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São Paulo, Brazil

Expand the Training Program “Open Government Agents”, Becoming a Permanent Education and Citizenship Program, Ensuring Territorial Mobilization and Ramification in Order to Reach the Largest Number People in São Paulo. (SAO0002)



Action Plan: São Paulo, Brazil Action Plan

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Inactive


Lead Institution: São Paulo Aberta and Municipal Secretariat for International and Federative Relations

Support Institution(s): Municipal Secretariat for Culture, Office of the Municipal Comptroller and Municipal Secretariat for Institutional Relations; Social Movements and collectives, universities and actors engaged in the pilot project.

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, Local Commitments, Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: São Paulo IRM Report 2017

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i



Issue to be Addressed: Knowledge about open government initiatives and its related themes and tools are not accessible and/or attractive to the general public. Primary Objective: To guarantee the ongoing formative actions on open government through São Paulo Aberta’s Open Government Agents Program, optimizing and expanding it throughout the City of São Paulo, in order to reach a higher number of citizens and strengthen this continuous program of education and citizenship, allowing citizens to understand and take ownership of open government subjects. Short Description: This commitment aims to expand and strengthen the Open Government Agents Program to affect more citizens and spread throughout the city, reaching all the districts of the city. Beyond that, the commitment intends to assure its continuity as a program of political and citizen education. OGP Challenge: Knowledge sharing on open government and its structuring axes are fundamental for its valorization and recognition by citizens. Therefore, the commitment characterizes itself as a strategy to raise awareness and empower the population and encourage them to engage in the defense of local actions and policies to promote access to information, integrity, participation and technology innovation.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

2. Training: Expand and institutionalize the 'Open Government Agents' Training Program

Commitment text:

Expand the Training Program 'Open Government Agents', becoming a permanent education and citizenship program, ensuring territorial mobilization and ramification in order to reach the largest number people in São Paulo.


1. Map and identify the level of territorial participation in the program and, in partnership with other secretariats, entities, social movements, universities and actors involved in the pilot project, to reflect and elaborate a restructuring and expansion plan to spread the workshops and perpetuate the program.

2. Launch a public notice of the Open Government Agents Program with more vacancies to select innovative projects which reflect the city's diversity and develop a user-friendly language in order to democratise knowledge on open government.

3. Hold activities of Open Government Agents Program in each of the 32 Municipal Subprefectures (city districts) in partnership with public municipal venues, in accordance with the mapping and planning of the first milestone.

Commitment overview


Commitment Aim

Overall Objective & Relevance

This is an awareness-raising and capacity-building commitment for São Paulo citizens, local councilors (elected citizens taking part in local participatory councils), and civil servants. It focuses on open government concepts, tools, and initiatives. This commitment seeks to fill an awareness and knowledge gap on open government. It also aims to address the lack of citizen empowerment to take part in City Hall's open government initiatives, use open government tools and concepts, and disseminate open government culture.

Responding to these challenges, the commitment works to promote greater inclusivity and expand São Paulo Aberta's Open Government Agents Program, first launched in 2015. In 2017, Connected Smart Cities chose this program as one of the country's four best initiatives on public sector social innovations. Prefeitura de São Paulo, 'Programa Agentes de Governo Aberto é premiado no Fórum de Inovação Social no Setor Público,' 23 June 2017, Through this program, citizen-trainers (agents) host workshops to train civil servants, city councilors, and regular citizens (focusing on vulnerable youth) to use tools and mechanisms for participating in open government. These tools include how to file access to information requests, how to take part in participatory councils, and how to monitor local health policies. The citizen-trainers also instruct on how to monitor the public budget and how to create georeferenced maps for public services, among other tasks. For an official account of several of the previous trainings held during the first edition of the Open Government Agents Program, see São Paulo Aberta, Memória da Iniciativa São Paulo Aberta (São Paulo: Prefeitura de São Paulo, 2016),

Consequently, this commitment is first and foremost relevant to the value of civic participation. It broadens the operating environment enabling civic participation. Through capacity building and training on open government values, themes, and tools, the program helps citizens champion local actions and policies to promote access to information, integrity, participation, and technology innovation.


Specificity and Potential Impact

This commitment's specificity is high, since it provides clear and verifiable activities and a coherent set of cumulative measurable deliverables. If fully implemented, this commitment could have a moderate impact. It constitutes a major step forward in consolidating this citizen-led open government training program, further incorporating lessons learned for greater inclusivity than the previous 2015-2016 edition. This is particularly important in the context of budgetary restrictions of today's São Paulo. Yet this same context limits the Program's capacity to expand and affects the overall potential impact.


