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United Kingdom

Natural Resource Transparency (UK0064)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: United Kingdom – Third National Action Plan 2016-18

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Department of Energy and Climate Change, HM Treasury, Financial Conduct Authority and Department for International Development

Support Institution(s): Global Witness, Natural Resource Governance Institute, ONE, Oxfam, Publish What You Pay

Policy Areas

Extractive Industries, Fiscal Transparency, Open Data, Private Sector, Records Management, Right to Information

IRM Review

IRM Report: United Kingdom End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, United Kingdom Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Objective: In addition to commitments on timely implementation of EITI and EU Directives, the UK will work with others to enhance company disclosure regarding payments to government for the sale of oil, gas and minerals. The UK will explore the scope for a common global reporting standard and work with others to build a common understanding and strengthen the evidence for transparency in this area.

Status quo: Over the last decade, the UK has led the way in encouraging the extractive sector to be more transparent, notably through a combination of voluntary reporting under the EITI and mandatory disclosure rules now present in the EU, Canada, the US and other countries. But despite this progress, a significant gap still exists. Payments from physical commodity trading companies to governments and state-owned enterprises for the sale of oil, gas and minerals – which account for the majority of total government revenues in countries such as Iraq, Libya, Angola and Nigeria – remain largely opaque. Whereas taxes, royalties and other payments are included within existing home disclosure rules, payments from oil traders to governments (often $US billions/year) are not.

Ambition: To enhance company disclosure regarding payments to government for the sale of oil, gas and minerals.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

2. Natural Resource Transparency

Commitment Text: We will work with others to enhance company disclosure regarding payments to government for the sale of oil, gas and minerals, complementing our commitment to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and implementation of EU Directives, and explore the scope for a common global reporting standard.

Objective: In addition to commitments on timely implementation of EITI and EU Directives, the UK will work with others to enhance company disclosure regarding payments to government for the sale of oil, gas and minerals. The UK will explore the scope for a common global reporting standard and work with others to build a common understanding and strengthen the evidence for transparency in this area.

Status quo: Over the last decade, the UK has led the way in encouraging the extractive sector to be more transparent, notably through a combination of voluntary reporting under the EITI and mandatory disclosure rules now present in the EU, Canada, the US and other countries. But despite this progress, a significant gap still exists. Payments from physical commodity trading companies to governments and state-owned enterprises for the sale of oil, gas and minerals –which account for the majority of total government revenues in countries such as Iraq, Libya, Angola and Nigeria – remain largely opaque. Whereas taxes, royalties and other payments are included within existing home disclosure rules, payments from oil traders to governments (often $US billions/year) are not.

Ambition: To enhance company disclosure regarding payments to government for the sale of oil, gas and minerals.

Milestones:

1.  UK to publish second EITI report by 15 April 2017 and commence validation to become EITI compliant

2. UK listed extractive companies will be required to publish data under the EU transparency amending directive in an open and accessible format

3. Agree terms of reference for the dialogue on increased transparency around sales of oil, gas and minerals

Responsible institution: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Department of Energy and Climate Change, HM Treasury, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Department for International Development

Supporting institution(s): Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Department of Energy and Climate Change, HM Treasury, Financial Conduct Authority and Department for International Development

Start date: May 2016

End date: March 2018

Commitment Aim:

This commitment continued the extractives transparency initiatives from the second action plan. Two parts of the commitment are a continuation of the reporting requirements of the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), and an extension of openness to a set of companies not fully covered by earlier legislation.

Status

Midterm: Substantial

The government reported in its July 2017 update the good progress on this commitment.[Note 11: Cabinet Office Open Government National Action Plan 2016-18,

July 2017 Commitment Progress Updates (commitment update for July 2017) pre-publication passed to author.] UK published the second EITI report in March 2017, and all relevant background data in line with its EITI requirements. Validation was still needed but as a result of EITI moving the deadline, not the UK government.[Note 12: Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Research and analysis, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative: payments report, 2015, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/extractive-industries-transparency-initiative-payments-report-2015 ] Companies covered by the EU Transparency Directive started to publish data in open and machine-readable formats.[Note 13: Interview with Miles Litvinoff, Publish What You Pay, 25 August 2017.] As of December 2016, terms of reference on transparency of oil, gas and minerals physical commodity trading payments to governments had not yet been agreed.

