I am writing to introduce myself as interim Chair of the UK Open Government Network and for your support as we seek to reignite our movement.
We are living through an unprecedented time due to the coronavirus. And it is clear that our government is facing unparalleled challenges as it seeks to protect lives and livelihoods. Yet it is also clear that too often the principles of open government have been ignored.
From repeated warnings from the UK Statistics Authority about the misrepresentation of data, to the numerous reported cases of multi-million pound contracts awarded without a transparent tender process. From denigrating ‘activist lawyers’ who uphold our laws as determined by parliament, to the breaking of international laws that uphold our inherent belief in a rules-based international order.
Trust between government and citizen, at a time when lives depend on it, has been depleted.
But trust can be restored. And trust must be restored. Because we are at the foothills of technological change and public service reform that will transform the relationship between government and citizen. An age of bias, algorithms and artificial intelligence. Post truth, misinformation and rights associated with data use. More than ever we need good government. And we need an effective Open Government Network to help make it so. Which is why we need your help.
Over the coming months the UK OGN needs to better understand who you are and how you can contribute: either as an individual or an organisation. And we need to work collectively to make a difference because no one individual or organisation will be able to drive the change required on their own. It will take a coalition of shared purpose, with clear strategic direction and tireless determination, alongside a willing government.
I will post a link for a Zoom call with other members of the UK OGN committee in the next few weeks but please reply below as we need to understand if this is an effective platform. If not we will have to change it. Briefly tell us more about you, why you are involved in the UK OGN, and what you hope we can achieve with your involvement.