Governments launch open data and access to information working groups

Working groups on open data and access to information will be launched at the Open Government Partnership’s (OGP) Summit in London today.


Working groups on open data and access to information will be launched at the Open Government Partnership’s (OGP) Summit in London today.

The aim of the working groups is to challenge and support governments to make commitments that will enable governments to change to become more open.

Francis Maude, Cabinet Offfice minister and lead co-chair of OGP, said: "Transparency is an idea whose time has come. The momentum building behind open government is accelerating change both here and across much of the world.

"It is for governments to use this opportunity to drive prosperity for their citiznes, to foster innovation based on open data and to improve public services by sharpening accountability."

The Open Government Partnership is an initiative aimed at securing firm commitments from governments to promote transparency, increase civic participation, fight corruption and harness new technologies to make government more open, effective and accountable. It officially launched in September 2011, with the UK as one of the eight founding members.

The open data working group will debate progress so far in opening data, and explore how its full potential can be unlocked.

The access to information working group will engage oversight bodies, like the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the UK, and look into good practices on transparency related topics, such as proactive transparency, records management and the effective operation of oversight bodies.

Five OGP working groups will be launched in total. The other three are on fiscal openness, which will look into how to make taxation systems more open and transparent; open parliaments, which will be on the subject of opening up the legislative process; and extractive industry transparency group, which covers existing work being done by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to improve openness and accountable management of revenues from natural resources.

Progress update

As well as the UK, the other founding countries were the US, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Phillipines and South Africa.

At the launch of the OGP, the eight founding countries set out 175 government reform commitments for the OGP, and today’s summit will see the launch of the first independent progress reports on each country’s progress towards meeting the commitments.

More details on the progress reports will be announced at the summit, but a snapshot reveals that 49 percent of the commitments have been completed, 44 percent are in progress, one percent have not been started, progress is unclear on 2 percent and four percent have been withdrawn.

A total 61 countries are currently members of the OGP.

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