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Germany

Conditions for OGP Participation (DE0001)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Germany National Action Plan 2017-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI)

Support Institution(s): Federal ministries20, state authorities, local authorities

Policy Areas

IRM Review

IRM Report: Germany Implementation Report 2017-2019, Germany Design Report 2017-2019

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

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: [1]

“Creating the basis to promote open government and formalize OGP participation in Germany.”

Milestones:

  • 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. [2]

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.

Next steps

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, [3] 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.

[1] 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/.

[2] 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.

[3] Four interviews with government officials, four interviews with civil society.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

1. Creating framework conditions for OGP participation

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan: [1]

“Creating the basis to promote open government and formalize OGP participation in Germany.”

Milestones:

  • 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

The commitment aimed to lay down practical foundations for Germany’s OGP engagement, an important undertaking given that this was Germany’s first action plan and the visibility of OGP was limited both within and outside the government. The commitment covered scoping research, developing strategies and guidelines, raising awareness, and engaging the international open government community.

This commitment saw substantial implementation by the end of the action plan period. It should be noted that the initial phase of Germany’s OGP engagement coincided with a prolonged phase of post-election government formation. The ensuing uncertainty on task assignment and public spending for commitments complicated the establishment of the structures and processes for OGP inside the government. This, however, had a greater effect on the development of the second action plan than on the implementation of the first plan.

Milestones 1.3-1.7 were fully implemented as described, albeit with some minor delays for 1.3 and 1.5. [2] A dedicated OGP website has been set up, along with a newsletter (1.3). [3] The design process for the second action plan (2019-2021) incorporated feedback received on the first action plan’s design, and also integrated commitments made by three German states (Bundesländer) (1.4). [4] The guidelines for opening government at the local level were prepared and published. [5] Government representatives convened information events and actively contributed to a number of open government-related events and thematic working groups at national and international levels (1.6 and 1.7). Examples include participation at the European Open Government Leaders’ Forum, [6] the Club of Venice Seminar on “Open Government and Open Data” in March 2019, and the 2019 OGP Global Summit. [7]

Implementation of milestone 1.1 is still ongoing with the scoping study on open government now expected in early 2020. Commissioning the production of this study from an academic institution rather than a consulting company might yield a more independent assessment, as implied in the government’s End-of-Term Self-Assessment Report. Nonetheless, the study could still be useful for informing the design and implementation of Germany’s future OGP action plans (beyond the second action plan).

The envisaged outputs for milestone 1.2 have been integrated into a set of events and activities carried out by the OGP team in the Federal Chancellery. [8]. The Federal Chancellery (and the national point of contact to OGP in particular) continues to receive high marks on its communication with stakeholders. [9] However, the publication of a consolidated document that describes the implementation and evaluation strategy could have been a useful reference point for continuous stakeholder input and ongoing refinement of the OGP process. This approach to evaluation could provide additional opportunities for building a stakeholder input component directly into the definition of milestones, success criteria, and related evaluation strategies.

As the commitment focused on formalizing the OGP process in Germany, it did not in itself contribute substantively to opening government. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that the visibility of open government, and of Germany’s engagement in OGP, is gradually growing both at the political and administrative levels and beyond the immediate OGP stakeholder community. [10] Such evidence includes a video message by Chancellor Angela Merkel on 31 August 2019 to highlight the importance of open government during the launch of the second action plan [11] and notable references to Germany’s OGP commitments in government documents and by expert commissions outside the OGP community. [12]

The federal government’s successful application to join the OGP Steering Committee, and the fact that the German delegation to the 2019 OGP Global Summit in Ottawa was led by the Minister of State for Digitalisation Dorothee Bär, further attests to this growing appreciation of OGP. [13] However, several civil society representatives and government officials suggest that general public visibility and awareness of OGP in Germany is still somewhat limited, particularly outside (but also to some extent inside) the open government/open data community. [14]

[1] Die direkten Zitate aus dem Text der Verpflichtung, die fuer dieses und alle folgenden Verpflichtungen an dieser Stelle wiedergegeben werden, beschraenken sich aus Platzgruenden auf die allgemeine Beschreibung der Verpflichtung, sowie die jeweiligen Meilensteine. Fuer die ungekuerzte deutsche Fassung des ersten nationalen Aktionsplanes siehe https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Germany_NAP_2017-2019_DE.pdf

[2] Die Umsetzung dieser Meilensteine ist im umfassend dokumentiert im Abschlussbericht der Bundesregierung zum ersten nationalen Aktionsplan 2017-2019, Meilenstein 12.5, http://open-government-kommunen.de/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Gebrauchsanleitung_Modellkommune-Open-Government.pdf

[3] Open Government Deutschland, https://www.open-government-deutschland.de/opengov-de

[4] Open Government Deutschland, https://www.open-government-deutschland.de/opengov-de/aktionsplaene-und-berichte/zweiter-nationaler-aktionsplan-1591034

