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Netherlands

Pioneering Network for an Open Government for Municipalities (NL0037)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Netherlands Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Municipality of Schiedam

Support Institution(s): Municipality of Utrecht Leer- en Expertisepunt Open Overheid (Open Government Learning and Expertise Centre)

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, Local Commitments

IRM Review

IRM Report: Netherlands Transitional Results Report 2018-2020, Netherlands Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: No IRM Data

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Pioniersnetwerk Open Overheid voor Gemeenten (Pioneering Network for an Open Government for Municipalities)
Start and end dates of the action point: 1 July 2018 - 30 June 2020
Main action owner (organisation) Municipality of Schiedam
Description of the action point
Which social issue does the action point seek to address? • Citizens are entitled to information, but they cannot always easily get what they are entitled to, or they simply cannot find the information. Local residents do not always feel involved with or heard by their municipality. To change this, it is important that efforts are undertaken to make municipalities open and transparent.
• An open and transparent municipality does not come into existence all by itself: it requires a culture of openness where public officials understand the added value of openness and transparency. Achieving this may be challenging and will often call for a pioneering mentality in an organisation.
• The Pioniersnetwerk Open Overheid wants to help with this: it connects these pioneers together to enable them to share knowledge and experiences, to inspire each other and to work together.
What is the action point? • Meetings will be held every three months. The venue can differ from meeting to meeting.
• Each meeting will address different topics and can take on different forms. E.g.: a knowledge session with an expert or an Open Government lab addressing a real-life case study according to Design Thinking. A conference preceded by a call for papers is also possible. Another option is to organise a meeting aimed at residents once a year and invite them to come to the town hall for the meeting.
• Every meeting will have a guest chair. This will be a municipality from the Pioniersnetwerk.
• It should be explored whether/how an online platform might support the pioneering network, or whether this might be done through the website of the LEOO (open-government.nl).
How will the action point contribute to remedying the social issue? The goal of the Pioniersnetwerk is to bring together municipal officials who work in the field of Open Government in order to:
• Exchange knowledge, experiences, and best practices;
• Collaborate and develop innovative clout;
• Prevent the ‘reinvention of the wheel’;
• Provide inspiration and energy to make municipalities more open;
• All this will contribute to the ultimate goal: more openness for local residents so that they will have more and better access to information, and feel more involved and heard.
Why is this action point relevant to OGP values? The goal of the pioneering network is to address all OGP topics: transparency and civic participation as well as public accountability. In connection with these OGP values, knowledge will be shared, parties will be working together, more support will be created for Open Government and the skills of government officials will be strengthened, in order to create more openness for residents.

Additional information
Milestone with a verifiable result (please note: SMART) Start date: End date:
Q1-Q2 2018 Preparing concrete plans, writing to municipalities, mapping topics 01/01/2018 29/06/2018
Kicking off the pioneering network 01/09/2018
Eight meetings on specific topics, one every three months (including reports + publication of the reports on open-government.nl) 01/10/2018 01/07/2020
Interim evaluation among participating municipalities 01/09/2019 01/11/2019
Online magazine with lessons learned and practical experiences (2x) First edition: Q2 2019 Second edition: Q2 2020
Contact information
Name of the responsible person representing the main action owner Marijn Kuitert and Marlies van den Hende
Position, organisational unit Programme manager and director, municipality of Schiedam
Email and phone number m.kuitert@schiedam.nl
m.vd.hende@schiedam.nl / +31(0)6 50 60 70 51Other actors involved Authorities involved Municipality of Utrecht
Leer- en Expertisepunt Open Overheid (Open Government Learning and Expertise Centre)

Other organisations or bodies (such as community organisations or the private sector)

