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Independent Reporting Mechanism Accountability Report (2023)

Adapting to change and preparing the implementation of Open Government Partnership’s new strategy


The Independent Reporting Mechanism’s (IRM) Accountability Report 2023 provides an overview of the activities of the IRM over the course of the last year. It intends to provide a transparency and accountability moment for IRM towards the Open Government Partnership (OGP), broader open government community and the public.

The IRM finishes 2023 with having published over 60 products, providing over 90 different services to OGP members and collaborating with over 50 researchers, copywriters, translators, and expert reviewers. The IRM anticipates a 100% budget utilization rate by the end of the fiscal year (31 March 2024). During 2023, the International Experts Panel (IEP) began Quality Assurance sessions to validate and oversee that IRM method, practices, and guidelines are consistently applied. In 2023, the IRM underwent some staffing changes, with further internal shifts to take place as part of implementation of OGP’s new 2023-2028 strategy. The implementation of this new 2023-2028 strategy begins in earnest from April 2024. 

A message from the International Experts Panel

“The IRM has continued to strive for excellence in research and reporting to help ensure that members of OGP are acknowledged for their achievements and held accountable when they are not advancing open government principles. This year, the IRM launched a new product – Results Reports – which strengthens accountability of OGP members and learning in-country and across the Partnership. The IEP has helped to guide the implementation of many changes in the IRM while safeguarding its independence and the valuable data collected across the partnership. This will continue in 2024 as the implementation of the OGP Strategy advances.”

This report is endorsed by the International Experts Panel of the IRM (IEP). In 2023, the IEP was composed of five members. They play an important role in setting the vision for the IRM and promoting its findings. They also guide the development and implementation of the IRM research methodology and ensure the highest quality of reports.

Snapshot: IRM Products in 2023
Action Plan Reviews 22
Results Reports  29
Co-creation Briefs 16
Special Report on Azerbaijan  1
Report on Local Action Plans 1

Methodology and Products

This year, the IRM published its first batch of Results Reports. These are the final products (alongside the Co-creation Brief and Action Plan Review) from the rollout of the IRM Refresh that took effect for new action plans submitted from 2020 onwards. The Results Report assesses the level of completion and early results of action plan commitments and checks compliance with OGP standards and criteria. It strengthens accountability of OGP members and learning in-country and across the Partnership.

This year the IEP also began to run Quality Assurance checks. Quality Assurance is an ongoing process to validate and oversee consistent application of the methodology, practices, and guidelines. It provides the IEP and IRM staff with a systematic approach to identify issues proactively and resolve problems as they arise. The IEP conducted two Quality Assurance sessions in 2023. The process is conducted through periodic sessions and summaries of the discussions can be found here.

Snapshot: IRM Services in 2023
Meetings at the OGP Global Summit  24
Sessions and workshops related to co-creation and commitment design  28
Sessions on IRM basics, OGP Standards, and findings from IRM reports. 23
Training workshops for IRM researchers 16
Engagements on other OGP-related issues 16

Fostering Learning and Accountability

The IRM provides multiple services to support the in-country work of OGP and national stakeholders. In 2023, this included 24 meetings at the OGP Global Summit, over 50 practical workshops and sessions with stakeholders on a variety of OGP issues, and various training sessions. 

Case Study: Ghana

In 2023, the IRM provided a Co-Creation Brief to help inform the development of Ghana’s fifth action plan. It helped the Point of Contact (POC) understand where Ghana could improve its OGP processes and how to move forward with policy areas of interest to national stakeholders. For example, Ghana created a Google Drive repository, which brings the country closer to meeting the updated Standards’ minimum requirements. The IRM met with the Ghanaian POC and CSO co-chair at the OGP Global Summit and discussed the IRM report schedule and upcoming results assessment. Ghana’s self-assessment report for the previous plan indicates that lessons gained from IRM guidance and the action plan revision process will be considered in the co-creation of the next action plan. 

