The Open Government Partnership 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.
In the spirit of multi-stakeholder collaboration, OGP is overseen by a Steering Committee including representatives of governments and civil society organizations.
To become a member of OGP, participating countries must endorse a high-level Open Government Declaration, deliver a country action plan developed with public consultation, and commit to independent reporting on their progress going forward.
The Open Government Partnership formally launched on September 20, 2011, when the 8 founding governments (Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States) endorsed the Open Government Declaration, and announced their country action plans.
Australia’s first Open Government National Action Plan was released in December 2016. Developed collaboratively by government and civil society, the Plan comprises 15 ambitious commitments to strengthen and improve:
- Transparency and accountability in business.
- The availability of open data and the digital transformation of government services.
- Access to government information.
- Integrity in the public sector.
- Public participation and engagement.
Australia released its second National Action Plan 2018-20 in September 2018. The second Plan builds on the lessons and successes of the first Plan, consisting of a focussed set of commitments to enhance access to information, civic participation, public accountability, as well as technology and innovation for openness and accountability.
For more information on the Open Government Partnership, visit the Open Government Partnership website.
What is open government?
Open government means different things to different people. Many countries around the world are working on open government initiatives, each initiative being defined differently and tailored to the needs of that country’s citizens and government.
For the Open Government Partnership, it is the goal that governments will 'become sustainably more transparent, more accountable and more responsive to their own citizens, with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of governance, as well as the quality of services that citizens receive.'
At the heart of open government are the ideas of transparency, participation and accountability. As a working definition;
- Transparency means the public understands the workings of their government.
- Participation means public can influence the workings of government by engaging with public policy processes and public service providers.
- Accountability means the public can hold the government to account for its policy and service delivery performance.
In practice, the Open Government Partnership agenda is broad and extends to a variety of issues, including disclosure of interests, public ethics, anti-corruption, service delivery, budgetary efficiency, public safety and corporate accountability.
How is Australia’s performance against its Open Government National Action Plan tracked and reviewed?
OGP requires every participating government to engage in two forms of reporting and assessment to promote maximum accountability of its performance in living up to OGP commitments.
First, governments must publish an annual Self-assessment Report after the end of each 12-month implementation cycle that assesses government performance in making progress toward achieving its open government commitments.
Second, all OGP countries are subject to a bi-annual assessment by the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM). The IRM works primarily through independent assessment reports for each OGP participating government.
Each report will assesses the development and implementation of action plans as well as progress in fulfilling open government principles at the country level.