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Norway Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Norway’s action plan included commitments in relevant policy areas such as access to information, financial data disclosure, and corporate reporting. While progress has been made in implementation, some areas need strengthening. Moving forward, commitments need to be specific with regard to intended results and activities. Stakeholders recommend prioritizing further development of online public records and setting up a public register of company beneficial ownership.

Highlights

Commitment Overview Well-

Designed? *

4. Disclosure of financial data A new web-portal will publish disaggregated financial data of public agencies, and, for the first time, make them available in a machine-readable and searchable format. Yes
9. Register for ultimate beneficial ownership The establishment of a publicly accessible ultimate beneficial owner registry has the potential to increase the level of access to information on company ownership, and to reduce corruption and tax evasion. Yes

* Commitment is evaluated by the IRM as specific, relevant, and has a transformative potential impact

Process

Consultation with CSOs and stakeholders has been limited, and awareness raising virtually non-existent, through all phases of the national OGP process. The appointed OGP council was involved in the drafting of the third action plan during summer 2015, and has provided the only framework for regular multi-stakeholder consultation throughout. The government’s self-assessment provided minimal evidence on and information related to stakeholder involvement in the individual commitments.

Did not act contrary to OGP process

A country is considered to have acted contrary to process if one or more of the following occurs:

  • The National Action Plan was developed with neither online or offline engagements with citizens and civil society
  • The government fails to engage with the IRM researchers in charge of the country’s Year 1 and Year 2 reports
  • The IRM report establishes that there was no progress made on implementing any of the commitments in the country’s action plan

Performance

The action plan is organized across three thematic areas: seven commitments address public integrity, one addresses effective management of natural resources, and one addresses corporate accountability. A feature of several commitments is the low level of specificity, and the inclusion of activities and milestones that began prior to this action plan period.

IRM Recommendations

  1. Improve action plan development and reporting through clear communication of commitment activities and intended results, and more comprehensive reporting on progress.
  2. Multi-stakeholder involvement and consultation can be improved by facilitating online consultation, and expanding participation through promotion of OGP beyond the government’s OGP website. To signal higher ambition and foster broader engagement from civil society, the government may consider actively involving the Prime Minister’s Office.
  3. The government should consider establishing governmental standards for open data, thereby streamlining open data related commitments across the various ministries. This should be done in close collaboration with CSOs and Norwegian businesses.
  4. Establishment of an ultimate beneficial ownership registry is an opportunity to increase transparency with regard to municipal procurements. This can be done in close collaboration with the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS) and select municipalities.
  5. Archiving practices and the keeping of public records should be scrutinized across ministries to improve internal handling of documents. Mandatory requirements for archiving of internal documents and full-text publications should be considered.

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Filed under: IRM Report

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