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Symposium 2012

Fostering Open Government Initiatives in Public Services

The Challenge

The provision of effective and efficient public services—such as health care, education and criminal justice—is a key task for government. In recent years, the financial crisis, digital technologies and other big trends have complicated efforts in these areas and intensified calls for large-scale reform.

More open government could be an important aspect of any meaningful restructuring. Providing citizens with easily accessible data on public services and giving them stronger voice in decision-making may trigger greater interest and participation. It may enhance both the accountability and effectiveness of government, as well as transforming the relationship between citizens and the state.

Growing numbers of countries have launched open government initiatives to exploit their potential benefits for public services. Some national governments have started to develop action plans with public consultation and committed themselves to independent reporting on their progress towards open government. They have also joined forces in multilateral initiatives to exchange experience and innovation. The most prominent effort is the Open Government Partnership, launched in September 2011 with the participation of 55 countries, currently led by the governments of Brazil and the United Kingdom.

In trying to design successful open government initiatives in public services, decision-makers face many questions: which concrete steps towards open government promise the biggest economic and political gains? How can the success of open government initiatives be measured, evaluated and monitored? And what is the best way to institutionalize open government initiatives at both the national and international level?

How could public participation be guaranteed beyond a minority of welleducated and highly engaged citizens? How can participation complement the system of representative democracy? And what are the limits of openness in terms of such concerns as personal rights and securityrelevant information?

    Solutions

    Solution
    Symposium 2012

    Establish international standards, quantifiable goals and an independent review mechanism to measure progress on open government.

    Establish international standards, quantifiable goals and an independent review mechanism to measure progress on open government.

    Establish international standards, quantifiable goals and an independent review mechanism to measure progress on open government.

    Polity, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2012

    Extend open government initiatives to the legislative branch.

    Extend open government initiatives to the legislative branch.

    Extend open government initiatives to the legislative branch.

    Polity

    Proposals

    Proposal
    Symposium 2012

    What role do Parliaments play in any open government inititiative

    Transparency and access to information are key conditions for successful social accountability. The exercise of social accountability must start by correcting the information asymmetries that keep cit ...

    Transparency and access to information are key conditions for successful social accountability. The exercise of social accountability must start by correcting the information asymmetries that keep citizens disengaged from government institutions and processes. Reliable, comprehensive and timely information is necessary to empower citizens to engage with government, as well as to hold it accountable for its actions. Information quality and accessibility are key determinant of the success of social accountability mechanisms. Latin American countries have made significant advances in both transparency and access to information in the past years. Access to information legislation has been passed in many countries in

    Polity, Business, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2012

    Fostering Open Government Initiatives in Public Services

      Summary of Policy Alternatives Strengthen the evidence base on how effective open government measures are in practice; Harness the potential of ICTs to drive open government; Use open government st ...

      Summary of Policy Alternatives Strengthen the evidence base on how effective open government measures are in practice; Harness the potential of ICTs to drive open government; Use open government strategies to prevent corruption and promote budget and fiscal transparency; Use OECD expertise to assess national open government policies by drawing on OECD’s peer review methodology.   Policy Implication 1: Strengthen the evidence base on how effective open government measures are in practice An open government helps build trust in government and creates a level playing field for business, thereby contributing to economic performance. OECD Ministers and their counterparts from

    Polity, Academia, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2012

    Offer educational classes for students and adults on open government

      Information and communication technologies (ICTs) offer tremendous opportunities to involve citizens into government action. Governments should therefore make use of ICTs to promote open government ...

      Information and communication technologies (ICTs) offer tremendous opportunities to involve citizens into government action. Governments should therefore make use of ICTs to promote open government, i.e. by publishing data on public services online. However, open government all too often remains an elite project. It fails to involve citizens on a broad basis and almost completely leaves aside offline communities. If citizens make no use of their access to ICTs or cannot afford the use of ICTs, they risk being left out. These shortcomings threaten both the legitimacy and effectiveness of open government measures. Instead of narrowing the common and

    Polity