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Action plan – Basque Country, Spain, 2021 – 2024



Action Plan: Action plan – Basque Country, Spain, 2021 – 2024

Action Plan Submission: 2021
Action Plan End: December 2024

Lead Institution: Basque Government, Provincial Council of Álava, Provincial Council of Bizkaia, Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, Bilbao City Councils, Donostia-San Sebastián City Councils, Vitoria-Gasteiz City Councils, Innobasque-Basque Innovation Agency



Dec 2024

Date Submitted

28th July 2021


Circulating within the territory is part of the everyday life of any person living in the Basque Country (which has a surface area of 7,200km2): you may work in Vitoria-Gasteiz, live in Bilbao  and visit your family in Donostia-San Sebastián. We live very near one another. Basque citizens go about their lives and political participation in spaces and moments with little regard for jurisdictional or institutional limits.

For us, inter-institutional collaboration provides the foundation for an open government model seeking to include its citizens’ experience, knowledge and proposals in public sector actions.   

We are almost “a small country”, with an enormous wealth of decentralised powers, perfect for experimenting with and testing proposals for their subsequent application in other cities / regions / countries at different stages of open government development. An innovation lab serving to demonstrate, with facts, that strong coordination between the institutions strengthens co-creation processes and lays a solid basis on which to develop a more open government and territory. We believe that the Basque model may be of interest to the OGP network precisely for this reason.  

For our proposition, the first goal we have set ourselves is to achieve better coordination of the Open Government policies and their impact on sectoral policies, from closer levels of management: from the City Councils and the Provincial Councils working in the three provinces, to the policies and projects developed by the Basque Government.

Executing the first OGP Euskadi Action Plan 2018-2020 represented an enormous challenge, which has been successfully concluded, as can be seen from the results of the participatory assessment carried.

And the most important aspect is that this participatory assessment has highlighted areas for improvement which will enable us to continue learning and innovating in the opening-up of our governments, and its application to the different sectoral policies.

Open Government Challenges, Opportunities and Strategic Vision

This subsection details the Open Government Strategic Vision in your local area that should guide the commitments for the action plan period.

What is the long-term vision for open government in your context and jurisdiction?

The long-term vision of OGP Euskadi remains the same as the one that prompted presentation in 2018 of its application to the Open Government Partnership: collaboration between the three territorial levels of the Basque Country and with the Basque citizens, in order to open our public action, in a framework of increasingly more complex and changing social trials and challenges, configuring a common space in matters of open government, respectful towards the distribution of powers, the authority for self-organisation and the autonomy of each of the institutions making up OGP Euskadi.

Based on the following principles of:

  • Transparency: which consists of proceeding with respect and care when issuing announcements regarding the events, resolutions, procedures and documents of the Administration, as well as their grounds. It also consists of the recognition that public information must be made available in order to allow its reuse for the creation of higher public value.
  • Accountability: which is the duty of people working at the service of society to inform on, justify and provide public and periodical accountability for their decisions, for the use made of the assigned funds and for the results of their actions based on criteria of efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and legality.
  • Citizen participation
  • Public-private collaboration
  • Integrity: which encompasses all mechanisms guaranteeing that the actions taken are focussed on three fundamental values: public interest or the common good; respect and opening-up; and effectiveness and good results 

What are the achievements in open government to date (for example, recent open government reforms)?

Execution of the OGP Euskadi Plan 2018-2020 demonstrates the combined progress made the following lines:

  • Organisational structure: The good functioning of the different multi-stakeholder forums created advise continuing with the model.
  • Accountability: We already have a Basque accountability model developed in Commitment 1 as a basic and advanced standard for the publication of information on how mandate commitments are met.
  • Opening of public data: We already have a common working model between the Basque institutions, thanks to which work can continue on open data, normalisation, and generating inter-institutional services, developed in the framework of Commitment 2.
  • Innovation in citizen participation: We already have a model of innovation participation lab (iLab) for the Basque Country developed in the framework of Commitment 3.
  • Open School for Citizens-Open Eskola: We now have a proven model of open school for citizens as a place of meeting and learning in the Basque Country to foster more active citizenship in the field of public affairs and an administration more open to accountability and continuous improvement developed in the framework of Commitment 4.
  • Basque integrity system: We already have a series of bases for implementing an Integrity System for the Basque Administrations which reinforces the ethical infrastructure developed in the framework of Commitment 5

What are the current challenges/areas for improvement in open government that the jurisdiction wishes to tackle?

