MONITORING OGP IN THREE WAYS
The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) is a key means by which all stakeholders can track progress and OGP’s impact within participating countries. By tracking progress, it promotes strong accountability between member governments and citizens.
The IRM works primarily through annual independent assessment reports for each OGP participating government. Each report will assess a country on development and implementation of action plans, progress in fulfilling open government principles, and will develop technical recommendations.
Governance and Structure
As an independent, objective body, the IRM is guided by, but not directly accountable to, the Steering Committee of the Open Government Partnership. A panel of well-respected individuals, the International Experts Panel (IEP) directly oversees the IRM. This panel is made usually made up of five steering members and five quality control members.
The IRM is served by a small “IRM Program” staff working in close collaboration with the OGP Support Unit.
Scope of the IRM
Consistent with the IRM Concept Note, the independent reports will assess implementation of the commitments adopted by OGP participating governments in their country action plans. As such, they will include an assessment of the following areas, with emphasis on development and implementation of action plans:
• The extent to which the action plan and its commitments reflect, in a country-specific way, the OGP values of transparency, accountability, and civic participation, as articulated in the OGP Declaration of Principles and the Articles of Governance.
• Wherever relevant, IRM reports may reflect actions or measures relevant to the country’s participation in OGP that were not originally reflected in the action plan.
• The degree to which OGP governments are following OGP process requirements and guidance in the development and implementation of their plans, in keeping with the Articles of Governance – Addendum C.
• Progress made on the articulation and implementation of each commitment and the plan as a whole, according to milestones laid out by the government in its action plan.
• Technical recommendations regarding how countries can improve implementation of each commitment and the plan as a whole, as well as how to better realize the values and principles of OGP, with specific reference to the OGP Articles of Governance and the OGP Declaration of Principles. Recommendations are to cover all of the preceding bullets under scope.
• From 2014 onwards, the IRM will document steps to improve country performance on OGP eligibility criteria as part of their action plans. The OGP Support Unit’s annual review of eligibility criteria will remain the primary authority for determining and discussing OGP country performance on eligibility criteria. The IRM reports will have a more limited discussion of the context surrounding progress or regress on specific criteria at the country level each year, based on citizen feedback. Reports shall also include a section for follow-up on recommendations issued in previous reports
How to Use It
One of the sticks civil society has within OGP is the IRM. Internationally – if a country gets a negative report for three years and does not live up to the recommendations, is taking actions that undermine the values and principles of OGP, or is sliding back on the eligibility criteria, then membership may be discussed or ended, and a country could be expelled. And nationally the IRM can be used as an advocacy and media tool. Civil society actors will be involved in developing the report.
Next to the IRM there are the obligatory government self-assessment reports that also provide the opportunity for civil society to comment on the draft.
And finally there are of course the regular civil society activities of holding government to account, playing a watchdog role, advocating for change, using media, publishing national civil society monitoring reports.
See OGP Self Assessment guidance for more information.