France Aims at Deepening Ambition of Its Next National Plan and Opens Up a Participatory Platform
On March 15th, France released an online platform to initiate the development of its next national action plan. Open to public administrations, civil society organizations and other stakeholders, this platform will gather contributions in order to build up ambitious and transformative commitments to be endorsed by the next government.
An iterative and inclusive process
Following OGP Participation & co-creation standards, the elaboration France’s next national action plan includes diverse types of co-creation and dialogue formats.
Online consultations to collect ideas and comments: a first consultation, opened until April 15th aims at gathering contributions on how to strengthen transparency, participation, transformation within public action as well as highlighting commitments from the first national action plan that should be continued in the second. Mid-June, a draft version of commitments will be submitted through a second online consultation in order to improve their potential of impact and transformation. Thanks to this participatory process, stakeholders have a clear visibility of how the NAP is built. Contributors can also have access to the mid-term self-assessment report as well as examples of actions implemented thanks to national action plans. The IRM mid-term report recommendations will also be integrated in April into the online platform.
In-person meetings and workshops to organize follow up and build commitments: initiated by a launch event “Ministère Ouvert” in February 2017, several meetings will be held to gather feedback from stakeholders. Public administrations are invited to inform and gather their specific communities to enlarge participation. During a 2 month period, from the 15th of April until the 15th of June, the Etalab task force will be presenting the first consultation results to administrations in order to build commitments and set a clear and constructive agenda to be adopted by the government in September 2017.
Deepen open government and increase transparency, participation and transformation in new public policy areas
The significant outcomes of the 4th Open Government Partnership Global Summit organized by France in December 2016 will help improve national action plans. One of them is “Solutions Agenda”: the 20 collective actions endorsed by governments and civil society organizations are efficient incentives to consolidate national commitments. France signed up to 14 collective actions and will work with public administration to further their implementation; especially the one France has taken a lead on: open public procurement, opening and share civic technology, creating on an open source policy, and transparency on international trade negotiations.
The 2016 OGP Global Summit also highlighted how open government principles can instill in new public policy areas. Traditionally, the main verticals of NAP commitments focus on anticorruption, access to information and public participation. New themes and approaches of open government are emerging, as shown by the 2016 edition of What’s in the new OGP national action plans. In its 2015-2017 national action plan, France included 3 specific commitments about open government and climate change. As of today, their implementation is almost complete. One of the objectives for France’s next national action plan is to include commitments on specific sectors such as education, housing, labor, or healthcare. Some very interesting initiatives have already been implemented in these areas to enhance transparency, efficiency and citizen control. For instance the Ministry of Housing built a portal to access information on public housing, emergency accommodation and rent prices accuracy.
Several commitments are expected to deepen the implementation of the “Digital Republic” bill, adopted in October 2016. For instance, the bill introduces the right for citizens to be informed when an individual decision has been made with an algorithm and to ask details on the decision’s criteria. The ultimate possibility would be a direct access the algorithm’s code. The Etalab task force is currently working with the Ministry of Higher Education and Research to specify the conditions to open the source-code of a service called “Admission Post Bac”, which determines students’ allocation in French universities. By opening this code, citizens would be able to better understand how allocation choices are made, suggest ways to improve it, and drive greater collaboration to build simulators, models and new public service applications. This approach could be adopted for other source-codes produced by the administration in many policy areas.
The development of France’s national action plan for 2017-2019 is both a challenge and an opportunity for the French open government community to perpetuate a transparent and collaborative public action in the next years.