Process and timelines
I thought it would be helpful to add a little clarity to the process in the note above as there seems to be a little confusion about the next steps and deadlines. Below are details of what we hope will happen next, though please be aware that getting input to the commitments from Steering Group members, partners and policy teams is not a science so precise timings are difficult to predict:
Now - end Oct
The Scottish Government will refine the commitments over the next few weeks. To do this, we will work with civil society representatives nominated by the Steering Group, in the agreed pairings. This process involves conversations via email or in person to aid the development of more comprehensive commitments. This is a new process, so we’re still working with the civil society members on how to achieve this most effectively. Like any negotiation, the text of the detailed commitments is changing on a regular basis and needs to reach a point where it is practical and deliverable, as well as meeting the requirements of OGP before there is any point in circulating it widely. There was clear feedback from the Steering Group on the aim to be ambitious in the commitments, so this process of finalising commitments is necessarily an iterative one which is taking longer than originally anticipated, so this is likely to continue until the end of October.
When the commitments are sufficiently detailed to be circulated in draft, we will aim to put the draft Action Plan out for public comment for a period of 2 weeks in order to ensure we can hear people’s views and feed them into the finished document.
We hope this will enable us to meet Scotland’s obligations to the OGP’s (already extended) timelines, for developing Action Plans. We will also continue to update OGP on time pressures, but it is of course important to have as good a process and plan as we can.
Once comments have been received the Scottish Open Government Action Plan will then be submitted for approval to Cabinet. This will be followed by its publication.
We will update on progress and on any changes, and give more information when possible.