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France

Access to Information on Public Officials (FR0050)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: France Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: High Authority for Transparency in Public Life (HATVP)

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Access to Information, Anti-Corruption, Asset Disclosure, Conflicts of Interest, E-Government, Open Data

IRM Review

IRM Report: France Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Improving access to public information on elected representatives and public officials
Lead institution(s):
High Authority for Transparency in Public Life (HATVP)
Commitment extending Commitment 6 of the 2015-2017 NAP “Facilitating access to data regarding transparency obligations of public officials”
OGP principles with which the commitment is associated:
Access to information, participation, accountability, transparency
Challenges
As it undertook to do in the context of the National Action Plan for 2015-2017, the High Authority now publishes, in XML format under open license, the content of public officials’ asset and interest declarations. In a context of strict transparency and accountability requirements, opening such data greatly facilitates its exploitation by citizens and enables the development of innovative tools which, by crossing them with other datasets, provide a more accurate picture of political staffs and their ecosystem.
In addition, as can be seen from the High Authority’s contribution on open data and public integrity published in December 2016 on the occasion of the OGP Summit in Paris, opening such data enables better interaction between institutional monitoring and actions on the part of citizens’ watch bodies. A number of foreign examples (United States of America, Argentina, Croatia, etc.) evidence the new potentialities provided by digital technologies.
Objectives
Improving accessibility of data contained in public officials’ asset and interest declarations.
Faced with the challenges connected with citizens’ appropriation of information contained in declarations, the High Authority plans both to add to published data and to stimulate and encourage its exploitation.
As from 2018, the High Authority will develop data visualisation tools and produce analyses likely to arouse public interest in these complex findings. It will associate civil society with such work, above all with a view to widening possibilities of data reuse.
On 24 May 2017, the High Authority organised a workshop devoted to the opening of data contained in public officials’ asset and interest declarations. It brought together participants with a wide range of profiles (including data journalists, developers, researchers in the social sciences and engineers) and provided an opportunity to explain the institution’s approach to open data and get to know the reuser community’s expectations.
The road map in detail

Improving clarity of data provided to the public by accompanying its publication with production of data visualisation and analyses 1st half 2018
Widening the choice of exportable formats by also publishing declarations in CSV format 2nd half 2018
Organising a “datasession” on transparency in public life in order to associate the reuser community with exploitation of declaration data. The event could be held in collaboration with other public institutions working in the same field. 2nd half 2018

IRM Midterm Status Summary

21. Improving access to public information on elected representatives and public officials

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

As it undertook to do in the context of the National Action Plan for 2015-2017, the High Authority now publishes, in XML format under open license, the content of public officials’ asset and interest declarations. In a context of strict transparency and accountability requirements, opening such data greatly facilitates its exploitation by citizens and enables the development of innovative tools which, by crossing them with other datasets, provide a more accurate picture of political staffs and their ecosystem.

In addition, as can be seen from the High Authority’s contribution on open data and public integrity published in December 2016 on the occasion of the OGP Summit in Paris, opening such data enables better interaction between institutional monitoring and actions on the part of citizens’ watch bodies. A number of foreign examples (United States of America, Argentina, Croatia, etc.) evidence the new potentialities provided by digital technologies.

Improving accessibility of data contained in public officials’ asset and interest declarations.

Faced with the challenges connected with citizens’ appropriation of information contained in declarations, the High Authority plans both to add to published data and to stimulate and encourage its exploitation.

As from 2018, the High Authority will develop data visualisation tools and produce analyses likely to arouse public interest in these complex findings. It will associate civil society with such work, above all with a view to widening possibilities of data reuse.

On 24 May 2017, the High Authority organised a workshop devoted to the opening of data contained in public officials’ asset and interest declarations. It brought together participants with a wide range of profiles (including data journalists, developers, researchers in the social sciences and engineers) and provided an opportunity to explain the institution’s approach to open data and get to know the reuser community’s expectations. [88]

Milestones

21.1 Improving clarity of data provided to the public by accompanying its publication with production of data visualisation and analyses

21.2 Widening the choice of exportable formats by also publishing declarations in CSV format

21.3 Organising a “datasession” on transparency in public life in order to associate the reuser community with exploitation of declaration data. The event could be held in collaboration with other public institutions working in the same field.

Start Date: 2018

End Date: 2018

Context and Objectives

Since 2014, certain public officials’ asset and interest declarations have been made public online by the High Authority for the Transparency of Public Life. The authority published this information to prevent and detect conflicts of interest and illicit enrichment, following the adoption of the 2013 Laws on Transparency of Public Life. Since 2016, the High Authority has been required to publish this information in XML format under open license, as the government committed to in the 2015–2017 action plan. This commitment aims to further open information on certain public officials’ interests according to the legal framework created in 2013. It would also open data on ministers’ assets by publishing the data in a CSV format and by encouraging the reuse and visualization of the published data.

This commitment is principally relevant to improving access to information. Raw data can be hard for the public to handle. Thus, the aim to find creative ways to reuse and visualize the data constitutes a welcome initiative. The commitment also contains an element of public participation. The government will host a data session to involve data scientists in exploring ways to reuse the data, although, as written, the commitment refers only to the participation of the “reuser community” (see commitment text).

The commitment is, overall, specific enough to be verifiable. While Milestones 21.2 and 21.3 should be easily verified, the same cannot be said about Milestone 21.1. Indeed, the text reads like a goal rather than an activity and contains only broad information about the provision of data visualization.

