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Norway

Public review and public consultation (NO0020)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Norway Action Plan 2013-2015

Action Plan Cycle: 2013

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: FAD/JD/KUD

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: Norway End-of-Term Report 2014-2015

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Civic Participation , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

The purpose of the Norwegian public consultation system is twofold:
 To provide the best possible basis for making public policy decisions (the
quality aspect)
 To ensure that affected parties and other stakeholders have the opportunity to
express their opinions (the democratic aspect)

New Instructions for Official Studies and Reports are to be drafted. The objective is to
improve the basis for decisions in the public administration. The objective is to enhance the
basis for public authority decisions. More efficient use of new technology is one of the
means available to achieve better involvement of stakeholders and the public.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

1. Public review and public consultation

Commitment Text:

[…] The purpose of the Norwegian public consultation system is twofold:

-          • To provide the best possible basis for making public policy decisions (the quality aspect)

-          • To ensure that affected parties and other stakeholders have the opportunity to express their opinions (the democratic aspect)

The Norwegian consultation process has two stages:

1.       Proposals are made by government-appointed committees.

2.       The proposals from such committees are submitted for public consultation. […]

COMMITMENT DESCRIPTION

New Instructions for Official Studies and Reports are to be drafted. The objective is to improve the basis for decisions in the public administration. The objective is to enhance the basis for public authority decisions. More efficient use of new technology is one of the means available to achieve better involvement of stakeholders and the public.

KEY IMPACT BENCHMARK
New Instructions for Official Studies and Reports are to be drafted.

Responsible institution: Ministry of Government Administration, Reform and Church Affairs

Supporting institution(s): Ministry of Justice; Ministry of Culture

Start date: Unclear               End date: Unclear

Editorial note: The text of the commitments was abridged for formatting reasons. For full text of the commitment, please see http://bit.ly/1QlVIja.

Policy Aim

The Norwegian government has emphasized that openness and public consultation are a core aspect of the Norwegian model of governance. This is represented by a myriad of policy mechanisms across different Norwegian institutions and policy processes. This commitment concerns revisions to the Instructions for Official Studies and Reports, which are guidelines that dictate how government officials assess the potential impacts of new policy. These guidelines were first established in 2000,[Note 1: “Instructions for Official Studies and Reports,” Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation, accessed September 4, 2016, https://www.regjeringen.no/en/dokumenter/instructions-for-official-studies-2/id419236/.] and the revisions under consideration were intended to improve standards for the evidence-based policy decisions.[Note 2: ”Utredningsinstrukesn,” Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation, last updated February 2, 2016, accessed September 4, 2016, https://www.regjeringen.no/no/dokumenter/instruks-om-utredning-av-statlige-tiltak-utredningsinstruksen/id2476518/.] The guidelines are broad, applying to all public authority initiatives with public impact, and include minimum guidelines for public consultation and socio-economic impact analysis. The guidelines and guidance on how they are to be applied are maintained by the Norwegian Government Agency for Financial Management.[Note 3: Ibid.]

Status

Midterm: Limited
The Instructions for Official Studies and Reports manual was reviewed. Work was proceeding slowly due to extensive internal government consultation, particularly in the Ministry of Culture, Innovation and Administration, and the Ministry of Justice. No draft materials were available for review by the IRM researcher, who was unable to identify any use of technology prioritized in the review in interviews with government focal points, as specified in the language of the commitment.

End-of-term: Complete
A new Instructions for Official Studies and Reports manual was published in February 2016,[Note 4: Ibid.] and applies to all administrative bodies, including municipal agencies. The new guidelines include a focus on early engagement and public consultations with affected communities and citizens, but contain no reference to technology as specified in the commitment. At the same time, there has been significant progress made at the national level, and the government website (http://regjering.no) has been “modernized” to include electronic consultations and to archive and centralize records produced by all government ministries in a single web location.[Note 5: “Oversyn over høyringssaker,” Norwegian Government Security and Service Organisation, accessed September 4, 2016, https://www.regjeringen.no/no/dokument/hoyringar/oversyn-over-hoyringssaker/id546535/. ]

Did it open government?

Access to information: Marginal

Civic participation: Did not change

The broad scope of the new instructions to include all decisions made by all government agencies will be a positive step towards improving civic participation if it leads to consultations conducted by more types of government agencies. The inclusion of strong minimum requirements for public consultations and risk assessments before implementing new policy is also a positive step. Generally, the IRM researcher believes the new instructions are likely to increase the potential for civic participation in public policy formation, though the actual outputs in terms of policy formation will be determined in specific instances. The IRM researcher assumes that the instructions are already being used, given that the Norwegian Government Agency for Financial Management offers a number of courses and answers government agencies’ questions on how to implement the instructions.[Note 6: ”Utrednings instruksen,” Norwegian Government Agency for Financial Management, accessed October 29, 2016, https://dfo.no/fagomrader/utredningsinstruksen/.] However, there is no information available, as government agencies are not required to report on how the instructions are applied, and no government agency has a mandate for collecting relevant experiences. Thus, the IRM researcher is unable to assess whether and how the instructions are implemented, and whether they have had an impact on access to information or civic participation. How the guidelines are implemented and used will rely on political and contextual factors on a case-by-case basis.

The addition of electronic consultations to the government website is also a positive development. Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation representatives interviewed for this report noted that electronic consultations are, in principle, more inclusive than formal consultative practices since they are openly posted on the internet, instead of notifications only being sent to a discrete list of known actors.[Note 7: Tom Arne Nygaard and Terie Drystad, interview by Christopher Wilson, in-person interview, Offices of the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation, September 31, 2016.] The centralization of consultation records, including documentation of submissions to previous consultations (dating back to 1997),[Note 8: Ibid.] is also an important step towards improved access to information through the use of technology. Government representatives note that these developments are substantively linked to this commitment,[Note 9: Ibid.] and given the fact that they made information more easily accessible to the public, the IRM researcher considers that they have had a marginal impact in opening government practice.