The level of completion for Commitment 2 was substantial. The implementation process faced a series of logistical challenges. Citizens' participation in trainings and workshops (oficinas) fell short of stakeholders' initial expectations. They had hoped to bring in a larger number of final beneficiaries and reach more people geographically and across social contexts.

The government completed the first milestone, the analysis and mapping of previous (2015-2016) trainings' turnouts, in the early months of 2017. See 'Copia de Mapeamento de Intensidade de Participacao Final,' That analysis informed the initial planning of the 2017 edition. The government hosted a virtual consultation and a public hearing in April 2017. Participants collectively designed the call for proposals (edital) for citizen-trainers (referred to in the context of the Open Government Agents Program as open government agents). See 'Audience and Public Consultation for the Public Notice Open Government Agents,' Prefeitura de Sao Paulo Relacoes Internacionais, The 2017 call established a comparatively shorter implementation time frame for trainings. The overall program would last one year rather than two. Each agent had three months, rather than six, to host its trainings. The government also reformed the program design to include a higher number of scholarships (from 48 to 56), gender parity as a criterion for selecting agents, and adoption of a geographic outreach performance indicator for the overall program. That indicator involved the need to host trainings in all 32 Regional Prefectures and a social targeting criterion (based on the city's Vulnerability Index) for selecting agents and proposals. The virtual consultation was hosted through the National Congress platform E-Democracia (see An official account of the public hearing is available at In 2017, the government also strengthened agents' duties and obligations. Interview with Vanessa Menegueti from CGM/COPI (9 November 2017). One Shared Management Forum (the Forum) civil society organization (CSO) member who had monitored the program since the first edition had positive feedback. The member reported satisfaction with the way critical reflection and learnings on the program's representatives and inclusiveness were considered during the second edition planning phase. Personal communication with Joara Marchezini (17 November 2017).

The government opened the call for proposals Available at (object of the second milestone) on 19 April 2017. The government extended the initial one-month deadline until 29 May 2017 to increase the turnout. In total, 167 citizens applied See 'Minutes of the XI Forum Meeting (08/06/2017),' to which the IRM researcher had access. to become citizen-trainers, or open government agents, and host open and public workshops on four dimensions of open government. Those dimensions included transparency and open data, participative management and collaborative mapping, innovation and open and collaborative technology, and digital culture and communication. An inter-secretarial selection committee All CIGA-SP members were invited to take part in the selection process. chose 56 agents to host trainings for three months. The trainers worked 10 hours per month and had a monthly scholarship of R $1,000. Approximately US $310 per month. For the 2017 edition, the Office of the Municipal Comptroller (CGM) paid for and managed all the scholarships. According to the Official Gazette, the total cost for hiring the agents was R $226,517.76. During the call for proposal phase, City Hall announced the total budget secured for this year's program was R $257,978.25, all costs included (scholarships, office supplies, taxes). See In the previous edition, the Culture Secretariat had executed this role. Agents received a series of trainings led by Forum members. The trainings included orientation to the program and three thematic trainings on open government issues, such as citizen participation and technology. The government successfully launched the program in June 2017. However, the initially planned expansion was significantly constrained by the one-year implementation time frame and the financial constraints in the City Hall budget for 2017.

Regarding the third milestone, the government structured the program in two rounds. Twenty-eight agents hosted their workshops from August to October, and the other half worked from October to December. São Paulo Aberta and the Integrity Promotion Division (COPI) initially planned to reach out to key government institutions to partner on the program. Interview with Marina Luna, civil servant from SMDH (29 November 2017). (Such planning considered how to mobilize targeted participants in several localities - particularly those from vulnerable communities - and how to increase spontaneous public participation.) However, representatives from government and civil society reported a series of implementation challenges. The program completed the first round on time. It hosted most of its workshops outside the city center, albeit under considerable challenges. Around 10 percent of the first-round trainings could not take place, according to official accounts. Interview with Vanessa Menegueti, civil servant from COPI/CGM (9 November 2017). Accounts from agents themselves vary greatly, due to their number and diversity and to the fact that each one hosted numerous trainings in different spaces and city localities. Overall, reports from agents reveal positive assessments of the program's infrastructure (i.e., venues and support material). Some expressed dissatisfaction with how the program was being managed. The reported insufficient dissemination and lengthy negotiations to schedule venues and times for workshops. These factors negatively impacted the overall figures of participants and training outcomes Interview with Bernardo Crispim Barone, Open Government Agent (September 4th, 2017). .