Case Study: Philippines

At an awards ceremony in May 2023, the Philippines’ national OGP secretariat used IRM findings to recognize reformers for their successful OGP commitments. This offered positive reinforcement to those working to open government, and to motivate those who had lagged behind. The IRM Results Report for the country’s fifth action plan found that five of its commitments achieved open government results – so the secretariat decided to grant awards to those responsible for the commitments. Special recognition was given to a commitment expanding local freedom of information ordinances across the Philippines which, according to the IRM report, made a major step forward in government openness. Afterwards, representatives of the Philippine government, civil society and the IRM researcher discussed effective practices and constraints in implementing open government reforms, keeping the country’s next action plan in sight.

In case you missed it

The IRM is continuously working to develop innovative approaches to support learning among OGP members. This includes creative ways to keep the partnership accountable through assessments, analysis, and communication mechanisms. Below are highlights from 2023:

Feedback from stakeholders

“Thanks so much for presenting at the OGP forum meeting today. It was really great to learn more about the process, and the members were clearly very engaged. I’m sure there will be plenty of engagement in 2024.” (Asia-Pacific, Government Point of Contact)

“It’s very helpful for the government to have recommendations during the mid-year implementation period. Once again many thanks to the IRM team for the work you have done!” (Eastern Partnership, Government Point of Contact)

“I am grateful to the IRM team who prepared this Results Report for their excellent work. I would like to address special thanks to the IRM Researcher, who conveyed the real state of affairs in general, as well as my comments that I made regarding Commitments 6 and 8 of the OGP Action Plan.” (Eastern Partnership, Civil Society Organization)

“Many thanks to the IRM researcher and team for this report! It was an interesting read and we found some very useful recommendations for our future interventions. I believe the findings will be beneficial for the Ministry and other implementing institutions too.”
(Europe, Civil Society Organization)

Action Plan Reviews are very useful for getting a sense of the opportunities to communicate with partners and stakeholders as well as to have a sense of the context & key actors. (OGP Staff)

Snapshot: IRM Team and Community in 2023
Staff (Find out more) 7
International Experts Panel (Find out more) 5
Pool of Researchers 39
External Reviewers 6
Translators, copy-editors, comms support 27

Behind the Scenes in 2023

Team and Community

Many people come together to collaborate with the IRM to deliver timely and useful products. We work with a wide range of professionals including researchers, open government experts, translators, copy editors, graphic designers, and communications experts who contribute to different stages of publication, research, dissemination, as well as quality control and assurance.

Over 2023, the IRM has continued to work with new researchers, external reviewers and copy-editors/translators. To address changes in staffing during 2023, the IRM will recruit two new members of IRM Staff in 2024. Finally, two members of the IEP ended their tenures at the end of 2023, which means the IEP goes into 2024 with three members.

Conflict of Interest Management

The IRM revised its conflict of interest policy in March 2023 to clarify its scope and the procedure to manage relevant cases. The revised policy can be found here.

During 2023, the IRM IEP Ethics Taskforce reviewed four cases, and decided as follows:

  • One case fell outside the scope of the Conflict of Interest policy. No mitigating measures were necessary. 
  • Two cases may have constituted a perceived conflict of interest. The Taskforce outlined mitigating measures in both cases in order to manage the perceived conflict of interest.
  • One case may constitute both a perceived and actual conflict of interest. The Taskforce outlined mitigating measures in order to manage the perceived and actual conflict of interest.

Financial Resourcing

The programmatic board approved budget for the IRM during fiscal year 2023 – 2024 was of USD 336,160. The actual expenses as of January 2024 are of USD 257,747 on professional fees, USD 28,088 on travel and USD 990 on other expenses. This represents 85% of budget utilization rate with two months remaining to close the fiscal year on March 31, 2024. The IRM anticipates a 100% budget utilization rate by the end of the fiscal year.

Accountability Report Drafting and Review Process

This accountability report was drafted by Andreas Pavlou, Senior Research Officer, reviewed by the IEP and published on 28 February 2024.

Open Government Partnership