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Sierra Leone

Improve implementation of right to access to information (SL0026)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Sierra Leone Action Plan 2019-2021

Action Plan Cycle: 2019

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Right to Access to Information Commission

Support Institution(s): Parliamentary Committee on Access to Information, Ministry of Information and Communications, Cabinet Secretariat, Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s affairs, Human Rights Commission , National Commission for Democracy, Anti-Corruption Commission, Society for Democratic Initiatives, Open Society Initiative West Africa, National Open Data Council, Forward Sierra Leone, Initiatives for Media Development, UN Women

Policy Areas

E-Government, Gender, Open Data, Right to Information, Sustainable Development Goals

IRM Review

IRM Report: Pending IRM Review

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Pending IRM Review

Relevant to OGP Values: Not Relevant

Potential Impact: Pending IRM Review

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?
A number of data initiatives have been conducted to assess
the data ecosystem in Sierra Leone. These include:
 Data assessment conducted as part of the Open Data
Readiness Assessment Report for Sierra Leone
 Post-2015 Data Test (under the auspices of Southern
Voice)
 Data Revolution and Roadmap report on the
Sustainable Development Goals
In addition, best practices suggest that there are often major
projects being conducted through government that have
inherent data dependencies, either in its development or need.
The Proactive Disclosure component of the Right to Access
Information Act 2013 governs all public authorities.
Specifically, in Part 2 Section 8 (1), the Act delineates a
minimum of 22 classes of information that will form the core
proactive publication for every public authority in the country.
This law aims to advance transparency and accountability
among all government ministries, departments and agencies
by implementing the law, as enacted. In 2018/2019, ten
Ministries, Departments and Agencies were targeted
through a World Bank funded Public Financial Management
Integrated Consolidated Project (PFMICP) to produce
publication schemes. Notably amongst them was Statistics
Sierra Leone which sits on 43% of official statistics and
amongst the first to produce a publication scheme.
This commitment aims to upscale work done to include more
Ministries, Departments and Agencies and non-state actors
with a gendered lens and the notion of leaving no one
behind. This commitment will also consider previous studies
and available data sources and conduct a rapid data
inventory exercise across core institutions and stakeholders
to better understand the data topics currently available and
quality. Twenty (20) key Ministries, Department and
Agencies and ten (10) non state actors will participate and
will be required to produce a proactive publication scheme
on data availability and publication schedules on the open
data portal. A number of tools will be applied in the publication scheme
to assess overall coverage including the Carter Foundation
Implementation Assessment Tool, Open Data Barometer,
Open Data Index, Open Data Inventory, the Carter Center
Gender the Minimum Essential Data Package available as a
module through the Global Partnership for Sustainable
Development Toolbox and the IAEG SDG Data Indicators
list. The intent is to be able to capture high-value data (in
terms of its potential use), understand who produces and
uses data, capture data quality issues, and collect data to
pilot how data coordination and sharing can take place
across institutions and stakeholders. This activity will further
refine assumptions in previous studies, align to the SDGs
and further populate the open data portal illustrating
potential use cases and value of open data. Proactive
publication of information/data is the mainstay of timely
availability of data. However, publication schemes have to
be tailored to the specific operations of each Ministries,
Department and Agency.
Demand-side stakeholders will also be trained on data
literacy, for them to effectively use and interpret the data
available. Due to the major shifts in society driven by
technological advances in the collection, analysis and use of
large data sets that has become commonplace, civil society
organizations (non-state actors) need training and support
to keep pace with global developments in the private and
public sectors, so that they can continue to mediate between
increasingly complex social groups and sectors in a
digitalized future. The representation of the interests of civil
society actors and their beneficiaries in a data-driven polity,
and the development of innovative, robust and scalable
solutions to social problems will all increasingly require data
literacy from civil society organizations’ that is currently not
there.
In Sierra Leone, women are often excluded from the flow of
information, both essential and strategic information as
evidenced in the ‘Multi Sector Impact Assessment of Gender
Dimensions of the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone’. Limited
access to information inhibits women’s physical, economic,
political autonomy, the reduction or elimination of structural
obstacles, negative attitudes and perceptions of women,
and gender based violence.
This commitment will therefore address more effective
management of public resources and will also increase
gender inclusion and accountability in Sierra Leone. This
commitment will support the advancement of a robust and effective access to information regime and improve access
to information for women and girls in Sierra Leone.

