First OGP Self-Assessments Posted; Deadline Extended
This article was originally published on freedominfo.org and cross-posted here with the author’s permission.
The first country self-assessment reports on progress toward fulfilling their Open Government Partnership commitments are surfacing, with more expected in the coming weeks. Posted on the OGP website now are reports from two countries: the Philippines and the United States. The United Kingdom has released its draft report, but posting of a final report will follow public consultations that are still under way.
From a box score standpoint, the countries report positive results. The U.S. says 24 of its 26 goals were accomplished. The U.K. says it achieved 14 of its 36 goals. The Philippines says it fulfilled seven of its 19 goals. Brazil and Mexico have completed their reports, FreedomInfo.org was told, but they have not been posted.
Eight countries were due to produce self-assessment reports by a deadline that OGP officials had said was March 31. That due date has been officially delayed until April 19 because of apparent confusion about the deadline. The countries are supposed to hold public consultations on the draft reports. Apparently several countries understood the guidelines to require the publication of a draft (vs. final) self-assessment report for public consultation by March 31. Taking this into account, OGP is now requiring that the founding eight governments submit and post to the OGP website their final, revised self-assessment reports no later than Friday, April 19, 2013.
Reports are expected from the eight founding members; the first countries to prepare national action plans, submitted in September 2011. Besides the countries previously mentioned, reports are expected from Indonesia, Norway and South Africa. All are members of the OGP Steering Committee, which is scheduled to meet later this month in London. It is not possible to tell from the OGP website whether the countries posted draft reports.
Philippines Says One-Third of Goals Met
The Philippines’ assessment report says that of 19 commitments made in the action plan, seven (37%) were fulfilled, nine (47%) partially fulfilled and three (16%) are still in-progress. The report says a multi-stakeholder consultation on the draft self-assessment was held on March 14. “The Government acknowledges that there is much room for improvement in ensuring that the OGP commitments are delivered in a timely manner, according to the report, which goes on to outline potential remedies. The process for crafting of a new OGP annual plan will be undertaken in the next few months. “The Government is confident that, as a whole, the implementation of the OGP Action Plan has introduced more transparency, has opened up more spaces for meaningful participation of citizens, and has increased public trust in government in unprecedented ways, as evidenced by the sustained high trust and satisfaction ratings of the President and the Administration. The government said it has “partially achieved” its goals in the category of access to information. Notwithstanding campaign promises from President Benigno Aquino, the action plan did not include passage of a freedom of information law. Whether this was consistent with its position as a leader on the OGP was a hot topic after the FOI legislation did not pass earlier this year, a failure which proponents blamed on Aquino. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.) The self-assessment report notes that stakeholders recommended that “Full support of the executive in passing the Freedom of Information Act.
UK Issues Draft Report
The United Kingdom has publishing the self-assessment report, calling it “an honest account of the UK’s performance to date and how much our agenda has evolved.” A chart (Annex C) grades progress on fulfilling the commitments. A tally of progress indicates that 14 of 36 goals were fulfilled. The consultation will remain open for comment until April 15. Comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The report indicates that the next action plan will be put out for public review in several months and be completed in September. Discussing the process, the review says: The Cabinet Office Transparency Team has introduced a new approach for the development of the next action plan by taking engagement and consultation to a higher level. Officials from the Cabinet Office and other government departments meet weekly with civil society at the Open Data Institute, working side by side to co-create our next National Action Plan with developers, users, businesses and civil society organisations.
U.S. Says Almost All Goals Achieved
The U.S. self-assessment report says 24 out of 26 goals were achieved. The report is described in a White House blog post. Work on a new plan will be getting under way, the post says. Civil society groups also issued a report, largely favorable, on the implementation of the U.S. action plan.