The new Action Plan 2021-2024 endeavours to open new lines of action based on the priorities expressed by citizens on the open form issued in the month of July 2020 to invite their participation in co-designing the plan.

Following analysis of their viability, scope and potential impact, of institutional availability for their leadership, their transfer capacity and their connection with public policies involving different institutional levels and public sector stakeholders and citizens, these priorities resulted in 5 potential lines of action. Said actions were submitted for consideration by the Regular Forum, participatory groups with the vision of citizens, and later in the Open Forum held in the month of July 2021.

  1. Observatory on COVID-19 data in the city and adaptation of services to citizens’ needs
  2. Transparency and accountability (budgetary transparency…)
  3. Development of Open Eskola content (Education in integrity, etc)
  4. Development of a tool for collecting popular Legislative/Regulatory/Policy-making  Initiatives that can be used by all of the Basque institutions (Basque Parliament, General Assemblies, or the autonomous, provincial and local executives)
  5. Online and onsite/remote pilot offices offering information, guidance, mediation and support to the life projects of senior citizens designed based on open government parameters

What are the medium-term open government goals that the government wants to achieve?

  1. To establish accurate, objective and measurable mechanisms on the impact generated by COVID-19 in the city and to identify and adapt the municipal services to this new situation, modelling them to respond more effectively in new emergency situations from a philosophy of transparency and accountability.
  2. To empower citizens by providing them with an accessible tool to help them understand the use made of the public budget.
  3. To generate the necessary knowledge and skills for citizen participation to become a fully fledged reality of the new PUBLIC GOVERNANCE model, where public service officials and citizens can effectively collaborate in generating public value.
  4. To empower citizens by means of an accessible platform enabling them to propose regulations at any level of institution in response to the needs felt by the different social groups, and in so doing to more effectively guide the reglementary authority held by the different policy-makers or the executive.
  5. To provide a response for senior citizens based on an open model of online attention and onsite/remote offices allowing them to proceed with their life projects, according to their expectations, values, interests… at both individual, family and collective level, activating projects and initiatives for developing their skills and talent in the interests of the common good.

How does this action plan contribute to achieve the Open Government Strategic Vision?

This action plan contributes to the Basque open government strategic vision by developing common tools, models and guidelines for all of the Basque administrations, no matter what their level (autonomous, provincial or local) or size, in order to promote the transparency and accountability of public activity, the empowerment of citizens and their participation in public life, public-private collaboration, and institutional integrity, all of which contributes to increasing the value of public action as well as the standing of the institutions and of their public officials.

How does the open government strategic vision contribute to the accomplishment of the current administration’s overall policy goals?

The government programme of the XII Legislature includes 3 major principles of action:

  • Guaranteeing health. 
  • Reactivating the economy and employment. 
  • Leaving no-one behind.

Likewise, the Provincial Councils’ government programme and the mandate plans of the Bilbao, Vitoria-Gasteiz and Donostia-San Sebastián City Councils, are in line with these principles of action, highlighting as the main lines of their activity: employment and economic activity; people and equal opportunities; mobility and sustainability; and the achieving of modern and responsible administrations.

All of the Basque levels of administration are well aware that these objectives can only be achieved with more and better self-government and with transparent and responsible public management. They therefore undertake to:

  • Move forward in achieving a more approachable, simple and efficient administration, which prevents duplications
  • Promote a more open and transparent administration, which renders accounts in real time, with initiatives such as:
    • Promoting the law on transparency and citizen participation
    • Promoting the strategy of open government and international recognition.
    • Increasing participation
  • Promote a renewed and digital administration, with consolidated and qualified human resources.
  • Responsibly manage public resources.
Engagement and Coordination in the Open Government Strategic Vision and OGP Action Plan

Please list the lead institutions responsible for the implementation of this OGP action plan.

