Open Government Partnership – Australia

Appendix A: Consultation and engagement activities

Consultation and engagement on the National Action Plan commenced in November 2015. engage 2 (a professional stakeholder engagement consultancy) was engaged by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to help design and lead the consultation process up until April 2016.

A summary of the consultation and engagement activities is provided below. A more detailed report on engagement activities is available on the OGP Australia blog (ogpau.govspace.gov.au).

Public meetings and other awareness raising activities

  • Four public information sessions were held in November 2015 to provide an overview of the Open Government Partnership and the process to develop Australia’s first National Action Plan. The sessions, held in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra, were attended by a total of 162 people, with a further 45 people watching the livestreams online.

  • The OGP Australia blog and an email distribution list were established to provide public updates on progress and to inform stakeholders of engagement opportunities.

  • The hashtag #OGPau was created to discuss the project on social media, including through the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Twitter account.

Seeking ideas for the National Action Plan

  • A wiki (ogpau.wikispaces.com) was created to provide an interactive and collaborative forum for stakeholders to suggest commitments that could be included in the National Action Plan. Almost 1000 people visited the wiki between February and May 2016, and around 200 suggestions were put forward (all available online on the wiki and blog, including a summary).

  • On 12 April 2016, a workshop was held in Canberra to discuss and prioritise the suggested commitments put forward by stakeholders. The workshop was attended by 63 people, with a mix of government, civil society, OGP Support Unit and other participants.

  • 14 commitment templates were drafted during the workshop, covering areas such as open data, anti-corruption, whistle-blower protection, beneficial ownership, public participation and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. The templates were further considered within government and informed the drafting of the National Action Plan.

Government engagement

An Inter-Departmental Committee was established to ensure the interests of Australian Government agencies were considered in the development of the National Action Plan. This Committee was chaired by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet with participation from high level officials from the following agencies:

  • Attorney-General’s Department

  • Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

  • Australian Bureau of Statistics

  • Department of Health

  • Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity

  • Department of Human Services

  • Australian Electoral Commission

  • Department of Immigration and Border Protection

  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

  • Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

  • Australian Public Service Commission

  • Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

  • Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

  • Department of Social Services

  • Department of Communications and the Arts

  • Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

  • Department of Defence

  • The Treasury

  • Department of Education and Training

  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs

  • Department of Employment

  • Digital Transformation Agency

  • Department of the Environment and Energy

  • National Archives of Australia

  • Department of Finance

  • Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

The Committee met four times and also considered material out-of-session, including the suggested commitments put forward by stakeholders. Government ministers were also briefed on commitments that fall within their area of responsibility and on the Open Government Partnership more broadly.

Interim Working Group

An Interim Working Group was established in August 2016 to provide input and help inform the drafting of the National Action Plan. This followed a pause in the consultation process, due to the 2016 federal election and the associated caretaker period. The Group comprised equal representation of senior government officials and stakeholder representatives:

  • Dr Steven Kennedy (co-chair): Deputy Secretary, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet;

  • Ms Fiona McLeod SC (co-chair): President-elect of the Law Council of Australia;

  • Dr Stein Helgeby: Deputy Secretary, Department of Finance;

  • Mr Iain Anderson: Deputy Secretary, Attorney-General’s Department;

  • Mr Timothy Pilgrim: Australian Privacy Commissioner and Acting Australian Information Commissioner;

  • Ms Meghan Quinn: Division Head, Financial System Division,the Treasury;

  • Ms Anne Lyons: Assistant Director-General, National Archives of Australia;

  • The Hon. Dr Ken Coghill: Deputy Chair and Treasurer of the Accountability Round Table;

  • Ms Maree Adshead: CEO of Open Data Institute Queensland;

  • Mr Peter Timmins: Interim Convenor of the Australian OGP Civil Society Network;

  • Mr Mark Zirnsak: Director of Justice and International Mission, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Uniting Church in Australia; and

  • Ms Katherine Szuminska: Co-Founder and Director of the OpenAustralia Foundation.

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

The group worked together to identify and explore in detail the potential commitments for the National Action Plan, building on ideas put forward from earlier consultations (including previous online submissions and the April workshop). The group also considered the text of other parts of the National Action Plan, and the approach to broader consultation and engagement on the draft Plan. Members also facilitated targeted consultation with their wider networks throughout the process.

In addition to regular teleconferences and email correspondence, the Group held three face-to-face meetings in Canberra, and a workshop in Sydney, which included an hour discussion with the Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, the Hon Angus Taylor MP.

Agenda papers, meeting minutes and the outcomes of discussions with the Group have been posted regularly on the OGP Australia blog.