However, the EITI process in the UK was thrown into doubt on 29 September 2017, when 20 members of civil society withdrew from the process over concerns about the possible disruption of the selection of civil society representatives by one group, Extractive Industries Civil Society (EICS). The withdrawing CSOs argued that their independence had been breached. Those withdrawing included major CSOs such as Global Witness, Natural Resource Governance Institute, Transparency International UK and Publish What You Pay UK.[Note 14: Publish What You Pay UK ‘News: Civil Society Organisations withdraw from UK EITI', http://www.publishwhatyoupay.org/pwyp-news/civil-society-organisations-withdraw-from-uk-eiti/ ]

End of term: Complete

The UK published its third EITI report in April 2018 and commenced validation according to the current (revised) schedule on 1 July 2018. UK-listed extractive companies have begun to publish data under the EU Transparency Amending Directive in an open and machine-readable format and are required to continue doing so (this is an open process with no end date).[Note 15: Email correspondence with Miles Litvinoff, PWYP, August 2018: UK government (2018) 2016-18 Open Government Action Plan: April 2018 Commitment Progress Updates, https://www.opengovernment.org.uk/resource/2016-18-open-government-action-plan-april-2018-commitment-progress-updates/ ]

The final UK government update of April 2018 outlined how the UK government had continued work to stimulate international dialogue, with a successful event hosted by OECD on commodity trading transparency in January 2018. The OECD reported that the event included 22 government delegations from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America, as well as representatives from eight partner international organisations and institutions, and 48 major firms, industry associations, civil society organisations, academia, law firms and think tanks.[Note 16: OECD 9th meeting January 2018, and a 10th in June 2018, OECD (2018) Tenth Plenary Meeting of the PD-NR, 25-26 June 2018, http://www.oecd.org/dev/ninth-meeting-pd-nr-jan-2018.htm; summary report of the event, http://www.oecd.org/dev/Summary%20Report%20-%20Ninth%20Meeting%20of%20the%20Policy%20Dialogue%20on%20Natural%20Resources%20(FOR%20UPLOAD).pdf ] According to the OECD, the event allowed sharing of best practice examples and discussed ways and means of developing policy and sharing data.

The 10th EITI plenary, in June 2018, with 31 countries represented, discussed climate change, durable contracts and problems faced by tax base erosion.

The UK EITI Civil Society Network has not, to date, re-joined the UK initiative since withdrawing from it in September 2017, and is waiting for the government to identify a third-party independent body to handle the selection of civil society representatives for the Multi-Stakeholder Group.[Note 17: Email correspondence with Miles Litvinoff, PWYP, August 2018.]

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Marginal

The policy aimed to further open up a new area of private sector activity of global importance. It is listed as a marginal change, as the first two parts of the commitment were a contribution to ongoing work from the third action plan, reinforcing and broadening work already done. In terms of access to information, this was a very small number of companies, estimated at 60-65, not fully covered before, compared with around 1,200 companies registered in the UK. While this closed a loophole, it had a small impact on provision overall. The third part of the commitment was building the ground work for important changes through international agreement, but the process was ongoing and not complete at the end of the implementation period.

Carried Forward?

The UK government's consultation on the next action plan for OGP suggested a possible continuation, though this is a suggestion and not government policy. The suggested commitment aims to enhance company disclosure regarding payments to governments for the sale of publicly owned oil, gas and minerals and help to establish/implement a common global reporting standard. The suggested commitment contained a four-point set of aims: to continue dialogue, assess how to ‘further enhance' disclosure, work with stakeholders to enhance openness, and provide clearer guidance in making sure data is machine readable. If the commitment was carried forward, clarity on how this would be put into practice would be helpful.