  • Basque Government
  • Provincial Council of Álava
  • Provincial Council of Bizkaia
  • Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa
  • Bilbao City Councils
  • Donostia-San Sebastián City Councils
  • Vitoria-Gasteiz City Councils
  • Innobasque-Basque Innovation Agency

What kind of institutional arrangements are in place to coordinate between government agencies and departments to implement the OGP action plan?

The letter sent by the Basque President, the Lehendakari, in 2018 for the Basque candidature to the OGP refers to the interinstitutional undertaking of the 7 Basque administrations and of Innobasque-Basque Innovation Agency, which has materialised in the collaborative work of the promotion group leading the way in drawing up, executing and evaluating the plans.

An analysis is being made of the possibility of signing a collaboration agreement to specify the contributions of the parties, although until now actions have been taken on the basis of consensus and commonly accepted distributions.

What kind of spaces have you used or created to enable the collaboration between government and civil society in the co-creation and implementation of this action plan? Mention both offline and online spaces.

  • the Promotion Group, promoter of OGP Euskadi, it is made up of the 7 Basque administrations and the public-private partnership, Innobasque-Basque Innovation Agency.
  • the Regular Forum, as the deliberation and proposal body, monitors implementation of the plan, deliberates on self-assessment and makes proposals for correction and improvement. It is made up of 11 members of organised and unorganised civil society and 7 members of the Basque administrations.  
  • the Open Forum, as a remote and onsite body for consultation, verification and proposal, invited to deliberation events and convened to draw up, monitor and assess the plan.
  • the Commitment Groups, as open work groups generated to implement each of the commitments, which are accountable for their activity and enable, by means of public-private collaboration, development and deployment of the commitment milestones. They are made up of organised and unorganised civic society, people with an expert vision unable to take action during execution of the commitment as providers of services and representatives of the different institutional levels.

We have also used virtual spaces such as the OGP Euskadi website, the Irekia platform and the websites of the 7 Basque administrations belonging to the promotion group and the social networks of the civic bodies participating in the regular forum.

What measures did you take to ensure diversity of representation (including vulnerable or marginalized populations) in these spaces?

To ensure that we were as open as possible, the initiative was published widely through the platforms for interaction with citizens of the different institutions, the OGP Euskadi website and through the invitation issued to civic organisations representing different interests. We used the databases of the participating organisations. These are summarised below:

  • 969 participants in drawing up the White Paper on Democracy and Citizen Participation for the Basque Country promoted by the Basque Government
  • 124 participating organisations in the Basque Government’s Elkarlan Awards going to projects on the co-generation of public value
  • 167 organisations belonging to or partnered with Innobasque-Basque Innovation Agency
  • 16 members of the third sector network, Euskadi Sareen Sarea
  • 64 youth associations
  • 1399 bodies entered in the Bilbao City Council register of participation bodies
  • 56 organisations belonging to the Euskadi Youth Council
  • 92 organisations which collaborate with Gipuzkoa Provincial Council
  • 267 organisations which collaborate with San Sebastián City Council
  • 2881 organisations which collaborate with Bizkaia Provincial Council

Who participated in these spaces?

The open form initiative inviting proposals received the participation of 175 people. Of those who identified their profile:

  • 41% were citizens acting on their own behalf
  • 27% were experts in open government or in the content of the initiative they proposed
  • 23% were civic or citizens’ associations
  • 7% were people belonging to a public administration
  • 2% were companies

The phase to specify and establish the scope, the milestones of their implementation, etc. saw the participation of groups with members representing the vision of citizens, experts and the institutions.

