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Netherlands

‘Open by Design’ Pilots (NL0033)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Netherlands Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Rijk aan Informatie programme

Support Institution(s): • Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, confirmed • Municipality of Bodegraven-Reeuwijk, confirmed • Dutch National Archives (advice regarding sustainable accessibility), confirmed • Province of Zuid-Holland (tbc) • Municipality of Utrecht (tbc) • ILT (tbc) • Other ministries, provinces, municipalities • Instituut Maatschappelijke Innovatie (Institute for Social Innovation) (advice and coordination) • Open State Foundation

Policy Areas

Access to Information, E-Government, Open Data, Open Regulations, Records Management

IRM Review

IRM Report: Netherlands Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

‘Open by Design’ pilots
Start and end dates of the action point: 1 July 2018 - 30 June 2020
Main action owner (organisation) Rijk aan Informatie programme
Description of the action point
Which social issue does the action point seek to address? A lot of government information was already openly available in the Netherlands in 2018. But at the same time, there is much more government information that could be made publicly available without any problem. However, practical considerations prevent this information from being made public now.
This is a problem since the public availability of government information is considered to be a democratic obligation. Information that is financed by public funds should in principle also be available to the public. Citizens are entitled to see what is done with their tax money, which rules apply, what policy is initiated, which permits are granted, and what the government does.

Furthermore, government information is an important resource that new products or services can be based on and it thus makes a contribution to the economy and to innovation.

Active openness can also contribute to pushing back costly and time-intensive requests under the Dutch Open Government Act (Wet Openbaarheid van Bestuur - WOB).

And finally, if government information is openly available, this will contribute to the possibilities to monitor government actions, thus preventing waste. Making information publicly available enables benchmarking and comparing the performance of different authorities.

Active openness should therefore be arranged at the start of the primary process: ‘Open by Design’. If active openness remains confined to the ‘ex post’ earmarking of a number of documents or datasets that are suited to actively being made openly available, the extent and topicality of these documents and this data will always be limited. This will lead to extra work, arbitrariness, and greatly outdated files.
What is the action point? To achieve proper access to government information, it is important that openness and open standards are taken into consideration as much as possible when designing information systems. In order to establish what this means for information systems, experience will have to be gathered through a number of pilots. Open standards, open formats for reusability, meta data and linked data for findability and cohesion, privacy, security and accessibility are aspects that come into play here.

Some five to ten government organisations are therefore going to start pilots with ‘Open by Design’, where the openness of some categories of information is controlled and fine-tuned in the ‘engine room of public administration’.

How will the action point contribute to remedying the social issue? Citizens, companies and community organisations will get up-to-date information about various subjects, e.g. permits, government performance, financial information, research reports. Sharing knowledge and information will put other parties in a better position to develop policy alternatives or build new apps (similar to the Buienradar weather forecast app, but then for applications concerning safety and security, education, healthcare, sustainability, parking, etc.).

Steps for the individual pilots:

1. Intake, go or no go
2. Exploration of information categories. Which categories of government information are suitable for 'open by design'? Identify 1-3 categories for a pilot.
3. Quick scan of technical options. Which technical routes are possible in terms of system requirements? How to deal with privacy and security? What seems to be the most logical method of granting access: through a website, portal, open municipal council information system or otherwise?
4. Process and organisation. What is needed in terms of process, organisation, finances? What will it mean for the behaviour of the employees involved?
5. Implementation of pilot, rapid prototyping.
6. Conclusions and recommendations. Functional requirements for information systems. Possible follow-up steps.

Why is this action point relevant to OGP values? Open by Design will contribute to more information being released and to its quality and accessibility being improved.

Open by Design will also improve the opportunities for the public to influence decisions. Publishing proposed legislation (legislative consultation), policy evaluations and research reports, or the agendas of administrative bodies will offer the public the opportunity to participate and to provide their input.

And it is also relevant to public accountability.