[5] Leitlinien Open Government, http://open-government-kommunen.de/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Gebrauchsanleitung_Modellkommune-Open-Government.pdf

[6] Italia Open Gov, European Open Government Leaders’ Forum 2018, http://open.gov.it/saa/european-open-government-leaders-forum/

[7] Open Government Deutschland, https://www.open-government-deutschland.de/opengov-en/content/delegation-attended-the-ogp-global-summit-2019-1685490

[8] Fuer eine Zeitleiste der Veranstaltungen siehe https://www.open-government-deutschland.de/opengov-de/termine/zeitleiste-1591046

[9] Mehre Interviews mit RegierungsvertreterInnen und der Zivilgesellschaft bestaetigen dies.

[10] Das beinhaltet z.B. Verweise auf Deutschlands OGP Verpflichtungen in Regierungsdokumeten und Expertengremien, die ausserhalb des direkten OGP Themenbereiches agieren. Siehe z.B. Informationsveranstaltung zur Modellkommune, http://open-government-kommunen.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/2018_10_22-OGP-Modellkommunen-OpenGovernment-_-V01.pdf); Stellungnahme der Bundesregierung zum Fortschrittsbericht zur High Tech-Strategie 2025 (September 2019) (Durcksache 19/13030), http://dip21.bundestag.de/dip21/btd/19/130/1913030.pdf; 10. D-GEO Fortschrittsbericht, https://www.d-geo.de/docs/D-GEO_Fortschrittsbericht10_final.pdf (July 2018)

[11] Open Government Deutschland, https://www.open-government-deutschland.de/opengov-en/content/chancellor-announces-national-action-plan-1685508

[12] Informationsveranstaltung zur Modellkommune, http://open-government-kommunen.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/2018_10_22-OGP-Modellkommunen-OpenGovernment-_-V01.pdf; Gutachten der Datenethikkommission, https://www.bmi.bund.de/SharedDocs/downloads/DE/publikationen/themen/it-digitalpolitik/gutachten-datenethikkommission.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=6

[13] Open Government Deutschland, https://www.open-government-deutschland.de/opengov-en/content/delegation-attended-the-ogp-global-summit-2019-1685490

[14] Interview mit bekanntem Open Data Expertem; Medienstatistiken bereitgestellt von der zustaendigen Regierungsstelle.


Commitments

  1. Participatory Development of Research and Innovation Policy

    DE0022, 2019, Public Participation

  2. Participatory Creation of Regulatory Policy

    DE0023, 2019, Open Regulations

  3. Digital Strategy Pilot for Rural Regions

    DE0024, 2019, Public Service Delivery

  4. Open Government in North Rhine-Westphalia

    DE0025, 2019, Access to Information

  5. Policy Co-Creation in North Rhine-Westphalia

    DE0026, 2019, Land Rights and Spatial Planning

  6. Data Sovereignty in North Rhine-Westphalia

    DE0027, 2019, Access to Information

  7. Open Government Portal in Saxony

    DE0028, 2019, E-Government

  8. Open-Source Software in Public Administrations in Schleswig-Holstein

    DE0029, 2019, Subnational

  9. Regional Open Government Labs

    DE0016, 2019, Public Participation

  10. Civil Society Consulation on Foreign Policy

    DE0017, 2019,

  11. Create Youth Strategy

    DE0018, 2019, Marginalized Communities

  12. Craete Federal Agency for Digital Innovation

    DE0019, 2019,

  13. Transparency and Participation in International Aid

    DE0020, 2019, Access to Information

  14. Strengthen and Socialize Open Data Policy

    DE0021, 2019, Access to Information

  15. Conditions for OGP Participation

    DE0001, 2017,

  16. Open Data in Administrative Practice

    DE0002, 2017, Access to Information

  17. Open Data Environment

    DE0003, 2017, Access to Information

  18. Access to Spatial Data

    DE0004, 2017, Access to Information

  19. Financial Transparency - EITI Standard

    DE0005, 2017, Access to Information

  20. Transparency in Development Policy

    DE0006, 2017, Access to Information

  21. Open Data for Intelligent Mobility

    DE0007, 2017, Access to Information

  22. Citizen Participation in Environmental Policy and Urban Development

    DE0008, 2017, Capacity Building

  23. Electronic Procedures for Family Benefits

    DE0009, 2017, E-Government

  24. Knowledge Network for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex People

    DE0010, 2017, E-Government

  25. Local Alliances for Family Initiative

    DE0011, 2017, Public Participation

  26. Share of Women and Men in Leadership Positions, Private and Private Sectors

    DE0012, 2017, E-Government

  27. Open Access to Academic Literature

    DE0013, 2017, E-Government

  28. Science Year 2018

    DE0014, 2017, Public Participation

  29. Federal Competition “Living Together Hand in Hand”

    DE0015, 2017, Citizenship & Immigration

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