This commitment could have a minor effect. The commitment from the previous action plan significantly improved the quality and accessibility of information regarding public officials’ declarations. It was considered as a major step forward in opening government. This commitment appears more incremental and does not require any new information to be made available. Indeed, it requires only a change of format. The IRM researcher believes the commitment could lead to positive changes, since it contributes to improving the public’s reuse and understanding of the data published by the High Authority.

Next steps

Given that this commitment is already significantly underway, the IRM researcher suggests that this commitment not be carried forward to the next action plan. The government could, however:

  • Facilitate public access to relevant officials’ asset declarations;
  • Further its efforts to inform the public and the media about the purpose of the declarations (to avoid too much focus being put on officials’ wealth); and
  • Continue to support efforts to reuse and visualize High Authority for the Transparency of Public Life data, to make it understandable to a wider audience and to allow for the data to be linked to data from the lobby register.
[88] For a Transparent and Collaborative Government: France National Action Plan 2018–2020, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/France-Action-Plan-2018-2020-English.pdf (accessed on 10 January 2019).

Commitments

  1. Transparency of Public Services

    FR0030, 2018, E-Government

  2. Transparency of Public Procurement

    FR0031, 2018, Access to Information

  3. Transparency of Development Aid

    FR0032, 2018, Access to Information

  4. Expand Open Data

    FR0033, 2018, Access to Information

  5. Improved Data Policies and Administration

    FR0034, 2018, Access to Information

  6. Transparency of Public Algorithms

    FR0035, 2018, E-Government

  7. Open Data at Sub-National Level

    FR0036, 2018, Access to Information

  8. State AI Lab

    FR0037, 2018, Automated Decision-Making

  9. Administrative Capacity-Building

    FR0038, 2018, Capacity Building

  10. Public Service Incubators

    FR0039, 2018, Capacity Building

  11. Streamline Data Flows

    FR0040, 2018, Access to Information

  12. Open Etat Forum

    FR0041, 2018, E-Government

  13. Online Procedures Dashboard

    FR0042, 2018, E-Government

  14. Govtech Summit

    FR0043, 2018, Capacity Building

  15. Imrove Public Consultation Mechanisms

    FR0044, 2018, E-Government

  16. International Transparency and Citizen Participation

    FR0045, 2018, Aid

  17. Public Pariticipation in Sustainable Development

    FR0046, 2018, Access to Information

  18. Open Science

    FR0047, 2018, Access to Information

  19. Citizen Involvement in Cour Des Comptes

    FR0048, 2018, Access to Information

  20. Private Sector Transparency

    FR0049, 2018, Access to Information

  21. Access to Information on Public Officials

    FR0050, 2018, Access to Information

  22. Open Regional and Local Authorities' Data

    FR0001, 2015, Access to Information

  23. Publish Municipal Council Decisions and Reports Online

    FR0002, 2015, E-Government

  24. Publish Building Permits in Open Data Format

    FR0003, 2015, Access to Information

  25. Starred commitment Increase Transparency in Public Procurement

    FR0004, 2015, Access to Information

  26. Improve Transparency in International Development Aid

    FR0005, 2015, Access to Information

  27. Open Access to Public Policy Evaluations

    FR0006, 2015, E-Government

  28. Involve Citizens in Cour Des Comptes Work

    FR0007, 2015, Access to Information

  29. Access to Public Officials Transparency Obligations

    FR0008, 2015, Access to Information

  30. Starred commitment Beneficial Ownership

    FR0009, 2015, Anti-Corruption

  31. Transparency in Extractive Industries

    FR0010, 2015, Anti-Corruption

  32. Transparency in International Trade Commercial Negotiations

    FR0011, 2015, Access to Information

  33. Fix My Neighborhood

    FR0012, 2015, E-Government

  34. Digital Fix-It

    FR0013, 2015, Access to Information

  35. Co-Produce Data Infrastructure with Civil Society

    FR0014, 2015, Access to Information

  36. Starred commitment Open Legal Resources

    FR0015, 2015, Access to Information

  37. Reform Participatory Mechanisms

    FR0016, 2015, Open Regulations

  38. Mediation and Justice

    FR0017, 2015, Access to Justice

  39. Starred commitment Open and Circulate Data

    FR0018, 2015, Access to Information

  40. Open Calculation Models and Simulators

    FR0019, 2015, Access to Information

  41. Open Platform for Government Resources

    FR0020, 2015, E-Government

  42. Improve Public Services Through E-Government and User Interaction

    FR0021, 2015, E-Government

  43. Empower Civil Society to Support Schools

    FR0022, 2015, E-Government

  44. Diversify Recruitment Within Public Institutions

    FR0023, 2015, Capacity Building

  45. Culture Change

    FR0024, 2015, Capacity Building

  46. Spread Public Innovation

    FR0025, 2015, Capacity Building

  47. Starred commitment Protect Against Conflicts of Interest

    FR0026, 2015, Anti-Corruption

  48. Civil Society & Transparency in COP21 Conference Planning

    FR0027, 2015, Environment and Climate

  49. Open Data and Climate/Sustainable Development

    FR0028, 2015, Access to Information

  50. Collaborate with Civil Society on Climate and Sustainable Development

    FR0029, 2015, Environment and Climate

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