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

Pia Waugh pia.waugh at gmail.com
Thu Mar 31 22:10:21 UTC 2016

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.


On Fri, Apr 1, 2016 at 8:54 AM, Rosie Williams <BudgetAus at hotmail.com>

> 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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