Commitments

  1. Grants Data

    UK0090, 2019, E-Government

  2. Public Participation

    UK0091, 2019, E-Government

  3. Open Policy Making

    UK0092, 2019, Public Participation

  4. Open Contracting Data

    UK0093, 2019, E-Government

  5. Natural Resource Transparency

    UK0094, 2019, E-Government

  6. Innovation in Democracy Programme

    UK0095, 2019, Public Participation

  7. Sustainable Open Government

    UK0096, 2019, Capacity Building

  8. Local Transparency

    UK0097, 2019, E-Government

  9. Beneficial Ownership – UK

    UK0063, 2016, Beneficial Ownership

  10. Natural Resource Transparency

    UK0064, 2016, Extractive Industries

  11. Anti-Corruption Strategy

    UK0065, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  12. Anti-Corruption Innovation Hub

    UK0066, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  13. Open Contracting

    UK0067, 2016, E-Government

  14. Grants Data

    UK0068, 2016, E-Government

  15. Elections Data

    UK0069, 2016, Capacity Building

  16. Revising Freedom of Information Act Code of Practice

    UK0070, 2016, Open Contracting and Procurement

  17. Identifying and Publishing Core Data Assets

    UK0071, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  18. Involving Data Users in Shaping the Future of Open Data

    UK0072, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Better Use of Data Assets

    UK0073, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. GOV.UK

    UK0074, 2016, Open Data

  21. Ongoing Collaborative Approach to Open Government Reform

    UK0075, 2016, E-Government

  22. Open Government at All Levels

    UK0076, 2016, OGP

  23. Open Policy-Making and Public Engagement

    UK0077, 2016, Capacity Building

  24. Public Sector Innovation

    UK0078, 2016, Capacity Building

  25. OCDS Implementation

    UK0079, 2016, E-Government

  26. Open-Up Government

    UK0080, 2016, Capacity Building

  27. Open Data Plan

    UK0081, 2016, E-Government

  28. Open Data Service

    UK0082, 2016, Capacity Building

  29. Statswales

    UK0083, 2016, E-Government

  30. Data Research Centre Wales

    UK0084, 2016, E-Government

  31. Government Social Research Publication Protocol

    UK0085, 2016, E-Government

  32. Gov.Wales

    UK0086, 2016, E-Government

  33. Code of Practice in Supply Chains

    UK0087, 2016, Labor

  34. Starred commitment National Indicators for Wales

    UK0088, 2016, Fiscal Transparency

  35. Starred commitment Well-Being Duty

    UK0089, 2016, E-Government

  36. National Information Infrastructure

    UK0042, 2013, Records Management

  37. NHS England Website and Network

    UK0043, 2013, Health

  38. Revised Local Authories Data Transparency Code

    UK0044, 2013, Capacity Building

  39. Transparent Social Investment Market

    UK0045, 2013, Open Data

  40. Manage and Capture Digital Records

    UK0046, 2013, Capacity Building

  41. Starred commitment Cross-Government Anti-Corruption Plan

    UK0047, 2013, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  42. Starred commitment Company Beneficial Ownership Information

