April update to the UK 5th National Action Plan for Open Government

Hi all

Hope you are well.

The April update to the UK’s 5th National Action Plan for Open Government (2021 – 2023) has been published and is available to download here.

It contains information on:

  • Commitment 1: Open contracting
  • Commitment 2: Open justice
  • Commitment 3: Algorithmic transparency and accountability
  • Commitment 4: Health
  • Commitment 5: Anti-corruption and international illicit finance
  • Commitment 6: Aid transparency
  • Commitment 7: Diversity and inclusion
  • Commitment 8: Freedom of Information
  • Local transparency

Many thanks,



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@KevinKeith thanks for posting.

Open Contracting Milestones:

#1. Achieve 95% of ‘above threshold’ tenders on Contracts Finder - AT RISK

This must be an incredibly difficult milestone to measure because of the unknown unknowns but this is as much about compliance with the UK Procurement Regulations (PCR, UCR, CCR and DSPSR) and Procurement Policy Notes etc, as it is about transparency and open government.

So the publication gap can be attributed to Contracting Authorities acting unlawfully, and as there is a similar problem with the publication on Find a Tender Service, in breach of the GPA.

A quick look at Contracts Finder gives the following statistics:

2015 - 1st May 2023 123,219 contract (tender) notices

2015 - 1st May 2023 268,911 contract award notices

Even allowing for framework agreement call-offs and direct awards, the number of tenders seems very very low to me, particularly as contract award notices are not always published for frameworks. It begs the question, although the target is 95%, what was the current rate when the NAP5 was published?

#5. Issue twice-yearly report on progress in meeting NAP5 Open Contracting milestones - AT RISK

The Open Government Partnership’s Independent Review Mechanism has selected Commitment 1 on open contracting to review in greater detail due to its measurable indicators and potential to significantly improve the transparency of government procurement. This makes the issue of twice-yearly reports, which were due to start in April 2022, even more important.

The Resolution of the Criteria & Standards Subcommittee regarding the Participation Status of the United Kingdom in OGP December 20, 2022 makes clear that the UK is approaching a reputational precipice:

‘to prevent being recommended for inactivity to the full Steering Committee, the C&S Subcommittee asks the UK government to provide evidence of meeting the minimum requirements during implementation of the 2021-23 Action Plan by 30 June 2023. Failure to do so would result in the C&S subcommittee automatically recommending the full Steering Committee to place the UK under inactive status.’

Hi Kevin,

unfortunately the National Action Plan update is inaccurate.

I only checked the commitment I worked on, algorithmic transparency, others may be inaccurate I didn’t check them. The commitment was to look at appeal mechanisms, the update is about transparency mechanisms. They’re different things.

I recognise that the update is written by government, but unfortunately the OGN landing page does not highlight any discrepancy or the previous concerns from OGN about the last NAP being unilaterally changed.

I previously mentioned the inaccuracy to a committee member, Gavin, on twitter so hopefully an update to the OGN landing page is in progress?


Noted this @peterkwells Let me get on to it. Will report back. Kevin

Dear all, the April NAP update states that two health commitments are “on track”. I disagree.

The commitments are:

  1. Automatic registration of clinical trials, starting with clinical trials of medicines
  2. Monitor and publish metrics on community’s performance against research transparency requirements

Regarding (1), the #MakeItPublic strategy stated that all trials will be automatically registered. The fact that only trials of medicines are automatically registered does not constitute any progress. Those trials have been automatically registered since long before Brexit. For other trials, presumably due to lack of adequate govt funding to the Health Research Authority (HRA), nothing has changed, and the latest HRA figures show that 8% of non-medicine trials are still not being properly registered.

Regarding (2), the Health Research Authority did produce the promised monitoring report. It includes very good data on trial registration, but no meaningful data on results reporting - which is the most important and salient metric here. Again, it appears that the HRA is acting in good faith, but simply lacks the resources to deliver.

So we’ve got commitment (1) that isn’t really a commitment to anything new, and commitment (2) which has only been partially delivered on. So technically both could arguably be considered “on track” but there has been no meaningful progress for patients or taxpayers.

I’ve flagged this with the Cabinet Office but they appear to consider both items to be on track.

Can anyone recommend how to approach this issue? The UK govt has just allocated £81 million to clinical trials, detailed plans have yet to be developed, so there might be a good policy window now to get these commitments meaningfully delivered once and for all:

Thank you!
Till / TranspariMED

Can anyone recommend how to approach this issue?

Assuming HMG wont listen, which they probably wont unless there’s a scandal, the previous approach has been to write tighter commitments in the next NAP

That said, departments will only usually approve commitments that they can say they’ve met without the burden any new policy. But as new policy development is being done on the topic, there may be opportunities to improve on the NAP commitments from outside the OGP process

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