Commitments

06 Open local authority decision-making

Country: Netherlands
Action Plan: Netherlands 2016-2018 National Action Plan
IRM Report: Netherlands Mid-Term Report 2016-2018 (Year 1)
Year Action Plan: 2016
 |  End Date: 12/31/2017

From the Action Plan

 
Open local authority decision-making

Much of the ‘council information’ currently available to the general public and their elected representatives is unstructured and not in an open, machine-readable format. The information on which decisions have been, or are to be, based is difficult to find. Moreover, it is not possible to compare information produced by different local authorities, even when relating to the same topic. The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG) have therefore commissioned the Open State Foundation to run a pilot project in which five local authorities will produce and publish information in a standardised, machine-readable format (as open data). This pilot project will create a basis for the publication of such data nationwide. The VNG has announced the attention of rolling out the project to all municipalities as part of its Digital Agenda 2020 programme. If the information on which local authorities base their decisions is made available as open data, it will become possible for members of the public, elected representatives and journalists to follow the decision-making process more closely. They will also have greater influence and input. The open data will also allow the development of further innovative applications and products, such as visualisations, websites and apps. Elected representatives will have new tools to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities, and this will strengthen interaction with their constituents.

Lead Institution: Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG)


Support Institution: Open State Foundation, various local authorities, and the Ministry of BZK

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From the IRM Review

 

Year IRM Progress Report Published: 2018

6. Publication of open data standard

Commitment Text:

Title: Open local authority decision-making

Much of the ‘council information’ currently available to the general public and their elected representatives is unstructured and not in an open, machine-readable format. The information on which decisions have been, or are to be, based is difficult to find. Moreover, it is not possible to compare information produced by different local authorities, even when relating to the same topic. The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG) have therefore commissioned the Open State Foundation to run a pilot project in which five local authorities will produce and publish information in a standardised, machine-readable format (as open data). This pilot project will create a basis for the publication of such data nationwide.

Milestones:

1.     Development and adoption of a standard for the publication of information as open data, in a form which is reliable, reusable and permits ready comparison.

2.     The standard will have been implemented by all Dutch municipalities by June 30th 2018.

Responsible institution: Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG)

Supporting institution(s): Open State Foundation, various local authorities and the Ministry of BZK

Start date: 1 January 2016                                        End date: 30 June 2018

Editorial Note: This is a truncated version of the milestone text. For the full commitment text, please see The Netherlands National Action Plan (https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Netherlands_NAP-Appendix_2016-2018_EN_revised-with-changes.pdf)
 

Commitment Overview

Specificity

OGP Value Relevance

Potential Impact

On Time?

Completion

None

Low

Medium

High

Access to Information

Civic Participation

Public Accountability

Tech. and Innov. for Transparency and Accountability

None

Minor

Moderate

Transformative

 

Not Started

Limited

Substantial

Complete

 

6. Open local authority decision making

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

 

 

Context and Objectives

Much of local council information, such as agendas and minutes of council meetings, is currently available but not provided to the general public and their elected representatives in an open, structured and machine-readable format. The information on which decisions have been, or are to be, based is difficult to find. It is not possible to compare information from different local authorities.

The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG) have commissioned the Open State Foundation (OSF) to run a pilot with five local authorities to provide and publish information in standardized, machine-readable format. The commitment lists two milestones: milestone one aims to develop and adopt the standard for the publication of information as open data. The first version of this standard was due to be decided upon in 2017. Milestone two aims to implement the standard in all Dutch municipalities in June 2018. Overall, the specificity of this commitment is medium.

This commitment meets the criteria for the OGP value of access to information by promoting the transparency of government decision making and publishing the relevant information as open data.

Providing and publishing information in a standardized, machine-readable format is a major step toward increasing the quality of information for citizens and reducing inconvenience. The potential impact of this commitment is moderate, however, since the VNG, the leading institution, is not in a position to enforce the implementation of the standard in all Dutch municipalities by June 2018.

Completion

According to the government self-assessment report, a draft standard is being discussed with suppliers of municipal council information. XX[Note94: Midterm self-assessment report, opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Netherlands_Mid-term_Self-Assessment-Report_2016-2018_EN.pdf.]XX No other information has been provided to the IRM researcher. Few milestones have been completed on time.

Being a decentralized state, the national government cannot enforce which systems or standards municipalities use. This also applies to KING and OSF, the two implementing organizations. They reported that 100 out of 388 local governments have taken an interest in the project, but there is no disclosed evidence of this yet. Another barrier to implementation is that the systems are under public procurement and therefore they cannot always be quickly replaced by the local governments. At the moment, 16 local governments have published their data on a website. XX[Note95: Open Council information, depilotstarter.vng.nl/sturen-op-resultaten/toepassing-open-raadsinformatie.]XX These data are in open format. Some suppliers of information systems are cooperating with the project, while others are not (yet). XX[Note96: openraadsinformatie.nl.]XX

Next Steps

The IRM researcher recommends that the focus of this commitment be altered in the next action plan. Rather than expanding the quantity of data, which the VNG cannot legally enforce, the government should instead consider actions that can be taken to improve the quality of data.

Survey respondents have stated that they are unable to find data, and that there is a lack of information on the topic. To address these problems, the government should consider developing user-friendly apps or tools that can be used by council members, experts, and the general public for accessing published data (such as data on the 2018 council elections). Additionally, information should be disclosed as soon as possible, so that people can follow and influence the decision-making process as soon as it begins.

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  Year 1 : No

Overview

Design

Specificity

Not Reviewed
None
Low
Medium
High

Relevant to OGP values

Potential Impact

Not Reviewed
None
Unclear
Minor
Moderate
Transformative

Implementation

Completion at Midterm

Not Reviewed
Unclear
Not Started
Limited
Substantial
Complete

Completion at End of Term

Not Reviewed
Unclear
Not Started
Limited
Substantial
Complete

Results

Did it Open Government?

Worsened
Did Not Change
Minor
Major
Outstanding


Starred as of Midterm: No

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