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United Kingdom

Open Policy-Making and Public Engagement (UK0077)

Overview

At-a-Glance

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

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Department of Finance

Support Institution(s): Other Executive departments, Policy Champions Network, Open Government Network, Cabinet Office

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Participation in Budget Processes, Public Participation, Subnational

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 Civic Participation , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Commitment Text: to explore, develop and trial creative and effective open policy-making
and public engagement methods and share the learning across government.
Objective: To embed a culture of proactive and meaningful engagement with the public across
government departments to ensure that the public's’ input contributes in a meaningful way to policy
formulation.
Status quo: The Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) faces a challenging agenda over the next
few years. The delivery of priorities, more than ever, depends on the development and
implementation of sound, effective and innovative policies. Key to our future in the public service is
improving how we engage with the public. Despite the growing awareness of the benefits of effective
engagement, there appears to be room for improvement, particularly in engaging stakeholders more
openly in the very early scoping and initiation stages of policy development. Consequently, it is
important for government to continue to explore and develop innovative approaches for engaging
the public in formulation of policies that affect their lives
Ambition: To make public participation in government policy making more effective and
meaningful.
Milestones:
1. Government and civil society to co-design a pilot project to test open policy making
methodology locally, ensuring that the lessons learned from the pilot are documented and
shared across government.
2. Support research and experimentation to create new tools or utilise existing tools and
platforms that empower users to be fully active in the government policy making process.
3. Complete the on boarding process to encourage greater levels of uptake from all Executive
departments and NDPBs to the NI Direct consultation portal
4. Showcase best practice and innovative examples of public engagement in policy
development across Executive departments.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

1. Develop & trial effective open policy-making and public engagement methods (Northern Ireland)

Commitment Text:to explore, develop and trial creative and effective open policy-making and public engagement methods and share the learning across government.

Objective:To embed a culture of proactive and meaningful engagement with the public across government departments to ensure that the public's' input contributes in a meaningful way to policy formulation.

Status quo:The Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) faces a challenging agenda over the next few years. The delivery of priorities, more than ever, depends on the development and implementation of sound, effective and innovative policies. Key to our future in the public service is improving how we engage with the public. Despite the growing awareness of the benefits of effective engagement, there appears to be room for improvement, particularly in engaging stakeholders more openly in the very early scoping and initiation stages of policy development. Consequently, it is important for government to continue to explore and develop innovative approaches for engaging the public in formulation of policies that affect their lives

Ambition:To make public participation in government policy making more effective and meaningful.

Milestones:

1. Government and civil society to co-design a pilot project to test open policy making methodology locally, ensuring that the lessons learned from the pilot are documented and shared across government.

2. Support research and experimentation to create new tools or utilise existing tools and platforms that empower users to be fully active in the government policy making process.

3. Complete the on boarding process to encourage greater levels of uptake from all Executive departments and NDPBs to the NI Direct consultation portal

4. Showcase best practice and innovative examples of public engagement in policy development across Executive departments.

Responsible institution: Department of Finance

Supporting institutions: Policy Champions Network, Open Government Network, Cabinet Office

Start date: December 2016

End date: May 2018

Commitment Aim:

This commitment aimed to create more open ways of policy making through trials and experiments based around either one case study or a series of pilots that will then be showcased across the government. Together, the milestones will promote alternative approaches to policy making that use different means (or ‘methodologies') and, most importantly, involve the public in the process to a greater extent.

Status
Midterm: Limited

According to the government and CSOs, the government prioritised the first two milestones, notably the choice of the case study policy and other experiments with opening policy-making methodologies. After the first year of implementation, the commitment was behind schedule. Both government and CSOs felt that the final case study or pilot would fall outside of the third action plan's timeline.[Note 150: Nick Cochrane, Department of Finance and Dr Kelly Wilson, Head of Public Sector Reform Division, Dept. of Finance, 15 August 2017: Colm Burns and David McBurney, Northern Ireland Open Government Network, 11 August 2017. ] Several ideas were developed for different policy laboratories and methodologies with a service designer in place and a behavioural insights unit. Some of these are outside of the OGP process but linked to the ongoing work.[Note 151: The UK Behavioural Insights Team, ‘The Behavioural Insights Team', http://www.behaviouralinsights.co.uk/; and Sunstein, Cass R., Nudging: A Very Short Guide 37 J. Consumer Policy 583 (2014), https://ssrn.com/abstract=2499658 ]

