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Portugal Transitional Results Report 2018-2020

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a global partnership that brings together government reformers and civil society leaders to create action plans that make governments more inclusive, responsive, and accountable. Action plan commitments may build on existing efforts, identify new steps to complete ongoing reforms, or initiate an entirely new area. OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) monitors all action plans to ensure governments follow through on commitments. Civil society and government leaders use the evaluations to reflect on their progress and determine if efforts have impacted people’s lives.

The IRM Staff carried out this evaluation. The IRM aims to inform ongoing dialogue around the development and implementation of future commitments. For a full description of the IRM’s methodology, please visit

This report covers the implementation of Portugal’s 1st action plan for 2018-2020. In 2021, the IRM will implement a new approach to its research process and the scope of its reporting on action plans, approved by the IRM Refresh.[1] The IRM adjusted its Implementation Reports for 2018-2020 action plans to fit the transition process to the new IRM products and enable the IRM to adjust its workflow in light of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on OGP country processes.

Action Plan Implementation

The IRM Transitional Results Report assesses the status of the action plan’s commitments and the results from their implementation at the end of the action plan cycle. This report does not re-visit the assessments for “Verifiability,” “Relevance” or “Potential Impact.” The IRM assesses those three indicators in IRM Design Reports. For more details on each indicator, please see Annex I in this report.

General Highlights and Results

Portugal’s first action plan included eight commitments in the areas of open data, transparency, digital inclusion, and civic participation. At the end of the 2018-2020 implementation cycle, Commitments 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 were completed; Commitment 5 had substantial implementation and Commitments 7 and 8 recorded limited progress in implementation. Commitments 1 and 6 were part of SIMPLEX+, a government program of administrative and legislative modernization launched in 2006.

According to the self-assessment report, issues with the design of commitments challenged their implementation, monitoring, and involvement from key partners and stakeholders. These issues included a lack of clear scope and/or tasks of the responsible entities, and absence of clear progress indicators. The timeline for implementation was also considered a challenge, as at some point the process felt “rushed”.[2] For some civil society organizations, the lack of engagement -or no engagement at all- from some key public sector stakeholders posed a challenge to implementation.[3] In addition, during the implementation cycle there were changes in management within the Agência para a Modernização Administrativa (Agency for Administrative Modernization, AMA), and the Laboratório de Experimentação da Administração Pública (Experimentation Lab for Public Administration, LabX) is now responsible for following up on OGP activities in the country. These changes contributed positively to the implementation process, as the new team’s scope of work is more relevant to the open government agenda.[4]

In terms of government practice, commitments completed during implementation contributed to the provision of better access to information in different policy areas, such as taxes and personal information management, and to the provision of opportunities for civic participation in the legislation development process. Through Commitment 1, for example, a new app was created to allow citizens to control access to personal information by government and private institutions, while Commitment 6 on the Consulta.Lex website, creates a tool for citizens to provide input on legislation proposals. A civil society representative recognized that Commitment 2 on organizing Open Administration Week saw effective coordination and participation with government.[5]

Commitment 8 on strengthening transparency in public procurement which the IRM Design Report identified as a “noteworthy commitment”, achieved limited implementation and did not contribute to change in the status quo. An assessment by Transparency International Portugal (TI Portugal) considers that the information disclosed as part of Commitment 8 does not clearly meet Open Contracting Data Standards.[6]

COVID-19 Pandemic impact on implementation

In March 2020, the Portuguese Government declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.[7] A more severe state of calamity[8] was declared in April through resolution 33-A/2020 by the Council of Ministries,[9] which was later extended until the end of July.[10] These declarations established limits and conditions for freedom of movement and the rationalization of use of public services.

According to the self-assessment report, these limitations required changes in activities planned for implementation of commitments, mainly forcing all meetings to be held online. Some of the training and awareness raising activities planned for Commitment 7 on implementing and monitoring administrative and environmental data could not be implemented because of these restrictions as they required in-person participation.

According to a representative from TI Portugal, while technology has allowed the implementation process to continue and engage actors outside the capital, it is also important to consider how it can, at the same time, limit participation from those who do not have access to technological tools, are part of traditionally marginalized groups, or have any type of disability.[11]

As part of its initiatives to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government, launched an access to information initiative which included a website, app, and mass media campaign. Estamos ON[12], a one-stop shop online information service on the government response to COVID-19, provides information on rules of the State of Emergency; government support to companies; civil society initiatives; epidemic status with a graphic visualization option, etc. In terms of public procurement responding to the pandemic, a TI Portugal representative considered that the data published by the government was limited in quality.[13] TI Portugal launched its own public procurement dashboard in May 2020.[14]

[1] For more information, see:

[2] Luís Vidigal, Platform of Civil Society, interview with IRM staff, 24 February 2021.

[3] Karina Carvalho, TI Portugal, comment received during pre-publication review, 12 April 2021.

[4] Luís Vidigal, Platform of Civil Society, interview with IRM staff, 24 February 2021.

[5] Ibid.

[6] TI Portugal, Comments on implementation of Commitment # 7 and #8 of the I National Open Administration Plan, Transparência e Integridade:

[7] CNN, Portugal declares state of emergency over coronavirus,

[8], 2020, Portugal | State of Calamity and State of Emergency,

[9] Diário da República Eletrónico, Resolução do Conselho de Ministros n.º 33-A/2020,

[10] Diário da República Eletrónico, Resolução do Conselho de Ministros n.º 53-A/2020,

[11] Karina Carvalho, TI Portugal, interview with IRM staff, 1 March 2021.

[12] Government of Portugal, Estamos ON,

[13] Karina Carvalho, TI Portugal, comment received during pre-publication review, 12 April 2021



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