[@OKau] Will the Open Government National Action Plan transform anything?

Pia Waugh pia.waugh at gmail.com
Mon Apr 4 01:16:58 UTC 2016

Thanks Craig, I think you captured my personal thoughts on this perfectly.

On 1 Apr 2016 11:58, "Craig Thomler" <craig.thomler at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi guys,
> I have appreciated throughout this first OGPAU process that many people
> would 'hold fire' as it was new to them and they may not be sure how the
> process will roll out, plus there's many existing consultation and
> engagement processes that people are involved with that might be more
> specific to the outcomes they are hoping for.
> This is a journey, and I expect to see increasingly levels of
> participation throughout each successive OGP cycle - exactly the experience
> of other jurisdictions.
> I think there's a bit of truth both in Rosie and Pia's position.
> Pia has lived and breathed this stuff for years and is totally committed
> to the positive outcomes that open government advocates are hoping for - as
> are the current team in PM&C.
> As such she's aware of how easily bruised the process can be by comments
> that outsiders might see as innoculous - and she has fielded every skerrick
> of negativity personally, which can shade someone's perspective, in order
> to protect the process and ensure it has every chance of positive outcomes.
> I don't think she's leaping at shadows, but I do feel that as she's
> sensitised to the material she occassionally goes hard on perceived
> negativity. However given the alternative (a disinterested bunch of
> bureaucrats who don't understand or connect to the engaged community) I
> prefer to see her a little overprotective of the process than unengaged.
> Remember that Pia, and the team in PM&C are like the pig in a meal of
> bacon and eggs - committed and responsible for the outcome. They'll get the
> brunt of negativity if people feel it has failed - and hopefully much of
> the credit for a successful outcome.
> Rosie, as have myself and others who are 'involved but not committed'
> (like the chicken in bacon & eggs...), are reflecting on how the process
> could be improved or deliver better outcomes and also hope and wish to
> influence it to ensure success.
> However there is a potential blindness in this - we don't have to juggle
> the expectations within government, the cabinet processes, the competing
> views and priorities. We're free to speculate and comment and critique,
> with no direct consequences to our opinions. We can have Unicorns and
> ribbons, the team in PM&C gets politicians and red tape.
> So let's trust a little and give the process the time to roll through a
> full cycle before critiquing it too much.
> Yes it won't be perfect, but nothing is.
> Yes with 70 proposed commitments, each has only a 1 in 70 (that's 1.4%) of
> being selected - but some commitments may be combined with others,
> implemented outside the OGP process, or rolled into future years (or not
> attempted at all - but maybe they weren't practical or appropriate for this
> process, there's other doors and approaches they might suit).
> I appreciate the work done on this by Pia, and by the current team - Toby,
> Tim and others including Amelia, who has run herself ragged.
> Right now let's give them our support - all the positive eggs we chickens
> can muster (including some chocolate ones, given the season) - to bias the
> OGP process towards a positive outcome and trust that the pigs won't steal
> our eggs.
> Then, if there's concerns down the track, let's deal with them then, in
> the next cycle.
> Cheers,
> Craig
> PS: I mean no offense by referring to groups as pigs and chickens, it's to
> illustrate a point. I like bacon and eggs. I also like chickens and pigs.
> PPS: If you don't get the stealing eggs reference, look up Angry Birds.
> PPPS: Yes I did think of creating an OGP Angry Birds edition - knock down
> the house of parliament to win back your eggs - Again, leave it for next
> cycle :)
> _________________________________________________
> Craig Thomler
> http://egovau.blogspot.com
> http://twitter.com/CraigThomler
> http://au.linkedin.com/in/craigthomler
> http://www.slideshare.net/CraigThomler
> <http://www.slideshare.net/CraigThomler%20>
> *Mobile:* 0411 780 194 (*International:* +61 411 780 194)
> *Phone:* 02 6161 4508 (*International: *+61 2 6161 4508)
> *Skype:* craig.thomler
> On 1 April 2016 at 09:10, Pia Waugh <pia.waugh at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi Rosie,
>> I didn't say airing concerns was a problem. I said a constant barrage of
>> negativity is a problem. I appreciate your comments and although it is good
>> to see you don't assuming something like the timing to be nefarious, you
>> can understand that the comment you made in your earlier post about the
>> timing sets a negative tone.  A few people assume the worst from the
>> process, the government and any of the people involved and this translates
>> to a lot of energy on the part of all involved being used to constantly
>> address mistrust. I have for instance addressed the grand challenges
>> question on no less than 10 occassions, on several different fora, yet it
>> still persists. I guess I'm trying to suggest that once an issue is aired
>> and dealt with, can we put most of our colelctive efforts into making this
>> good, rather than tearing it down.