Additional information
The ‘Open by Design’ pilots intersect with other government programmes such as Rijk aan Informatie, the MOOI (Modernisation of the publication of government information) programme and the efforts of VNG Realisatie concerning Open Municipal Council Information.
Milestone with a verifiable result (please note: SMART) Start date: End date:
Recruiting participating partners, the goal is 5-10 authorities (ministries, provinces, municipalities, implementing bodies) 01 March 2018 30 November 2018
Start of pilots in individual organisations 01 July 2018 30 June 2019
Sharing of knowledge among participating organisations (semi-annual meeting). 01 July 2018 30 June 2020
Conclusions and recommendations for follow-up, per organisation 01 January 2019 30 April 2020
General conclusions and recommendations, advice on broad approach and roll-out. 01 January 2020 30 June 2020
Contact information
Name of the responsible person representing the main action owner Jacqueline Rutjens
Position, organisational unit Programme director of the Rijk aan Informatie programme
Email and phone number Jacqueline.Rutjens@minbzk.nl, 06 4813 7690Other actors involved Authorities involved • Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, confirmed
• Municipality of Bodegraven-Reeuwijk, confirmed
• Dutch National Archives (advice regarding sustainable accessibility), confirmed
• Province of Zuid-Holland (tbc)
• Municipality of Utrecht (tbc)
• ILT (tbc)
• Other ministries, provinces, municipalities

Other organisations or bodies (such as community organisations or the private sector) • Instituut Maatschappelijke Innovatie (Institute for Social Innovation) (advice and coordination)
• Open State Foundation

IRM Midterm Status Summary

8. ‘Open by Design’ pilots

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

To achieve proper access to government information, it is important that openness and open standards are taken into consideration as much as possible when designing information systems. In order to establish what this means for information systems, experience will have to be gathered through a number of pilots. Open standards, open formats for reusability, meta data and linked data for findability and cohesion, privacy, security and accessibility are aspects that come into play here.

Some five to ten government organisations are therefore going to start pilots with ‘Open by Design’, where the openness of some categories of information is controlled and fine-tuned in the ‘engine room of public administration’. [33]

Milestones

8.1. Recruiting participating partners, the goal is 5-10 authorities (ministries, provinces, municipalities, other implementing bodies).

8.2. Start of pilots in individual organizations.

8.3. Sharing of knowledge among participating organizations (semi-annual meeting).

8.4. Conclusions and recommendations for follow-up, per organization.

8.5. General conclusions and recommendations, advice on broad approach and roll-out.

Start Date: March 2018     

End Date: June 2020

Context and Objectives

Proactive disclosure of government-held information, namely the principle that information is publicly available prior to a freedom of information request, is essential in fostering transparency and openness of government. In the Netherlands, disclosure of more data happened over time, for instance, as part of the previous action plan. [34]

This commitment aims to test in several decentralized governments whether previously undisclosed information can be opened ‘by design’ in order to fine-tune and control openness in public administration. However, while the milestones are verifiable overall, they are not specific. The work only mentions general activities such as starting a pilot (8.2), sharing knowledge among participants (8.3) and drafting and disseminating recommendations (8.4 and 8.5). It is also unclear via what mechanism disclosure it would take place and what exact information is envisaged. The introductory text mentions more detailed plans regarding the design of pilot projects and includes important guiding questions, such as what categories of government information are suitable for ‘open by design’, as well as enquiries on what technical tools and instruments would be required for its implementation. However, those deliberations and their possible answers were not carried over in any of the milestones. Depending on the answers to those questions, sequencing could become an important consideration for the pilot to succeed, but this is not reflected on.

Provided that pilots proceed successfully, this work is relevant to the OGP value of access to information. Given the unclear formulation of the exact types of government information to be disclosed, the absence of a clear timeline, and description of the process that leads to information creation, its potential impact is scored as minor.