CSOs were concerned that not much movement had taken place and were awaiting the choice of the case study/example.[Note 152: Colm Burns and David McBurney, Northern Ireland Open Government Network, 11 August 2017.] They too pointed out that delivery may not fall within the OGP timeframe.[Note 153: Colm Burns and David McBurney, Northern Ireland Open Government Network, 11 August 2017.] CSOs thought that the experiments with policy could be conducted through a policy laboratory, perhaps similar to the UK government's policy lab where new ideas and approaches were tested and this is, indeed, what is now being done.[Note 154: Gov.uk, ‘Blog: Open Policy Blog', Policy Lab, https://openpolicy.blog.gov.uk/category/policy-lab/ ] They felt there was a sense that parts of the executive were not wholly open to ideas of experimenting and testing.

End of Term: Limited

The final update was not available at the time of writing. The commitment remains limited due to the lack of a central case study where, according to the government, the work was ongoing to secure agreement.[Note 155: Northern Ireland (2017), Narrative for inclusion in UK Open Government, National Action Plan Self-Assessment Report. NI, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/669433/Northern_Ireland_Input_to_3rd_UK_Open_Gov_National_Action_Plan_-_Self_As..._-_Copy__2_.pdf ] According to the latest update of December 2017 ‘there has been some significant progress in most areas of the commitment' with the ‘NI Innovation Lab leading the way in developing and utilising innovative approaches and methodologies to address difficult issues and problems across the public sector'. The Lab has continued to work on a ‘number of difficult areas utilising a range of innovative tools and methodologies including service design and behavioural innovation'. It also published the results of studies and experiments on, for example, nutrition and promoting healthier eating in canteens.[Note 156: Ibid.;

Innovation Department of Finance (2018), ‘Innovation' Lab', https://www.finance-ni.gov.uk/topics/public-sector-reform-division/innovation-lab; and Department of Finance (2018), ‘Using behavioural Science to Encourage Healthier Eating', https://www.finance-ni.gov.uk/articles/using-behavioural-science-encourage-healthier-eating-health-and-social-care-canteens ]

In addition, it launched an ‘online consultation tool' that is ‘now in use across the NICS Departments and beyond'.[Note 157: Northern Ireland (2017), Narrative for inclusion in UK Open Government, National Action Plan Self-Assessment Report. NI, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/669433/Northern_Ireland_Input_to_3rd_UK_Open_Gov_National_Action_Plan_-_Self_As..._-_Copy__2_.pdf

The new ‘citizen space' consultation tool, https://consultations.nidirect.gov.uk/ and https://consultations.nidirect.gov.uk/dfe/future-of-the-ni-ndrhi/ ] The December 2017 update detailed how there had been 300 users and more than 25,000 responses through the platform. Eight of the nine departments are using it, as well as numerous agencies and Non-departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs), including the Boundary Commission, Northern Ireland Office (NIO), and the Health and Social Care Network (HSCN).[Note 158: Northern Ireland (2017), Narrative for inclusion in UK Open Government, National Action Plan Self-Assessment Report. NI, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/669433/Northern_Ireland_Input_to_3rd_UK_Open_Gov_National_Action_Plan_-_Self_As..._-_Copy__2_.pdf] There have also been a series of showcases at public events in 2017 as well as informal seminars.

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Marginal

Civic participation: Marginal

This commitment created a marginal change in government practice. The series of experiments and results from the NI Lab opened some new information on a number of areas through reports on important issues, such as healthy eating. The consultation tool led to greater public participation in significant numbers who would (presumably) not have responded in the same way if done on paper. It also represented a new way of communicating and involving the public, with innovation further boosted by the showcase examples.

Carried Forward?

This commitment was not carried forward. As the plan was not available at the time of writing, the midterm report recommended setting a date for the selection and completion of the case study choice and that there should be some way of keeping the policy within future action plans.


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