What is the commitment?
Increase the right to access information for all Sierra Leoneans
Access to Information, as defined by OGP’s Access to
Information Working Group Plan 2015, is established on
the foundation that public information is a crucial
component to open government, and “therefore a focus
must be placed on enhancing the capacities of both
institutions and society to identify, publish and disseminate
useful information.” The plan also communicated access to
information as a staple of OGP’s principles that when
utilized, “is crucial to addressing the most pressing social
needs, solving public problems, and improving the
effectiveness of government institutions.”
This commitment therefore will improve:
 Proactive Disclosure of information held by public
authorities.
 Improved access to information for women and girls.
 Timely and accurate reporting on the sustainable
development goals indicators and the national
agenda through open data.
 Effectiveness of public institutions by strengthening
the whole of government and multiple stakeholders.

How will the commitment contribute to solving the public problem?
The Right to Access Information Commission established
the National Open Data Council (ODC) of Sierra Leone to
push the frontiers of Open data and ensure that greater
awareness and compliance is achieved, by all Public
Authorities, in proactively strengthening availability and
access to quality data and information, by the general public.
This can only happen if all the key mechanisms are
strengthened and strategic and concerted efforts are made
by all stakeholders to achieve a society that subsist on
quality, accessible and trustable open data and information
required for quality decision making. The requirement for
achieving a free, fair and just society points to the rightful
access by society members to relevant quality data that is
open.
The proactive disclosure of information and leaving no one
behind approach empowers citizenry who requires a
sustainable development of their circumstances by all
actors. Proactive disclosure and other means of making
information accessible to women will allow women to make
meaningful and informed decisions, engage authorities, and
improve their socio-economic conditions. Additional data on
women’s access to information allows stakeholders working
in various sectors to refine their interventions aimed at
empowering and improving development outcomes for
women.

Why is this commitment relevant to OGP values?
Access to quality, timely and user-friendly datasets and
institutional information required by government, at all levels,
for policy and evidence-based decision-making, is a major
challenge for most government, non-governmental and
public institutions. Data and information that speaks to
indicators in the country’s National Development Plan that
are aligned with the SDGs and expected to be reported on
by MDAs, are difficult to access and use. Moreover,
information on specific operational dimensions of the MDAs
are also difficult to access which leads to less transparency,
ineffective governance and poor accountability which
impacts negatively on sustainable development. Additional
challenges include data quality, effective sustainable access
and inappropriate leveraging of technology to provide better
access and management of the high priority datasets and
information.
This commitment therefore recommends
Access to information: With the notion of leaving no one
behind, every Sierra Leonean will have access to
information held by Public Authorities.
Public accountability: Public Authorities will account for
information held by them in a user friendly manner.


Commitments

  1. Expanding community-based justice services

    SL0022, 2019, Justice

  2. Improving access to secondary school

    SL0023, 2019, Education

  3. Tax system transparency

    SL0024, 2019, Fiscal Transparency

  4. Beneficial ownership registry

    SL0025, 2019, Beneficial Ownership

  5. Improve implementation of right to access to information

    SL0026, 2019, E-Government

  6. Advancing gender equality

    SL0027, 2019, Gender

  7. Open parliament

    SL0028, 2019, Capacity Building

  8. Records and Archives Management

    SL0029, 2019, Legislation & Regulation

  9. Gender

    SL0012, 2016, Capacity Building

  10. Foriegn Aid Transparency

    SL0013, 2016, Aid

  11. Waste Management

    SL0014, 2016, Capacity Building

  12. Fiscal Transparency and Open Budget

    SL0015, 2016, E-Government

  13. Audit Report

    SL0016, 2016, Audits and Controls

  14. Climate Change

    SL0017, 2016, Capacity Building

  15. Elections

    SL0018, 2016, E-Government

  16. Record Archive Management

    SL0019, 2016, E-Government

  17. Access to Justice

    SL0020, 2016, Capacity Building

  18. Open Public Procurement Contracting

    SL0021, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  19. Publish and Revise 70% of Mining and Agricultural Lease Agreements and Contracts

    SL0009, 2014, E-Government

  20. Starred commitment Right to Access Information Law

    SL0010, 2014, Capacity Building

  21. Open Data Portal for Transparency in Fiscal and Extractive Transactions

    SL0011, 2014, E-Government

  22. Public Integrity Pact with 5 Ministries, Departments, and Agencies

    SL0001, 2014, Conflicts of Interest

  23. Archives and Records Management Act

    SL0002, 2014, E-Government

  24. Scale up Performance Management and Service Delivery Directorate

    SL0003, 2014, Public Participation

  25. Compliance with Audit Measures

    SL0004, 2014, Audits and Controls

  26. Starred commitment Single Treasure Account

    SL0005, 2014, Extractive Industries

  27. Extractive Industry Revenue Act

    SL0006, 2014, Extractive Industries

  28. Scaling up Extractive Industry Transparency Initiatives

    SL0007, 2014, Extractive Industries

  29. Local Content Policy (LCP) Linkages with MDAs

    SL0008, 2014, Capacity Building