>> I have to run, I have a 9 week old that needs my attention. I will try
>> contribute some more thoughts later.
>> Cheers,
>> Pia
>> On Fri, Apr 1, 2016 at 8:54 AM, Rosie Williams <BudgetAus at hotmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> Dear Pia
>>> Out of curiosity, how do you see people airing their concerns about
>>> decisions made by the government regarding the NAP as having the potential
>>> to undermine the NAP? You state that you are concerned people airing
>>> concerns will cause an 'unsatisfactory outcome'. It would be helpful to
>>> understand why you believe public commentary is a problem? Are you
>>> suggesting that there will be political backlash against the NAP from the
>>> bureaucracy or politicians because people have aired concerns about the
>>> quality, scope and the focus of the NAP or do you mean that if we change
>>> our expectations to be more in line with what the government is happy to
>>> deliver then we will be more satisfied with the outcome?
>>> I agree that presuming bad will on behalf of the government can be quite
>>> tiresome and that the way to build trust between the bureaucracy and the
>>> government is to be fully open about the reasons for things. I am yet to
>>> read a comment on the OGP wiki made by the public that does not appear to
>>> have been made with the best of intentions so perhaps the presumption of
>>> negativity runs both ways. But perhaps a lot of comments have been added
>>> since last night of a different nature?
>>> Personally I have never considered that the timing of the consultation
>>> period is a deliberate attempt to undermine the process but by the same
>>> token it is not the public who decided on the funds to be devoted (or not)
>>> to the process or whether or not there would be a decent media campaign to
>>> educate the public about the consultation or for that matter which Grand
>>> Challenges would be the focus. Having said that I reiterate my question to
>>> you about why you feel so strongly that people simply airing their
>>> opinions 'will guarantee an unsatisfactory outcome'?
>>> thankyou
>>> Rosie Williams BA (Sociology)
>>> ________________________________________
>>>  NoFibs.com.au <http://nofibs.com.au> - Open Data Reporter | OpenAus
>>> <https://openaus.net.au> - Founder and Developer
>>> ------------------------------
>>> *From:* okfn-au <okfn-au-bounces at lists.okfn.org> on behalf of Pia Waugh
>>> <pia.waugh at gmail.com>
>>> *Sent:* Friday, 1 April 2016 7:53 AM
>>> *To:* Unname; ogp at pmc.gov.au
>>> *Subject:* Re: [@OKau] Will the Open Government National Action Plan
>>> transform anything?
>>> Hi all,
>>> Can I suggest the first ever Australian NAP is still in development and
>>> perhaps it would be more useful to not assume the worst in the first
>>> instance, because that will guarantee an unsatisfactory outcome. The OGP
>>> team at PM&C are working so hard to try make this happen, to engage with
>>> the public, to engage with agencies and get the best outcome possible (i am
>>> on maternity leave, and I do not envy their task) and although there have
>>> been a lot of good ideas and energy contributed, there is still this snarky
>>> undertone which undermines it at every turn, by a number of people who care
>>> about this a lot and I would have thought have the most reason to want it
>>> to succeed.
>>> I'm going to address just one of the points raised which has come up
>>> several times in public fora as just negativity for no reason, a
>>> distraction from making the NAP. The consultation kicked off in November,
>>> which was the soonest possible to kick off a consultation after a decision
>>> was made, and it kicked off a 7-8 month consultation process to align with
>>> the OGP annual NAP and IRM timing (july each year). It could have been
>>> launched in January thus shortening the consultation process, or it could
>>> have been an 18 month consultation to get a NAP by mid 2017. The timing was
>>> chosen with the best interests of the community in mind and this is just
>>> one example where nefariousness is assumed and it just sucks oxygen from
>>> what could be a really positive collaboration between community and
>>> government.
