Conditions for OGP Participation (DE0001)
Action Plan: Germany National Action Plan 2017-2019
Action Plan Cycle: 2017
Lead Institution: Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI)
Support Institution(s): Federal ministries20, state authorities, local authorities
Description: Creating the basis to promote open government and formalize OGP participation in Germany. Aim: Optimizing the process of drafting and evaluating Germany’s National Action Plans inside and outside the government. Meeting the OGP requirements, in particular regarding transparent procedures, awareness-raising and online and offline participation. Status quo: This first action plan is the basis for efforts in the framework of OGP participation and brings attention to open government across policy areas. While OGP countries are largely free to shape the participation process, this requires a structured approach taking into account the national context. There is a need for definitions and information on what OGP participation means for public administrations and stakeholders. Ambition: An inclusive, transparent and orderly OGP participation process promotes open government discussions in Germany and the sustainability of the measures. By implementing this commitment, participation processes will become structured and accessible to relevant stakeholders, taking into account federal structures. New or ongoing: new Implemented by: Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) Organizations involved in implementation: Federal ministries20, state authorities, local authorities Organizational unit and contact: Division O1, O1@bmi.bund.de Open government values addressed: Participation, accountability, transparency, innovation Relevance: This commitment creates key prerequisites for further OGP participation. All dimensions of open government are affected.
IRM Midterm Status Summary
1. Creating Framework Conditions for OGP Participation
Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan: 
“Creating the basis to promote open government and formalize OGP participation in Germany.”
- Commissioning a study to analyse the potential of open government in the Federal Government across policy areas
- Developing a strategy for drafting and evaluating future OGP action plans, including
- schedule and coordination structures
- assessment of needs and efforts
- consulting stakeholders
- taking into account state and local authorities (decision of the IT Planning Council at its 22nd meeting)
- public relations
- Setting up an official German OGP website, including a newsletter, online participation and information
- Implementing the strategy (1.2) at the beginning of the drafting period of the second action plan
- Developing guidelines on how open government works at local level on the basis of the Modellkommune Open Government project
- Carrying out information events (for government officials and stakeholders)
- Participating in events (e.g. OGP Global Summit) and relevant bodies (e.g. OGP Anti-Corruption Working Group) to introduce the German action plan and engage in expert dialogue at national and international level
Start Date: July 2017
End Date: June 2019
Context and Objectives
According to the action plan, “there is a need for definitions and information on what OGP participation means for public administrations and stakeholders.” Several interviewees confirmed a lack of German-language promotional and training materials on open government. 
The commitment seeks to lay the foundation for institutionalizing the OGP structure and processes in Germany. This commitment highlights room for improvement in achieving a fully participatory action plan design process. It also generates visibility and accountability for steps in this direction.
The proposed activities cover background research, strategy development, implementation, and communication activities. A study to be commissioned will provide input on a strategy for further action plan design and implementation procedures. Upgrading the website and expanding other outreach activities will provide more visibility for engagement opportunities. These actions will also produce more OGP information at local levels and lay the foundation for bringing states and local-level governments into the action plan process. Because it seeks to make the OGP process more visible, understandable, and accessible, the commitment is relevant to the OGP values of access to information and civic participation. Consulting stakeholders to develop a strategy for the next action plan makes the commitment relevant to civic participation.
The milestones are generally verifiable—i.e., one can check whether a strategy document has been produced or a website has been set up. Yet they are not specific enough. They do not include implementation-related quality parameters that would make it easier to render a reliable judgment on their potential impact. For example, they do not include impact-oriented baselines or results, or stakeholder assessment criteria (for Milestones 1.1 and 1.3). It is not clear whether the envisaged milestones, even if fully implemented, in aggregate would be sufficient to achieve a fully inclusive OGP process. Full realization of the commitment would represent a minor impact in opening government, as the ambition of this commitment is limited to the OGP process. However, through OGP participation, Germany should already adhere to OGP’s co-creation standards, which entail a formalized, co-creative process.
The IRM researcher recommends that a set of implementation, outcome, and impact-oriented performance indicators be defined and tracked as part of the internal monitoring and learning regarding this commitment.
- Indicators that could be considered include:
- percentage increase of unique year-on-year monthly visitors or rolling three-month average change of visitors versus a baseline;
- number of key strategy elements judged as fully implemented by a majority of surveyed stakeholders; and
- increase in number of government representatives and local- and state-level participants in second action plan process.
- During the implementation of all milestones, adhere to the OGP spirit and open draft deliverables for feedback or consultation with civil society.
- As visibility with and active engagement by senior political leadership has been widely described as an area requiring further attention,  specify and include involvement by senior-level officials as explicit elements in Milestones 1.6 and 1.7.
- For the next action plan, commitments to improve the OGP process need not be included in the action plan, as process improvements should occur automatically.
 The direct quotes from the commitment text reproduced here, and for all subsequent commitments, cover the general description of the commitment and its milestones. Due to space constraints, the direct quotes do not include other sections. The unabridged English version of the first national action plan is available at https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/germany-action-plan-2019-2021/.
 Three interviews with government representatives, two interviews with civil society. To ensure widespread buy-in and an open, conversational atmosphere, all interviews were conducted under the default condition that no direct attribution to specific persons, ministries, or other institutions would be used.
 Four interviews with government officials, four interviews with civil society.
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