    UK0048, 2013, Beneficial Ownership

  43. Access to Police Records

    UK0049, 2013, Justice

  44. Transparency in Construction

    UK0050, 2013, Infrastructure & Transport

  45. Legislative Openness

    UK0051, 2013, Beneficial Ownership

  46. Whistleblowing

    UK0052, 2013, Legislation & Regulation

  47. Open Contracting

    UK0053, 2013, Open Contracting and Procurement

  48. Open Contracting Scotland

    UK0054, 2013, E-Government

  49. Starred commitment International Aid Transparency

    UK0055, 2013, Aid

  50. Health Care Data

    UK0056, 2013, Health

  51. Open Policy Making

    UK0057, 2013, E-Government

  52. Sciencewise

    UK0058, 2013, E-Government

  53. Publication of Draft Legislation

    UK0059, 2013, Legislature

  54. Opendatacommunities Programme

    UK0060, 2013, E-Government

  55. PSI Re-Use Directive

    UK0061, 2013, Legislation & Regulation

  56. Starred commitment Extractive Transparency

    UK0062, 2013, E-Government

  57. Ensuring a Clear Process to Support Reduction in Collection of ‘Unnecessary Data’

    UK0024, 2011, E-Government

  58. Developing Data.Gov.Uk and Identifying Other Digital Channels to Support Users

    UK0025, 2011,

  59. Evidence and Databases Behind Policy Statements

    UK0026, 2011, E-Government

  60. Data Underlying Surveys

    UK0027, 2011, E-Government

  61. Examining Ways for Improving the Use of Existing Published Data

    UK0028, 2011, E-Government

  62. Stimulate the Market for Innovative Use of Open Data

    UK0029, 2011, Open Data

  63. Spend up to 5% of Budget Support on Accountability

    UK0030, 2011, E-Government

  64. Include the OGP Eligibility Criteria to Determine Readiness for UK Budget Support

    UK0031, 2011, Aid

  65. Publish Aid Information from All ODA Government Departments

    UK0032, 2011, Aid

  66. Use a Single Domain for Government Services

    UK0033, 2011, E-Government

  67. Mandate ‘Channel Shift’

    UK0034, 2011, E-Government

  68. Go Online for All Consultations

    UK0035, 2011, E-Government

  69. Develop Practical Guidelines on Departmental Access to Internet and Social Media

    UK0036, 2011, Civic Space

  70. Open Data and Application Interfaces in Ways That Encourage Businesses

    UK0037, 2011, E-Government

  71. Create Cross-Government Standards on APIs

    UK0038, 2011,

  72. Establish Standardised Formats for User-Satisfaction Data

    UK0039, 2011, Records Management

  73. Provide Government Documents in Open Standard Format

    UK0040, 2011, E-Government

  74. Implement Crowd-Sourcing and Engagement Processes

    UK0041, 2011,

  75. New Power to Secure Release of Valuable Datasets

    UK0001, 2011,

  76. New, Higher Cost Cap for FOI

    UK0002, 2011, Right to Information

  77. Meaningful Disincentives

    UK0003, 2011,

  78. Maximum Time Limits

    UK0004, 2011, Right to Information

  79. Altered Procurement Rules

    UK0005, 2011,

  80. Mandating Phased Introduction of ‘Public by Default’

    UK0006, 2011, E-Government

  81. Formalising Public Data Principles

    UK0007, 2011, Records Management

  82. Having in Place an Open Data Compliance Monitoring Process

    UK0008, 2011, Records Management

  83. Making Clear the Minimum Citizens Can Expect on Publication and Quality of Data

    UK0009, 2011,

  84. Ensuring a Line of Continuous Improvement for Public Service Providers

    UK0010, 2011, Open Data

  85. Encourage Continuous Improvement

    UK0011, 2011, Records Management

  86. Setting Out How Citizens Can Challenge Where There Is Failure in the Process

    UK0012, 2011, Public Participation

  87. Establishing an Obligation to Consider and Act on User Feedback

    UK0013, 2011, Public Participation

  88. Making Clear That Licenses Must Cover Free, Commercial Re-Use

    UK0014, 2011,

  89. Merge Information Asset Registers…Into a Single Data Inventory

    UK0015, 2011,

  90. Set Consistent Expectations of the Appropriate Quality of Meta-Data

    UK0016, 2011, Records Management

  91. For Data Co-Ordinated Across Government, Set Definitions

    UK0017, 2011, E-Government

  92. Introducing Corporate Responsibility at Transparency Board Level

    UK0018, 2011, Records Management

  93. Strengthening and Broadening the Public Sector Transparency Board

    UK0019, 2011, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  94. Bringing the Sector Transparency Board Model to Other Parts of Public Sector

    UK0020, 2011, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  95. Reviewing the Existing Governance and Regulatory Model

    UK0021, 2011, Records Management

  96. Establishing a Framework for Public Service Providers Data Inventories

    UK0022, 2011, Records Management

  97. Developing a Clear Methodology to Support Intelligent Inventories

    UK0023, 2011, Records Management