United Kingdom Design Report 2019-2021
- Action Plan: United Kingdom Action Plan 2019-2021
- Dates Under Review: 2019-2021
- Report Publication Year: 2021
The United Kingdom (UK)’s fourth Action plans are at the core of a government’s participation in OGP. They are the product of a co-creation process in which government and civil society jointly develop commitments to open governmen... largely continues the themes from previous plans, and includes commitments to open up data, participation and policy-making processes. Political uncertainty during the Collaboration between government, civil society and other stakeholders (e.g., citizens, academics, private sector) is at the heart of the OGP process. Participating governments must ensure that a dive... due to the ongoing Brexit negotiations delayed finalisation of the action plan and limited the scope of the commitments. For the next action plan, the UK could consider ensuring timely responses to freedom of information requests, as well as public oversight of Transparency in the procurement process can help combat corruption and waste that plagues a significant portion of public procurement budgets globally. Technical specifications: Commitments enhancing ... and contracts related to COVID-19 response and recovery.
|Table 1. At a glance
Participating since: 2011
Action plan under review: Fourth
Report type: Design
Number of commitments: 8
Action plan development
Is there a multistakeholder forum: No
Level of public influence: Consult
Acted contrary to OGP process: Yes
Action plan design
Commitments relevant to OGP values: 8 (100%)
Transformative commitments: 0
Potentially starred commitments: 0
The The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a multi-stakeholder initiative focused on improving government transparency, ensuring opportunities for citizen participation in public matters, and strengthen... More (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. The The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) is OGP’s accountability arm and the main means of tracking progress in participating countries. The IRM provides independent, evidence-based, and objective ... monitors all action plans to ensure governments follow through on commitments. The UK joined OGP in 2011. Since, the UK has implemented three action plans. This report evaluates the design of the UK’s fourth action plan.
General overview of action plan
The UK continues to be a global leader in many open government areas, though the uncertainty around the UK’s departure from the EU (Brexit) effected the scope and According to OGP’s Articles of Governance, OGP commitments should “stretch government practice beyond its current baseline with respect to key areas of open government.” Ambition captures the po... of the fourth action plan. The commitments build on previous plans, and include new initiatives intended to open up data, participation and policy-making processes.
Civil society stakeholders engaged in the co-creation process through participation in the Open Government Network (OGN) and proposed commitments to the Cabinet Office and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. However, political uncertainty and changes in government delayed the submission of the final action plan, which ultimately included only a few civil society proposals. Future processes could benefit from greater cross-departmental coordination within the government and the provision of specific feedback on how stakeholder proposals were considered.
Largely due to the reduced capacity of government officials and civil servants during the co-creation period, most of the commitments in the fourth action plan are somewhat limited in scope or simply continue from previous plans. However, some notable commitments include publishing more granular data on government contracts and in the A transparent procurement process, known as open contracting, increases competition, improves public service delivery, and ensures governments better value for their money. Technical specifications: C... Data Standard format (OGP commitments are promises for reform co-created by governments and civil society and submitted as part of an action plan. Commitments typically include a description of the problem, concrete action... 4), and piloting “Area Democracy Forums” (citizen assemblies) in local authorities (Commitment 6).
Table 2. Noteworthy commitments
|Status at the end of implementation cycle
|Commitment 4: Open contracting data
Publish in open format a greater volume of contracts data so that all above-threshold public contracts can be tracked from planning to final spending.
|In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRM recommends the UK government publish granular data in relation to supply chains and invest in more international partnerships to increase the According to OGP’s Articles of Governance, transparency occurs when “government-held information (including on activities and decisions) is open, comprehensive, timely, freely available to the pub... More of end-to-end supply chains, including where Disclosing beneficial owners — those who ultimately control or profit from a business — is essential for combating corruption, stemming illicit financial flows, and fighting tax evasion. Technical... More lies.
|Note: this will be assessed at the end of the action plan cycle.
|Commitment 6: Innovation in democracy programme
Carry out pilot “Area Democracy Forums” in select local authorities to empower citizens to deliberate and impact local policy development and delivery.
|During implementation, the IRM recommends embedding feedback mechanisms within the citizen assemblies to ensure participants receive detailed responses from local officials on how their input was considered. The IRM also recommends developing and utilising digital engagement platforms to continue innovation in According to OGP’s Articles of Governance, citizen participation occurs when “governments seek to mobilize citizens to engage in public debate, provide input, and make contributions that lead to m... More.
|Note: this will be assessed at the end of the action plan cycle.
IRM recommendations aim to inform the development of the next action plan and guide implementation of the current action plan. Please refer to Section V: General Recommendations for more details on each of the below recommendations.
Table 3. Five KEY IRM Recommendations
|Improve communication with civil society throughout the co-creation process and publish feedback to major civil society proposals received
|Increase cross-ministerial direction and input to enable greater collaboration across departments during co-creation and standardise commitment language
|Amend the Freedom of Information Act to ensure timely responses to information requests and extend its scope to cover private entities that provide public services
|Consider including a commitment to ensure effective public oversight over contracts and public procurement related to COVID-19 response and recovery
|Continue standardising information at the local level to improve access
Disclaimer: According to the UK’s fourth action plan, the organisation mySociety will be involved in the implementation of Commitment 6 (“Innovation in democracy programme”). Because Rebecca Rumbul, the IRM researcher, is an employee of mySociety, and to avoid potential conflict of interest, IRM staff carried out the assessment of Commitment 6 in this Design Report.