São Paulo Aberta's and COPI/CGM strived to put up a temporary website devoted to the program, with an online calendar for the first round of trainings. See the website developed to harbor information on the program, including a detailed description of the trainings and workshops and a calendar, atãopauloaberta/oficinas/. In this, they partnered with the Education Secretariat. The site (which ended up running only for the first cycle) and virtual dissemination through Facebook was, nonetheless, insufficient. The government did not inform potential targeted participants in time. Thus, there was little time to share invitations with potential target beneficiaries. Another set of challenges resulted from miscommunications between agents and City Hall during the first cycle. The former complained about the strict interpretation by the CGM of the program's rules. They noted this interpretation resulted in some agents being officially warned with a notification See 'Diario Oficial de Cidade de Sao Paulo,' http://www.docidadesp.imprenSã and/or not being paid. The missed payments were due to agents' failure to show proof (such as photos or attendance lists) of workshops being hosted. The government required such proof even when workshops did not take place due to a lack of participants. Interview with Vanessa Menegueti, civil servant from COPI/CGM (9 November 2017).

On 29 September 2017, the São Paulo Aberta and COPI teams communicated to the CSOs from the Forum their intention to suspend the second round. The teams cited the lack of human resources to cope with the intense logistical demands to schedule all the remaining trainings and resources to guarantee proper dissemination of all remaining activities. The Forum CSOs expressed opposition. They noted that the 2017 edition already had a short implementation period and that the budget was already secured for this fiscal year and could not be re-allocated into next year's annual budget. See 'Minutes of the XIV Forum Meeting (29/09/17),' to which the IRM researcher had access. The government finally proceeded with second round, with the Inter-Secretarial Committee of Open Government's approval. The government conducted a more careful orientation with the second cohort of agents on the program's rules and implementation, which made implementation smother, according to City Hall. However, the second cycle also faced dissemination challenges, with the temporary website having been discontinued since October. See the calendar for the workshops, not including activities after September 2017, atãopauloaberta/calendario/2017-10/, last accessed 23 November 2017. A list of all second-round workshops was made public on the São Paulo Aberta Facebook page and can be seen at Thus, the program had to rely on agents' and partnering implementing agencies' dissemination efforts and on São Paulo Aberta's Facebook page to communicate upcoming trainings.

It is important to note that, despite a reduced human resources team, the governmental bodies leading this commitment secured a diverse range of partners to co-host trainings. These partnerships included other departments, Regional Prefectures, 'Diario Oficial da Cidade de Sao Paulo,' http://www.docidadesp.imprenSã the legislative branch, and local nongovernmental organizations. Trainings were hosted, for example, in partnership with the nongovernment organization Plana, and with the youth education organization Cursinho Popular da ACEUSP. Partner departments included the Education, For instance, in partnership with the Education Secretariat, trainings were hosted in the Digital Courtyard (Pátio Digital) and in some secondary technical schools. See http://www.docidadesp.imprenSã Justice, For instance, with the a public LGBT center (Centro de Cidadania LGBT Laura Vermont, Leste). Human Rights and Citizenship, and Culture For instance, youth cultural centers (centros da juventude) located in less well-off neighborhoods. Secretariats and the Municipal School of Public Administration of São Paulo. Legislative branch help included the state-level Legislature and the Parliament School (Escola do Parlamento). The São Paulo Aberta team-informed trainings were hosted in all but one of the 32 Regional Prefectures See implementation report from São Paulo Aberta included in the December 2017 OGP communication plan, in the 'São Paulo_ IRM Repository of Evidences' folder, available at .

Early results: did it open government?
Civic participation: Marginal

This commitment aimed at expanding and consolidating a promising pilot citizen-led training program on open government. Evidence of changes in governmental practices point to marginal gains. The status reflects the logistical challenges in implementation, made possible by a reduced implementation time frame and reduced human resources at the Municipal Secretariat for International Relations. According to an initial governmental monitoring report, 3,000 people benefitted from trainings during the first cycle (until October). The final figures provided by City Hall list 5,227 participants from all city regions, but with more participation in the East and South Zones. Figures were retrieved from the draft version of the Annual Report of São Paulo Aberta Initiative, last accessed by the IRM researcher in March 2018. São Paulo Aberta representatives attribute the smaller numbers in the second round to the tight calendar in the final months. Interview with Ana Dienstmann and Eduardo Barboza, civil servants at the SMRI/São Paulo Aberta Initiative (1 December 2017). Also, the 2017 edition outreach extended to fewer participants than the pilot edition (2015-2016), when official accounts reported more than 15,000 people attending the workshops. See São Paulo Aberta, Memória da Iniciativa São Paulo Aberta (São Paulo: Prefeitura de São Paulo, 2016). Results reveal, nonetheless, that the program brought a diverse set of thematic trainings to a range of locations, geographically and institutionally. The government made efforts to develop user-friendly language to democratize knowledge on open government. This was demonstrated in the way the program was initially designed in 2017, involving a number of relevant thematic secretariats and civil society in shaping the call for proposals. This was also reflected in multiple Forum efforts to negotiate where and with whom to partner and host workshops. The government also showed a willingness to negotiate with key partners in other governmental branches and civil society to achieve better inclusivity. Another promising result lies in the complementarity and synergies between governmental departments. For instance, the Human Rights and Citizenship Secretariat included open government agents' trainings in its annual Human Rights Festival and in its campaign for 16 days of activism on gender. The secretary personally encouraged civil servants to attend the trainings. Interview with Marina Luna, civil servant at the Secretariat of Human Rights and Citizenship (29 November 2017). For examples of trainings co-hosted with SMDH, see With more time for planning and more human resources, the São Paulo Aberta and Integrity Promotion Division teams, as well as other stakeholders consulted, believe better results could have been achieved.