IRM Midterm Status Summary

3. Pioneering Network for an Open Government for Municipalities

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

  1. Meetings will be held every three months. The venue can differ from meeting to meeting.
  2. Each meeting will address different topics and can take on different forms. E.g.: a knowledge session with an expert or an Open Government lab addressing a real-life case study according to Design Thinking. A conference preceded by a call for papers is also possible. Another option is to organise a meeting aimed at residents once a year and invite them to come to the town hall for the meeting.
  3. Every meeting will have a guest chair. This will be a municipality from the Pioniersnetwerk.
  4. It should be explored whether/how an online platform might support the pioneering network, or whether this might be done through the website of the LEOO (open-government.nl). [13]

Milestones

3.1. Q1-Q2 2018 Preparing concrete plans, writing to municipalities, mapping topics.

3.2. Kicking off the pioneering network

3.3. Eight meetings on specific topics, one every three months (including reports + publication of the reports on open-government.nl

3.4 Interim evaluation among participating municipalities.

3.5. Online magazine with lessons learned and practical experiences(2x).

Start Date: January 2018     

End Date: June 2020

Context and Objectives

The municipality of Schiedam has been proactively pioneering open government in the Netherlands at the local level. Since 2016, its local council, as well as executive council, have adopted a number of policies and memoranda to open local government. Confidential documents are, for instance, virtually abolished [14] and Schiedam has prioritized strengthening local democracy and citizen democracy and open data in its work. In order to do so, they have also made EUR 75,000 available as part of an innovation budget for two years. [15]

In the spirit of this work, this commitment aims to establish a network of Dutch municipalities and their staff who are considered pioneers (such as Schiedam) in which they can share their experiences, knowledge, and thoughts. The idea is to connect them with their peers and help cultivate the energy and mentality that is conducive for such innovations to progress. It also mentions one would want to prevent reinvention of the wheel. Ultimately, the goal is for residents to have better access to information and feel more involved and better heard. Given the ambition to boost overall transparency of government decision-making, it is relevant to the OGP value of access to information.

The goal and planned activities are verifiable. The commitment mentions a number of specific gatherings to be organized, and also includes monitoring and evaluation elements. At the same time, success is not clearly defined yet, as was also mentioned in interviews with government stakeholders. Furthermore, there could be thematic overlap with some of the other commitments in the action plan that are pioneering new tools to boost access to information and active citizenship (particularly Commitments 1, 5, 8, and 11). That overlap is not formally recognized in the design of the commitment, and as such coherence and possible synergies risk being lost during implementation. Therefore, the potential impact of the commitment is considered minor.

Next steps

The IRM researcher recommends mapping the pre-requisites for success by explicitly linking the network to other relevant commitments in the action plan. In doing so, the IRM researcher recommends fleshing out how the network can also be complementary to such existing thematic activities, what members it aims to have (local leadership and on what level of seniority, political representatives or not, etc.), and explore what functions it could host (aside from convening perhaps also commission research, actively scout for pioneering initiatives throughout the country, etc.), and if and how the network should be institutionalized and what outputs its members would like it to have. These questions will also beg reflections on scale and budget. In addition, the IRM researcher recommends establishing formal contact with CSOs, particularly those from municipalities where pioneering activities are taking place and solicit their views and involvement in the sharing of experiences.

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

[14] https://www.schiedam.nl/a-tot-z/open-schiedam

[15] idem

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 3. Pioneering Network for Open Government for Municipalities

Limited

According to the government’s self-assessment, two meetings were organized at the local government level in 2019 (one in Schiedam and one in Utrecht). [8] Participants shared their experiences around open government work, such as how to proactively disclose information while respecting privacy regulations, and experiences with a locally appointed information commissioner. Future activities were planned but did not materialize due to an insufficient number of participants. In addition, some of the staff leading this work were on leave for much of the action plan period. As the commitment lacked sufficient fallback options to ensure continuation of the activities, it saw only limited completion.

[8] Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, End-of-Term Self-Assessment Report, p 27, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Netherlands_End-of-Term_Self-Assessment_2018-2020_EN.pdf

Commitments

Open Government Partnership