OGP Local Program

Join the OGP Local Program: Call for Expressions of Interest

Background

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) Local program recognizes and supports the role that municipal, city, metropolitan, state, regional, and provincial entities play in advancing open government, due to their close proximity to citizens and the crucial public services they provide. OGP launched a Subnational Pilot in 2016, with 15 pioneering subnational governments submitting and implementing their first Action Plans 2016-2017. Moving forward, the program will be known as OGP Local, and will prioritize the participation of diverse range of entities.

The OGP Local program aims to harness the innovation and momentum demonstrated by local governments and civil society partners across the world. OGP is a platform for these governments and civil society to come together to make their governments more open, inclusive and responsive, modeling the values and principles of the Open Government Declaration and processes. To learn more, please visit the OGP Local Program here.

Expansion of the OGP Local Program

Following the pilot period in 2016-2017, the OGP Steering Committee approved the expansion of the OGP Local program. The following resolution was unanimously adopted by the Steering Committee in its September 2017 meeting.

The Steering Committee welcomes the strong early results of the subnational pilot program and the 15 pioneer local governments. We recognise the crucial link between the emphasis in OGP’s overall strategic refresh on citizen-centric governance and the importance of further integrating local governments into OGP.

The Steering Committee recognises that the subnational pilot Pioneers model has worked well, and that OGP should build sustainably based on learning from the initial program (including from the IRM), while balancing the availability of resources and the opportunity costs associated with continued subnational expansion. We support maintaining the involvement of the current 15 Pioneers with new action plans in 2018, and we agree to recruit up to an additional 15 Pioneers to join the program in 2018. In addition, we agree to re-launch the OGP Leaders tier of subnational governments and civil society partners with an emphasis on lightweight peer learning and networking.

The Support Unit is launching a call for expressions of interest for five (5) new governments to join the first cohort participants. The expanded cohort of 20 local governments will receive assistance and guidance from the Support Unit and the Steering Committee as they, with civil society partners, co-create and implement new action plans in 2018-2020. In the spirit of collaboration, the OGP Steering Committee calls on existing participants of the program to engage in peer learning and knowledge exchange activities to assist the new participants throughout the OGP onboarding process. An additional cohort of OGP Local participants will be recruited for the 2019-2021 action plan cycle, which will provide an opportunity for a larger number of local governments to join in the future.

In addition to this expansion, OGP will support the launch of a global Community of Practice on Transparency and Local Open Government within the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) - Global network of local and regional governments and its associations - and led by the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP). This Community of Practice will support peer learning, networking, and wider awareness and capacity development on open governance and public integrity at the local level. Applicants and current OGP Local participants are welcome to join this initiative, which will officially launch in mid-2018.

Criteria

To be eligible to join the program, interested local and regional governments must have a population of at least 250,000 people, and be within a participating OGP country that is not in inactive or suspended status or is subject to stage 1 or stage 2 actions under the Response Policy (visit the Response Policy webpage here, and the Procedural Review webpage (forthcoming).

In addition to the minimum eligibility criteria, applicants need to:

  • Demonstrate commitment from the political leader of the government entity to advance government reforms embraced in an OGP Action Plan, and fully support the delivery of such commitments as part of the local government’s function.
  • Have necessary human resources who can dedicate time to engage in the OGP process, including the development and implementation of commitments in collaboration with civil society.
  • Have a demonstrated track record of, or commitment to, open government; for example through open data, civic engagement, access to information, budget and fiscal transparency, or participatory policy making.
  • Express interest in receiving direct, institutional support from OGP to co-create commitments and advance their open government reform efforts.
  • Have experience of working positively with local civil society and a commitment to protecting civic space and engaging constructively with citizens outside government.
  • Have a willingness to share experience and insights with peers.

Action Plans are to be delivered by August 31, 2018, and must have no more than three (3) to five (5) commitments, which must be implemented by August 31, 2020. In accordance with the OGP process, all open government action plans must be co-created with civil society, and will be assessed by the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) for specificity, potential impact, and relevance to OGP values. As members of OGP, the selected participants would be expected to uphold the values and principles of OGP, and act in accordance to the open government principles articulated in the Open Government Declaration and the OGP Subnational Declaration.

In addition to the criteria outlined above, applicants will be chosen to reflect different types of local governments, at different stages of economic and social development, and represent regional balance within the program.

Application Process

Applicants must submit a Letter of Interest (LoI) of 4 pages maximum, addressed to the 4 co-chairs of the OGP Steering Committee. The LoI must be signed by a political leader from the local government, and address the criteria established above. Examples of letters may be accessed through the webpages of the current participants here.

In addition, applicants must submit endorsement letters from 1-2 civil society organizations that have worked with the local government on open government reforms, or that are interested in participating in the OGP Local program.

All letters of interest and endorsement letters must be submitted, in English, to the OGP Support Unit at local@opengovpartnership.org by March 9, 2018.

Decision Making Process

The Support Unit will be responsible for screening all incoming applications according to the minimum eligibility criteria outlined above. From this long list, the Support Unit will evaluate all eligible applicants according to the following elements and provide a score out of 15 possible points. All applicants who score 80% or above (12/15 points) will be shortlisted.

The Support Unit will provide the Selection Committee with the letter of interest and endorsement letters from each shortlisted candidate. The scores will be shared with the Selection Committee for reference purposes only as these will not be a deciding factor for final selection. The Selection Committee will be responsible for reviewing the short list of candidates and reach consensus on the five finalists. The recommended list of five finalists will be tabled for approval by the full Steering Committee on no-objection basis by end of March 2018. Announcements of the new OGP Local participants will be made in early April 2018.

Letters of Interest and endorsement letters should explicitly demonstrate:

  1. Value proposition/benefit for the government to join OGP (interest in receiving direct, institutional support from OGP to co-create commitments and advance their open government reform efforts) - (High [3]; Medium [2]; Unclear [0])
  2. Strength of political leadership/commitment - (High [3]; Medium [2]; Unclear [0])
  3. Experience/commitment to open government through previous achievements, commitments, declarations? - (High [3]; Medium [2]; Unclear [0])
  4. Experience of working positively with local civil society and commitment to protecting civic space - (High [3]; Medium [2]; Unclear [0])
  5. Experience/willingness to engage in peer exchange - (High [3]; Medium [2]; Unclear [0])

Additional materials submitted along with the letter of interest are welcome but will not be considered as part of the assessment criteria.

The OGP Support Unit will contact the five finalists to announce the results and to assist in developing a timeline to begin the OGP process. Results will be announced in early April 2018. Due to the high volume of applications, the Support Unit will not be able to respond to all expressions of interest.