Next steps

The IRM researcher recommends the following:

  • Prioritize discussions over the right technical solution and challenges owing to the use of different systems across government, while linking it to sequence and milestones.
  • Construct the pilots to provide answers on what a good portal for proactive publication looks like and functions. Involve and identify end-users as well as those that enter or manage the data currently; share ownership in going forward with such stakeholders.
  • In consultation with citizens, CSOs, journalists, activists, etc., develop a list of information categories that are considered most valuable or important for open government; i.e. budget documents, commercial contracts, financial reports, and use that to select what information should first be made open by design and why.
  • Explore the synergies with other commitments in the action plan. In particular Open Raads Informatie, Open Wob and Open Contracting could be considered as open by design pilots as they all deal with high-value topics (policy reports and documents, budget and contracts, freedom of information, etc.). In doing so, the government could actively seek to prevent duplication of efforts, and pool possible resources and goodwill, as well as promote shared solutions as much as possible, particularly with involved DMS experts and architects early on.

[33] The complete text of this commitment, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Netherlands_Action-Plan_2018-2020_EN.pdf

[34] Netherlands OGP Action Plan 2016-2018, Commitment 4: active publication of information, pg. 11, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/LR_91332_Actieplan_ENG_v2_0.pdf


Commitments

  1. Local Digital Democracy

    NL0028, 2018, E-Government

  2. Dilemma Logic

    NL0029, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. Join EITI

    NL0030, 2018, Access to Information

  4. Open Algorithms

    NL0031, 2018, Automated Decision-Making

  5. Open Local Decision-Making

    NL0032, 2018, Access to Information

  6. ‘Open by Design’ Pilots

    NL0033, 2018, Access to Information

  7. Open Contracting

    NL0034, 2018, Access to Information

  8. Open Parliament

    NL0035, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  9. Open Government Standard and Dashboard

    NL0036, 2018, Access to Information

  10. Pioneering Network for an Open Government for Municipalities

    NL0037, 2018, Capacity Building

  11. Transparent Political Party Finance

    NL0038, 2018, Legislation & Regulation

  12. National Open Data Agenda

    NL0019, 2016, Access to Information

  13. Stuiveling Open Data Award

    NL0020, 2016, Access to Information

  14. Groningen Open Data Re-Use

    NL0021, 2016, Access to Information

  15. Releasing Ministerial Research Reports

    NL0022, 2016, Access to Information

  16. Detailed Open Spending Data

    NL0023, 2016, Access to Information

  17. Open Local Authority Decision-Making

    NL0024, 2016, Access to Information

  18. Training Civil Servants on Public Participation

    NL0025, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Easier Freedom of Information Requests

    NL0026, 2016, Access to Information

  20. Open Government Expertise Centre (LEOO)

    NL0027, 2016, Access to Information

  21. Further Develop and Promote Disclosure and Use of Open Data

    NL0001, 2013, Access to Information

  22. Increase Financial Transparency Through Open Budget and Experiments with Open Spending and Budget Monitoring

    NL0002, 2013, Access to Information

  23. Open House of Representatives

    NL0003, 2013, E-Government

  24. Instruments for Integrity

    NL0004, 2013, Anti-Corruption

  25. Revamp the Legislative Calendar

    NL0005, 2013, Access to Information

  26. More Online Consultation

    NL0006, 2013, E-Government

  27. More Transparency in Decision-Making Through Volgdewet.Nl Legislation-Tracking Website

    NL0007, 2013, Access to Information

  28. Informal Approach to Freedom of Information Requests

    NL0008, 2013, Access to Information

  29. From Rules to Freedom

    NL0009, 2013, Public Participation

  30. Change Attitudes and Procedures Through Smarter Working and ‘Public Servant 2.0’

    NL0010, 2013, Capacity Building

  31. Water Coalition

    NL0011, 2013, Public Participation

  32. Develop and Implement Participation Policy at the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment

    NL0012, 2013, Public Participation

  33. Make Government Information Accessible and Easy to Find

    NL0013, 2013, Capacity Building

  34. Make Citizens Better Informed and More Empowered: Public Inspection and Correction of Information

    NL0014, 2013, E-Government

  35. Open Announcements and Notifications

    NL0015, 2013, E-Government

  36. Public Services and the User Perspective

    NL0016, 2013, E-Government

  37. Designate Categories of Government Information for Active Access

    NL0017, 2013, Access to Information

  38. Rethink Information Management and Active Access: Four ‘Open by Design’ Pilot Projects

    NL0018, 2013, Access to Information

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