>>> I will leave it there. I made a personal submission to OGP on my blog (
>>> http://pipka.org), because I care about this succeeding and I wish all
>>> the team at PM&C all the luck and good will in the world to continue the
>>> good work and get a good outcome. I hope you will all join me in trying to
>>> make this work. I've ccd that team so Rosie's concerns are flagged with
>>> them.
>>> Cheers,
>>> Pia
>>> https://openaus.net.au/blog/2016/03/16/will-the-open-government-national-action-plan-transform-anything/
>>> I got some very useful feedback from an advocate within the social
>>> services sector yesterday which put me out of my misery in terms of
>>> understanding why it might be that the health and social services sector
>>> are less than enthusiastic about engaging with theOpen Government
>>> Partnership National Action Plan <http://ogpau.govspace.gov.au/>.
>>> The advocate pointed out that she was already involved in more than one
>>> consultation and I think it is safe to assume these consultations are ones
>>> she is both familiar with and has her head across. Contrast this with the
>>> mystery of Australia’s first National Action Plan, announced during the
>>> Christmas holiday period late last year, with an interface and resources
>>> which are in no way intuitive and which takes quite some ‘getting across’ even
>>> for those of us who knew it was coming
>>> <https://www.openaustraliafoundation.org.au/2016/02/23/how-to-make-an-ogp-national-action-plan-commitment/>
>>> !
>>> Gaining this new perspective on what participation in the NAP may look
>>> like to professional advocates prompted me to question why it was that I
>>> thought it was worth participating in. Why did I think the NAP was more
>>> powerful than existing consultations? Given there are many existing
>>> consultation mechanisms why does the NAP process exist at all? If I or
>>> someone else makes the effort to understand this new fangled process andsuggests
>>> a Commitment <http://ogpau.wikispaces.com/Commitments> or contributes
>>> to a goal, what certainty is there that this will make it into the National
>>> Action Plan: a 30% chance… a 50% chance… a 90% chance? Further to that, is
>>> there evidence from National Action Plans in other countries to confirm the
>>> transformative power of the Open Government Partnership?
>>> It is questions such as these that impact the decisions people make
>>> about whether to invest time in a consultation. The existing resources do
>>> not shed much light on the kinds of details that allow one to evaluate how
>>> likely any input is to end up as policy. For example who is it that ends up
>>> making the decisions about what is in or out, what is funded or not? Do the
>>> agencies themselves decide if they are in or out of the NAP or if they
>>> *are* part of the NAP that they will agree to implement a Commitment?
>>> What role does government funding and the budget play in all this?
>>> The formal response I got from the OGP last night to my recent request
>>> to include the Australian Institute of Health & Welfare in the NAP process
>>> did not clarify whether or not it is up to the agencies to decide for
>>> themselves if they are in or out, hence my tweet to the official hashtag
>>> #OGPAu to clarify:
>>> "Another question for the OGP FAQ: is it up to agencies alone to decide
>>> if they agree to implement publicly sourced Commitments? #ogpau
>>> <https://twitter.com/hashtag/ogpau?src=hash>"
>>> The AIHW is in my mind a very significant agency in terms of data that
>>> relates to policy and funding decisions crucial to many vulnerable groups
>>> in Australia. This is borne out in their role collecting the National
>>> Minimum Data Sets, a requirement of the National Partnership Agreements
>>> with the states, agreements which underpin the flow of funds from the
>>> Commonwealth to the states. This observation of mine is stated in the
>>> government’s own Gov 2.0 Taskforce Report
>>> <http://www.finance.gov.au/sites/default/files/Government20TaskforceReport.pdf?v=1> on
>>> page xiii
>>> In this report we use many examples of information which is generated
>>> principally by state or local government agencies. While our direct mandate
>>> is from the Australian Government, we have interpreted that mandate
>>> broadly. While our recommendations are, strictly speaking, recommendations
>>> to the Australian Government, many of the principles developed apply at the
>>> state level and all states are exploring the Government 2.0 agenda, though
>>> some are further advanced on the journey than others. We feel the use of
>>> such examples is useful both because the *states control much of the
>>> data that affects people’s lives most closely and because data collected by
>>> state agencies can and should often be the subject of national information
>>> agendas (as in the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) agendas in
>>> education and health)*.
