The fourth UK Open Gov NAP

Hi all,

I thought I would start the new year with a short message of where we are at the moment with the UK Open Government Action Plan. Not much will have changed since you last read a message from me, but it is worth reiterating in case any of you missed it.

The 4th UK Open Gov Action Plan (2018-20)
The Action Plan is to be launched very soon (end of Jan at the latest is the plan). I am having a conversation with DCMS later this week to see what the situation is in terms of Government sign off. Just before Christmas, we were waiting for one minister to sign off on one commitment (simply waiting on their desk, not due to major objections).

I am also scheduling a call with the OGP Support Unit about the delay to the action plan being launched and what this will mean/imply from the OGP.

The only thing now that is really hanging over (or at worst could completely derail the process) is the delayed vote on Brexit due for 15th January. Who knows what might happen as it will have an effect on the process as it has done this whole time. The chat with DCMS may help to figure out potential ways forward.

Civil Society Foreword to the Action Plan
The text is ready and I will send over this week to DCMS to add to the plan. Please send comments or reflections asap, or indicate if you have any objections: Google Doc: Civil Society Foreword to 4th Action Plan

Steering Committee elections
We have extended the elections for steering committee positions to next Monday (14 January 2019). Please apply if you are interested, and send the message out to others who you feel would be good on the committee! It doesnt take long to complete! UK OGN website: More info and application form available here.

Strategy Meeting
For those that are applying to be Steering Committee members it is worth taking note of this ‘save the date’: Tuesday 26th February 2019. The Steering Committee will meet in Manchester (TBC) to discuss the strategic direction of the OGN. For those of you in the network, we will make sure there is opportunity to input into this meeting beforehand (and after!). It is still early days in planning and we have a date set so far, so are open to many options.

Questions, comments, thoughts more than welcome!


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Hi all,

Although many of you will have your heads turned towards Parliament for tomorrow’s vote, I am giving a quick update on the fourth UK NAP:

UK now jumps to next cycle of OGP countries
Since the UK had not submitted its action plan to the OGP last year and we are now in January, the UK officially will be handing it in late. That means the UK now jumps to the next cycle of countries who technically have until next August to submit their action plans.

However, in my mind this does not mean we delay further than necessary for the UK’s plan, but that instead we should be aiming to submit a plan as soon as possible, and take the extra months to implement the plan effectively (as well as add more commitments/milestones).

Awaiting ministerial sign off for one commitment
We are still waiting for that ministerial sign off on one commitment which is holding everything back. Unfortunately with the vote tomorrow, as you can imagine, it has been impossible it seems for DCMS to get that sign off past the minister.

The aftermath of the vote in Parliament on 15th Jan
What our next steps will be are totally dependent on what happens tomorrow after the vote. Should the government remain in place, we can hope that the minister will sign off on the action plan and it can be submitted to OGP before the end of January. We could then write to the minister with a letter about it being done so late and the poor ministerial lead on this area of government work. All as ‘‘planned’’.

Should the Government collapse and/or we May loses the no confidence vote, I have no idea what that would mean for the action plan (but let’s be honest, it is not good!). We could try to be creative with a solution or try to get bits already signed off into implementation, but it will also depend on civil service capacity too depending on whether the UK is looking at a no deal Brexit, a delay to Article 50 or something else. In any case, there are so many variables right now it is difficult to figure out any kind of sure-fire plan!

New point of contact
On the positive side, there will be a new dedicated point of contact within DCMS who will lead on open government. What a time to join! :confused:

Steering Committee elections
If after all the above, you feel up for the fight for open government, then heed this short reminder that today is the last day for submitting your application to become a UK OGN steering committee member! Apply here:



Hi Andreas

Are there any developments re the sign-off of the forth UK NAP?

Now the vote is over, did DCMS get the outstanding commitment signed-off by the Minister?



Hi David (and all in the network!)

It seems that the vote has not speed up the process at all.

DCMS are still chasing for sign-off of the final commitment. I have asked for a timescale but have been informed that the office they are waiting on has gone silent so they are escalating that to get a response as soon as possible. I will let you know as soon as I know anything else.

OGP Letter
I have been told that the UK Government has now received the letter from OGP bumping the UK onto the next reporting timetable (next cycle of countries).

A new open government point of contact has been named as well - Natalia Domagala - so hopefully with more bodies on the ground, they will be able to keep on top of things and push them along. Will be meeting her early next week.

Steering Committee election
I’ll also take the opportunity to remind those who have not yet voted, to vote for your new steering committee members as soon as spossible - link here:

Actions to take:

  • Write letter to UK Government to highlight our concern at the lack of leadership or pace for open government action plan.
  • Meet with new POC to work on next steps



Hi Andreas

Thanks for the update.