An existing pilot initiative in the OGP action plan already included assuring the program's continuity - beyond the OGP one-year implementation period - as one of its main goals. Civil servants at the technical level continuously reaffirmed their commitment to maintaining the Open Government Agents Program in 2018. They also plan to keep investing in adaptive reflection to make it more effective and efficient. Interview with Ana Dienstmann (7 August 2017); interview with Vanessa Menegueti, civil servant from COPI/CGM (9 November 2017); and interview with Marina Luna, civil servant from SMDH (29 November 2017). The program gained initial political support from its inclusion in the 2017-2020 City Mayor's Goals. Nonetheless, the commitment needs continuous tangible political commitment from the senior leadership across several secretariats, both in terms of human and financial resources. With these, the government could increase the program's transformative impact.


To move this commitment's intended reforms forward, the following recommendations should be considered by the São Paulo government:

1. Carry out a participatory evaluation of the second edition. Work with agents and workshop participants to identify challenges and opportunities to enhance this program's overall impact. Gather information on how to better adjust the program's design (call for proposal, time frames, roles and responsibilities of agents, roles and responsibilities of City Hall departments, etc.) and implementation.

2. Call for greater involvement of the Inter-Secretarial Committee of Open Government in the planning phase for next year's edition. Such involvement could help to strategically find synergies between secretariats for joint trainings and enhance the logistics of scheduling trainings across the city. This planning could make better use of existing sectoral networks and facilities streamline the use of human resources, and grant the Shared Management Forum a more strategic role in mobilizing target beneficiaries.

3. Reconsider adjusting the time frames for the overall program or the length of each agent cycle. A revised time frame could guarantee enough time to schedule meetings and disseminate information about them. Thus, the program would achieve better results in sensitizing vulnerable communities and other target citizen groups to participate.

4. Make sure the program will create and sustain an online repository for all trainings. This repository should include basic information on each training and an updated calendar for the cycle, posted ahead of the launching. This online repository should not be detrimental to other online and offline dissemination efforts tailored and targeted to specific groups for thematic clusters of trainings.


  1. Budget

    SAO0006, 2018, E-Government

  2. Decentralization and Local Development

    SAO0007, 2018, Environment and Climate

  3. Information System, Participatory Communication and Transparency

    SAO0008, 2018, Access to Information

  4. Education

    SAO0009, 2018, E-Government

  5. Fight Against Corruption

    SAO0010, 2018, Access to Information

  6. Increase the Power of Intervention of the Municipal Participative Councils in Each Subprefecture (City District), Creating Deliberative Open Sessions to Receive Proposals and Demands from the Citizens.

    SAO0001, 2017, E-Government

  7. Expand the Training Program “Open Government Agents”, Becoming a Permanent Education and Citizenship Program, Ensuring Territorial Mobilization and Ramification in Order to Reach the Largest Number People in São Paulo.

    SAO0002, 2017, Capacity Building

  8. Increase the Use of Means of Communication by São Paulo City Hall to Spread Open Government Actions in Newspapers, TV Channel, Buses, Public Municipal Venues, Alternative Media, Dialoguing with the Legislative Branch, in Order for These Means to Become Strategic and Permanent Ways of Communication.

    SAO0003, 2017, Capacity Building

  9. Create a Network of Civil Servants Involving All City Hall Secretariats, Entities and Public Venues, Dialoguing with Ciga (The Intersecretarial Committee on Open Government) and São Paulo Aberta (Open São Paulo Initiative).

    SAO0004, 2017, Capacity Building

  10. Improve the Innovation Technology Laboratory (Labprodam), Turning the Lab More Open, Mapping Groups Already Working on Free Technology, Such as Youth Groups, Startups and Collectives to Create Projects Similar to São Paulo’S Urban Mobility Laboratory (Mobilab).

    SAO0005, 2017, Access to Information

Open Government Partnership