>>> The absence of the AIHW from the NAP
>>> <http://ogpau.govspace.gov.au/idc-24th-february/> takes some explaining
>>> yet it was yours truly who was asked to explain to the OGP why they should
>>> ask the AIHW to come on board, an interesting reversal of logic and
>>> accountability. Given the statement in the OGP FAQ that states and
>>> territories are ‘not bound by this agreement
>>> <http://ogpau.govspace.gov.au/national-action-plan/faqs/#How_can_state_and_local_governments_participate_in_the_planning_process_and_will_they_be_bound_by_the_Federal_OGP_National_Action_Plan>‘
>>> and the importance of the states to delivery of the programs encompassed in
>>> the Grand Challenges ‘Improving public services’ and ‘More effectively
>>> managing public resources’ –it would seem even more important that
>>> Commonwealth agencies that collect data on behalf of national interests are
>>> included in the NAP.
>>> Being late to the OGP party, Australia is not exactly blazing a trail in
>>> open government. This has the benefit of Australians being able to learn
>>> from what other countries have accomplished through their National Action
>>> Plans. Has UK democracy or policy been transformed by their NAPs
>>> <http://www.opengovpartnership.org/country/united-kingdom/action-plan>?
>>> Has America’s NAPs created much change for US citizens? Are the poor and
>>> vulnerable better off? Is government more accountable and responsive to
>>> needs? Are policy decisions better informed?
>>> I’ve added some resources from countries further along in their open
>>> government journey that might help inform these questions and allow readers
>>> to better decide the potential impact of our own National Action Plan for
>>> Open Government.
>>> Given that my input <http://ogpau.wikispaces.com/Commitments> into the
>>> NAP is based on my years of (uncompensated) work with open data as it
>>> relates to financial and political transparency and is based on the input I
>>> have received from my own consultations with health and social services
>>> advocates, I see no reason on the face of it why the government would
>>> exclude it from the National Action Plan other than as a result of a
>>> deliberate desire to go against the ideals of open government. I also
>>> observe however, that the less people and the fewer organisations that take
>>> a public interest in the drafting of the NAP, the easier it will be for
>>> such travesties to come to pass, resulting in a National Action Plan for
>>> Open Government that becomes what so many are afraid it might be: just
>>> another talk fest and business as usual.
>>>    - UK first to launch action plan on business & human rights
>>>    <https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-first-to-launch-action-plan-on-business-and-human-rights>
>>>    - UK action plan on women, peace & security
>>>    <https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/319870/FCO643_NAP_Printing_final3.pdf>
>>>     (2014-2017)
>>> One year ago at the UN General Assembly I stated a simple truth, that
>>> the strongest foundation for human progress lies in open economies, open
>>> societies and in open governance and I challenged our countries to come
>>> back this year with specific Commitments to promote transparency, to fight
>>> corruption, to energise civic engagement and to leverage new technologies
>>> so we can strengthen the foundation of freedom in our own countries. Barack
>>> Obama
>>> We wanted to make sure the NAP would not end up as just another document
>>> which may be good to read or display on the bookshelf. Especially we didn’t
>>> want it to end up just another wishlist… it should make a difference.
>>> I’m also very delighted to see that Great Britain has also mobilised the
>>> others to see the issue of sexual violence is critical to development. As a
>>> woman who has been working with women in conflict for the last 20 years, I
>>> say kudos!
>>> Find the associated videos at
>>> https://openaus.net.au/blog/2016/03/16/will-the-open-government-national-action-plan-transform-anything/
>>> Rosie Williams BA (Sociology)
>>> ________________________________________
>>>  NoFibs.com.au <http://nofibs.com.au> - Open Data Reporter | OpenAus
>>> <https://openaus.net.au> - Founder and Developer
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