The Regular Forum had the participation of:

  • 10 civic bodies or citizen members
  • 7 Basque institutions (Basque Government, 3 Provincial Councils and the 3 Capital City Councils)

The Open Forum held in July 2021 was attended by 33 people in person (61% from organized and unorganized citizens and 39% from the autonomous, provincial and local administrations of the Basque Country), 51 people through the online session and 167 through the Irekia platform.

Its content can be accessed through this video

How many groups participated in these spaces?


How many public-facing meetings were held in the co-creation process?


How will government and non-governmental stakeholders continue to collaborate through the implementation of the action plan?

As we have already described, by means of our organisational structure: promotion group, Regular Forum, Commitment Groups and Open Forum, as well as the OGP Euskadi platform

Please describe the independent Monitoring Body you have identified for this plan.

Adimen Investigación

Provide the contact details for the independent monitoring body.

What types of activities will you have in place to discuss progress on commitments with stakeholders?

The members of the Regular Forum receive the documentation prior to the meetings, so that the proposals can be addressed separately by the interest groups (civil society/administrations), and to present the proposals already discussed by the Forum.

All of the information related to the milestones of each commitment is published on the OGP Euskadi website, providing evidence of the progress made in the shape of documents, photographs, videos, draft minutes and agendas.

The idea of the open forum dynamics is to function in small groups with co-creative and participatory techniques.

To monitor the commitments during their implementation, a protocol will be drawn up in collaboration with the independent assessment body, on the following basis:

  • The information gathering operations will be carried out in a participatory manner, endeavouring to collect the appraisals of the members of the different groups: promotion group, regular forum, commitment groups and open forums.
  • Consideration will also be given to the evidence published on the OGP Euskadi website.
  • The assessment body can participate in any work sessions and organised events deemed necessary, both in order to study and appraise the work dynamics generated, and to communicate irregularities detected and provide guidelines for improving the processes.
  • The guidance and monitoring will basically take the shape of a summative assessment, with respect to the quantification and collection of objective indicators. However, fundamentally it will be a formative assessment, i.e. focused on continuous improvement.

How will you regularly check in on progress with implementing agencies?

The coordination and monitoring meetings of the Promotion Group, the Regular Forum, the Commitment Groups and the Open Forums.

The repository of information on the milestones of each commitment on the OGP Euskadi website.

How will you share the results of your monitoring efforts with the public?

In these same forums and on the OGP Euskadi platform

Endorsement from Non-Governmental Stakeholders

  • Ana Molina, President, Asociación Mestiza
  • Mª Aranzazu Otaolea Velado., Member, Member of the Bilbao Women
  • Eneko Aguirre Illarramendi, Founder, Founder of the Osoigo platform
  • Mikel Barturen Nuño, Coordinator, Sareen Sarea, platform of the third social sector of the Basque Country.
  • Maialen Olabe Aguirre, President, Basque Youth Council
  • Antxon Gallego Solaetxe, Antx Expert citizen in open government.,
  • Joseba Terreros Luengas, President, Joseba Association of Councils of Álava (ACOA).
  • Arantza Cuesta Ezeiza, Director, Eusko Ikaskuntza
  • Elsa Fuente do Rosario, Director, Unicef ​​Euskadi
  • Gotzon Bernaola Ariño, Director of Public Innovation, Innobasque-Basque Innovation Agency


Full Strategic Vision – EN.docx


Compromiso 1. – Proyecto COVID-19 – EN.docx

Compromiso 2. – Transparencia presupuestaria – EN.docx

Compromiso 3. – Open Eskola – EN.docx

Compromiso 4. – Iniciativas legis  reglam – EN.docx

Compromiso 5. – Altxor – EN.docx

Methodology and resources.docx

Nuevo Plan 2021-2023 de OGP Euskadi


Comments (1)

Holly Haggerty Reply

I am on the Advisory Board for the UN celebrated World Creativity and Innovation Week / Day ( The theme this year is Collaboration. I heard about the Collaborative work that the Basque government is doing with its citizens and am very interested in learning more and possibly getting a representative from Basque to present virtually to people from around the world about what you are doing there. The event takes place between April 15 and April 21, 2022.

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