In February 2020, the OGP Steering Committee approved the implementation of the new local strategy for 2020. The plan is a true testament of collaborative co-creation as we sought out insights from public servants, civil society, academics, and partner organizations, both local and national stakeholders alike.
This is how we got it done:
The design phase began in February 2019, led by the Steering Committee Local Task Force, and was based on better understanding three points:
- Conditions under which effective open, local government emerges and produces outcomes for people.
- Different approaches that national governments, civil society and international networks have taken to enable and support local efforts and their effects.
- Relevant lessons for OGP from similar initiatives C40, UCLG, LOGIN, 100RC that work with provincial/state, municipal and city based governments and civil society.
To answer these points, several consultations took place, including:
- Interviews with over 90 stakeholders from 27 countries.
- A series of five webinars.
- A survey of the OGP community with approximately 120 respondents.
- An in-person design workshop held in Brussels, convening government and civil society representatives working on OGP at both national and local levels.
- A series of consultations with the OGP Steering Committee Local Task Force.
We want to share some of the feedback we gathered and how it was incorporated in the final strategy.
OGP needs to avoid siloing of Locals within the Partnership.
There will be a mapping of locals participating in national OGP processes and their areas of interest to allow for brokering connections with members of the OGP Local cohort sharing similar interests.
OGP Local participants will be encouraged to work on OGP’s thematic areas of focus, particularly around inclusion, citizen participation in shaping and overseeing public policy, and improving public services.
OGP should avoid taking a top-down approach to national-local integration
The national-local component of the strategy has been renamed national-local collaboration to recognize the relationship between national and local levels. The emphasis will be to encourage countries to use the OGP national dialogue to adopt reforms that create a stronger enabling environment for open local government
OGP should review the selection criteria and process for the Local Cohort
The new selection criteria considers both track record, and future plans, including areas of thematic expertise and interest to ensure alignment with OGP’s strategic goals. Diversity considerations will be part of the final selection for each intake, and the population threshold has been dropped. The application process will be two-step, with an Expression of Interest (EOI) stage and a full application stage, with letters from the head of the local government or ministerial equivalent required only in the latter stage.
OGP needs to offer more flexibility for Local members, while also safeguarding the OGP brand, values and principles.
The new program provides more flexibility on the implementation period and delivery dates for action plans. Several measures have been included to try and mitigate the risk of openwashing. This includes strengthened role of civil society in the process, local monitoring reports will also be required.
While the IRM will no longer be producing detailed qualitative assessments of each commitment, it will verify the sufficiency of evidence of progress reported in local monitoring reports.
OGP’s work on developing a Knowledge and Learning Hub should be based on partnerships and lessons learned from similar approaches
The learning offer will focus on experience sharing by current Local members, and practitioners who can serve as mentors in specific policy areas or aspects of open government. Specific resources will be developed to meet the different needs of civil society and government. The approach will be incremental, building this work overtime.