All the best


David McBurney

Hi all,

Newest updates on the UK Open Gov Action Plan following a call yesterday with DCMS:

The plan is to have the action plan submitted in February/March 2019. This would include the NI commitments at time of publishing it seems, but possibly not Wales (although they would add theirs a month later as they are a bit behind having the First Minister election recently). There is a ‘joint’ 8th commitment from Scotland around ‘learning/collaboration’ that would have been drawn up between the various UK administrations, although this has not had civil society input (although please say if you have done?!).

The biggest news, and I will post about this separately, is on ‘Open Gov Week’ that is set for 11-17 March 2019. DCMS suggest this week be used to publically launch the Open Government Action Plan with a series of events/panels/workshops/discussions (and a Multi Stakeholder Forum meeting). DCMS want it to lead with thematic focuses on gender and inclusion, participation and transparency as well as the public launch of the plan. More info in another email (with ‘register your interest’).



Hi all

A quick update to add to the above on the joint 8th commitment; we (Scottish Government) have proposed an initial draft commitment and it is currently being edited and shared for comment with the other governments (UK, Wales and Northern Ireland). We will look for civil society input on this as soon as a draft is ready to shape this, will share soon. In brief, the suggested commitment builds on the previous commitment in the 3rd UK NAP exploring collaborative leadership for effective open government across the UK.


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Thanks Niamh.
Can you share the draft commitment that’s been sent to the other UK governments with civil society now please. Thanks.

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Morning, it’s still very much an idea and still exploring what’s practical - when it’s a coherent draft we’ll share immediately, and work out how best to get civil society input and comment.

Dear all,

A draft has now been written and sharing today to ask for comments. There is a possibility it could be published in the UK Action Plan official launch in March if we have comments by Wed 20th Feb, but we appreciate this is the first civil society is seeing of this so may well want longer to discuss. Please let us know if needs more time, and can be added to UK NAP 4 at a later date. Please note this is still very much in draft and in the required OGP template. This is drafted by governments of UK, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland in collaboration. We are of course happy to answer any questions.

For context, the commitment is about finding the most effective ways to spread open government across the UK. We recognise that there are different ways of doing open government in different places, it’s not about making this all the same, but learning from each other. This commitment isn’t new, it builds on the work in the Scottish commitment in the last UK Action Plan (2016-18).

It’s relevant for the UK to address this now as a whole given that the International Open Governemnt Partnership are reviewing the spread of open government and the sub-national Pioneers programme, of which Scotland is a member (report available in international Steering Group papers - 'Next Phase of OGP Local, pg 31).

Read draft commitment here: OGP - Scotland UK Commitment 2018-20 - DRAFT.docx (28.5 KB)


Niamh and Doreen
Scottish Government

Hi all,

I have just come off a call with DCMS about the status of the UK Open Gov Action Plan that we expected to have been published this week for #OpenGovWeek.

I have been informed that last week the document was sent to Departments as part of an official comment period (last chance for objections from Departments), so we are now awaiting the end of this period (and assuming no objections). The plan should be published either at the end of this week, or the beginning of next week. They say that this is more of a procedural process now, so there should not be further delays (although living in our post-referendum world, who knows what might happen at tomorrow’s meaningful vote).



Thanks for the update Andreas!

Good intel. Thanks, Andreas.

Rachel Davies Teka

Head of Advocacy

Transparency International UK

Thanks for the update Andreas.

Fingers crossed

Hello Network!

In the never-ending process of launching the UK open gov action plan, I have some more information…

The further delay has been due to some last minute queries raised by the pre-publication process in Government which have led to further commitments being added. They are awaiting this ‘new’ commitment to be cleared by their ministers. The ‘new’ commitment involves focusing on local government data publication and transparency, which already existed in a way as a subset of another commitment in the consultation document (commitment 5 I think), but has been developed inside Government and re-entered into the NAP as a standalone commitment.

Once this has been cleared, the plan will be published soon after.

Not sure what to say to you all really. When there is a copy of the plan that can be shared, I will do so as soon as possible. Until then, we are in much the same place as we always have been - nothing ‘new’ to add to any news cycle since our mid-feb news.



Thanks for this honesty Andreas - I can only imagine what a frustrating process this is for you. There is something very interesting in government further developing commitments at this point in time, without giving civil society chance to feedback and truly co-own the NAP being produced. It’s also not the first time UK Government has dropped in proposals at the last minute.

I would suggest we explore this in more detail after this NAP is published.

Best wishes,