tick a box agreeing to your terms of use #SomeThingsNeverChange 🙁

    • Thanks for that Nicholas, we are looking forward to the discussion as well. There are many intelligent humans who, through actual collaboration, can achieve great things!
      Cheers,
      Pia

    • Hi Nicholas – It has been a long time, but as you say – great to see this initiative. Congrats to Pia and all.

      For me open government is a very human endeavour so your comments on how we talk makes perfect sense.

      Would it (what we write and say), pass the pub test springs to mind.

  11. I echo Peter’s welcoming of the news – a fairly easy decision to make that took way to long to make.

    First step is to amend the Administrative Arrangements Order to ensure that Freedom of Information comes under the purview of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

  12. This is welcome news, and appreciate the thought that has gone into design of consultative steps so far.

    Two comments.

    One, you state
    “At this stage, it is envisioned that the first Australian Government’s NAP will focus on the two OGP grand challenges of:
    • Improving Public Services – measures that address the full spectrum of citizen services including health, education, criminal justice, water, electricity, telecommunications, and any other relevant service areas by fostering public service improvement or private sector innovation; and
    • More Effectively Managing Public Resources – measures that address budgets, procurement, natural resources, and foreign assistance.”

    Many outside government might ponder the ‘envisioning’ without outside input that led to this choice of these two challenges from the five laid out by the OGP, leaving this challenge off the agenda:
    “. Increasing Public Integrity—measures that address corruption and public ethics, access to information, campaign finance reform, and media and civil society freedom.”

    Two, experience elsewhere suggests an advisory body or stakeholder group can enhance the partnership concept and add value. There is no mention of such a body in the published material. NZ, well into the process is just one of many countries that have now gone down this path.
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1508/S00042/advisory-group-for-open-government-partnership-appointed.htm

    Looking forward to taking things forward.

    • Thanks Peter for the feedback and support. Regarding the challenges chosen, for the first national action plan it seemed appropriate to kick off with a few specific ones but we have taken on your comment and will consult on the key themes for future national action plans. They are redone every two years.

      Regarding the advisory group, that sounds like a good idea to contribute as an action for the government to consider, so please add that suggestion to stage 2 of the consultation. NZ and other governments have generally established their groups after getting the national action plan developed, so in the meantime we will reach out and discuss the model with those jurisdictions.

      Cheers,
      Pia Waugh
      OGP National Action Plan Coordinator, PM&C

      • Hi Pia

        I agree, It does make sense to kick off with specific challenges. That being said I also think it makes sense to be prepared to highlight issues of culture, customs and practice where they pose significant risks to dealing with those challenges on there ground.

        I’d say those components would fall into three categories. Those that can be easily dealt with right away, those that can be spun off as short term project (1-3 months), and those that are of such significance that they would constitute a major new initiative by government. Or could easily be earmarked for inclusion in subsequent actions plans.

        I think the guiding light within that should be along the lines of speed and agility. Better than a lock step approach IMO.

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