Open Government to be extended in Scotland

Holyrood cropped

Scotland's Second Action Plan on Open Government has been published, as work to improve transparency in Scotland continues

7th February 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A continued commitment has been made to embracing democracy and transparency in Scotland. 

Scotland’s Second Action Plan on Open Government was launched last week.

The initiative aims to build on progress that has been made since 2017, with improvements to openness, transparency, involving people, and accountability of public services at the centre of its aims.

The plan has been produced in line with the requirements of Scotland’s membership of the Open Government Partnership, an international collaboration of 90 governments across the world committed to three key principles of openness, transparency and citizen participation.

In 2016, Scotland was selected as one of 15 countries/regions around the world to join the programme to bring new leadership and innovation at all levels of government.

The new plan, which runs over a two-year period, aims to build on progress in getting citizens and governments working together so that communities have a say on decision making and ensure that decisions are made in a transparent and accountable manner.

Government chair of the Open Government Steering Group, Mike Russell MSP, said: “I believe that opening up government is about strengthening democracy and putting people at the centre of our policies to create a Scotland that works for everyone. We should be more responsive, inclusive and accessible to the people we serve.

“Openness is a core value of the refreshed National Performance Framework, and I see our involvement in Open Government as one way of achieving transformative change in how we govern. We joined the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in 2016 because we share the values of openness, transparency and accountability with the 90 plus governments and their civil society partners around the world who are members of OGP.”

The new plan focuses on financial transparency, and improving the way that Scots can understand, participate and influence the work of the Scottish Government. This includes a commitment to ensure people in Scotland are properly informed throughout the Brexit process.

It stresses a need to improve the way people are able to participate in open-policy and service delivery, making improvements to the way information and data is used and making public services more accountable.

It is hoped that the plan will be continue to be developed over the two-year period, to build on the steering group’s work.

Civil society chair of the Open Government Steering Group, and member of the Open Government Partnership International Steering Committee, Lucy McTernan, said: “We are pleased to be publishing the action plan and while it doesn’t contain everything we called for, it does have some solid and very practical proposals to make government more open. It encourages civil society organisations and activists to think and act differently too, and we want to continue exploring this over the duration of the action plan.”