Carried forward?

This commitment has not been carried forward in the Norwegian government’s third national action plan, which is available on the OGP website.[Note 10: ”Norway’s third action plan Open Government Partnership (OGP),” Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation, accessed September 4, 2016, http://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Norway_2016-17_NAP.pdf.]


Norway's Commitments

  1. Archiving documents

    NO0054, 2019, Capacity Building

  2. Making energy statistics available

    NO0055, 2019, E-Government

  3. E-access and expansion

    NO0056, 2019, Civic Space

  4. open cultural data

    NO0057, 2019, E-Government

  5. Digital spatial Planning

    NO0058, 2019, E-Government

  6. streamline public procurement

    NO0059, 2019, E-Government

  7. Preventing corruption

    NO0060, 2019, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  8. beneficial ownership registry

    NO0061, 2019, Beneficial Ownership

  9. User orientation

    NO0045, 2016, Capacity Building

  10. Electronic Public Records (OEP)

    NO0046, 2016, E-Government

  11. Transparency regarding environmental information

    NO0047, 2016, E-Government

  12. Starred commitment Disclosure of financial data

    NO0048, 2016, E-Government

  13. Transparency regarding rainforest funds

    NO0049, 2016, E-Government

  14. State employees’ ownership of shares

    NO0050, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  15. Promote freedom of expression and independent media

    NO0051, 2016, Civic Space

  16. Country-by-country reporting

    NO0052, 2016, Extractive Industries

  17. Register for ultimate beneficial ownership

    NO0053, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  18. Public review and public consultation

    NO0020, 2013, Capacity Building

  19. Registering and preserving digital documentation produced by public bodies

    NO0021, 2013, E-Government

  20. The Norwegian Citizen Survey (Innbyggerundersøkelsen)

    NO0022, 2013, Public Participation

  21. Whistleblowing

    NO0023, 2013, Whistleblower Protections

  22. Strengthened information exchange for more efficient crime prevention and combating

    NO0024, 2013, Justice

  23. Strengthening the transparency of public authorities and administration

    NO0025, 2013, Capacity Building

  24. eGovernment with an end-user focus

    NO0026, 2013, E-Government

  25. Plain Legal Language

    NO0027, 2013, Capacity Building

  26. Norwegian Grants Portal (MFA)

    NO0028, 2013, Aid

  27. An international convention or agreement on financial transparency

    NO0029, 2013, Private Sector

  28. Reducing conflicts of interests – Post-Employment Regulations

    NO0030, 2013, Conflicts of Interest

  29. Centre for Integrity in the Defence Sector

    NO0031, 2013, Security

  30. A better overview of committees, boards and councils – more public access to information and better opportunities for further use

    NO0032, 2013, E-Government

  31. Modernizing Public Governance

    NO0033, 2013, Capacity Building

  32. Transparency in the management of oil and gas revenues

    NO0034, 2013, Extractive Industries

  33. Transparency in the management of the Government Pension Fund (GPF)

    NO0035, 2013, E-Government

  34. Transparency and anti-corruption efforts

    NO0036, 2013, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  35. The municipal sector

    NO0037, 2013, Education

  36. “Simplify” (“Enkelt og greit”)

    NO0038, 2013, E-Government

  37. Electronic Public Records (OEP) – (Offentlig elektronisk postjournal)

    NO0039, 2013, E-Government

  38. Re-use of public sector information (PSI)

    NO0040, 2013, Capacity Building

  39. Access to health data

    NO0041, 2013, E-Government

  40. Renewal of the Government’s website (regjeringen.no – government.no)

    NO0042, 2013, E-Government

  41. Declaration of principles for interaction and dialogue with NGOs

    NO0043, 2013, Capacity Building

  42. Simplification and digital administration of arrangements for NGOs

    NO0044, 2013, Capacity Building

  43. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government

    NO0001, 2011, Capacity Building

  44. Measures to promote gender equality and women’s full participation in civic life, the private sector, the public administration and political processes.

    NO0002, 2011, Gender

  45. Gender Equality – Participation in the Private Sector

    NO0003, 2011, Gender

  46. Increase Women's Representation in Local Government

    NO0004, 2011, Gender

  47. Gender Equality Program

    NO0005, 2011, Gender

  48. Gender Equality – Inclusion of Immigrant Women

    NO0006, 2011, Gender

  49. Gender Equality – Combat Gender Stereotypes

    NO0007, 2011, Gender

  50. Gender Equality – Youth Initiatives

    NO0008, 2011, Gender

  51. Gender Equality – Combat Domestic Violence

    NO0009, 2011, Gender

  52. Transparency in the management of oil and gas revenues / financial transparency

    NO0010, 2011, Aid

  53. Transparency in the Management of Oil and Gas Revenues / Financial Transparency – Government Global Pension Fund

    NO0011, 2011, Fiscal Transparency

  54. Transparency in the Management of Oil and Gas Revenues / Financial Transparency – Combat Tax Evasion

    NO0012, 2011, Fiscal Transparency

  55. Transparency in the Management of Oil and Gas Revenues / Financial Transparency – Multi-National Companies

    NO0013, 2011, Fiscal Transparency

  56. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government – Create Central Communication Policy

    NO0014, 2011, Fiscal Transparency

  57. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government

    NO0015, 2011, E-Government

  58. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government – Public Data Use

    NO0016, 2011, Public Participation

  59. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government – National Statistic Publication

    NO0017, 2011, Open Data

  60. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government – National Public Opinion Survey

    NO0018, 2011, Records Management

  61. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government

    NO0019, 2011, Public Participation