Institute for Government, Engage Britain, Open Data Institute join leading voice for open government

Representatives from the Institute of Government, Engage Britain, Open Data Institute, and Women’s Equality Wales, are amongst an unprecedented intake to the UK’s leading civil society voice for open government.

The nine appointments (listed below) to the UK Open Government Network (UK OGN) steering committee will join representatives from equivalent networks in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, and others, to make the government more ‘open’ by increasing transparency, accountability, and the involvement of the people they serve.

  • Miriam Levin, Chief Executive Officer, Engage Britain

  • Julian Tait, Chief Executive, Open Data Manchester

  • Resham Kotecha, Head of Policy, Open Data Institute

  • Mor Rubinstein, Founder, Open Heroines

  • Evelyn James, Diverse 5050 Campaign Manager, Women’s Equality Network Wales

  • Josiah Mortimer, Chief Reporter, Byline Times

  • Daniel Aldridge, Head of Policy, BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT

  • Tim Durrant, Programme Director, The Institute for Government

  • Dr Ben Worthy, Senior Lecturer, Department of Politics, Birkbeck College

Kevin Keith, Chair of the UK Open Government Network, said: “Not all people are equally affected by policy choices. It is crucial that the leadership of the OGN has a depth of knowledge and breadth of experience to better recognise and respond to the lived realities of more people in the UK. These appointments are a significant step in the right direction and as a result open government will be all the better for it.”

The appointments coincide with a call for ideas to the latest UK National Action Plan for Open Government (NAP) which the UK OGN coordinates alongside the Cabinet Office in the UK government.

Previous NAPs have contained groundbreaking reforms in areas ranging from anti-corruption and open data to open contracting and beneficial ownership.

The production of a NAP is mandatory for members of the 75 country Open Government Partnership which the UK government helped form in 2012.

Speaking about the appointments, Lucy McTernan, Chair of the Scotland Open Government Network and UK civil society representative on the Open Government Partnership global steering committee, said: "These are excellent appointments. I hope that in addition to helping connect reformers from civil society to civil servants in domestic governments, our new members play an active part in the global movement of reformers too, from 75 countries and 106 local governments around the world.”

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Great to see an upsurge in interest in supporting Opengov UK activity. Looks very promising. Has the network secured some core funding as well now?

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Sort of. There is a further news release to come on this but we have received £3K from Involve, Transparency International, and the Electoral Reform Society (£9K total) to fund some support for the UK OGN (to be delivered through Involve). It’s not a solution, and many of us are still having to put a lot of hours in, but it’s a step in the right direction.

It’s great that these orgs are supporting. I think Opengov is one of the most underrated and underfunded agendas, which if properly supported would have a bigger impact than a lot of other initiatives that seem to get funded.