Need to have an agreed framework for evaluating collective proposals to ensure they are SMART, have impact etc - this could include a statement of aims and principles but also with a template that each commitment should adhere to
template sounds good to me, need to adapt to Irish context though so should do before Thursday morning
Other nuts and bolts issues - minuting meetings, chairing meetings, agendas, working drafts etc to ensure open process and provide for accountability back to the forum and within govt departs - they take stuff back to their people and we take stuff back to ours
I would like the government's view and proposed actions with regards to the OGP Official Guidelines for Civil Society Participation because unsatisfied with process to date which is not open.
Have DPER already done work on which commitments to include?
Draft Final agenda for Meeting with DPER - As discussed 5 Feb by Flora, Denis, Anton and Nuala
Need to agree what is the point of the action plan - to benefit the citizen - and to work on a high level narrative on how to get there. This ought to include an agreed framework on what is a SMART action and how do we choose actions (example of UK Template).
Suggest that DPER has first crack at drafting this narrative based on agreed principles or themes that the Action Plan commitments will flow from.
Expectation that the final plan contains stretch commitments and that there is room for other actions beyond those already suggested - perhaps not even written down yet.
Set out relationship between officials and govt and other depts, and likewise between our small committee and civil society forum.
Agree as far as possible a schedule of meetings between now and whatever the deadline is (possibly late March/early April). We suggest next meeting with DPER should be around 20 February.
Need to start meetings with other departments, with DPER coordinating if needed. We propose bilateral meetings between other relevant departments, drafting in expert members of our forum where needed to discuss particular action points.
Venues for meetings - alternate locations between govt and CSO venues?
Possibility of remote participation at meetings.
Agree to fast turn around (24hrs) of minutes of meetings and logistics of who takes minutes - suggest the administrator does all meetings that CSOs attend.
Minutes to be made availale online
Agree on making working documents available online during the process
Agree channels of communication between DPER and CSOs:
Civil Society Forum administrator to take care of scheduling meetings etc
Communications between meetings: how to communicate, with whom, how often
New role for www.ogpireland.ie - need to rebrand it and agree who posts updates to it etc
Draft Minutes of the Civil Society Meeting, Thursday 30th February (byNat O'Connor)
Present: Anne Colgan; Antoin Ó Lachtnain (Digital Rights Ireland); Denis Parfenov (OKFN Ireland/Active Citizen); Donal O’Brolchain; Edward Stephenson; Flora Fleischer (OKFN Ireland); Ingo Keck; Ivan Cooper (The Wheel); Jane Suiter (DCU); John Devitt (Transparency International Ireland ); John J May; Kevin Murphy (Voluntary Arts Ireland); Nat O’Connor (TASC); Nuala Haughey (TASC/TI Ireland); and Vanessa Liston (CiviQ.eu).
Apologies and emailed comments were also received from Jonathan Victory and Mick Byrne.
The meeting took place on Thursday 30th February 2014, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm, in TASC’s offices on 14-15 Parliament Street, Dublin 2.
There was a round of introductions.
Nat O’Connor gave a potted summary of the OGP process to date, with others contributing comments and additional information.
Vanessa Liston asked about the level of political will across Government for OGP. The group discussed how actions will be chosen. Brendan Howlin’s public statements and lead role was noted. It was noted that DPER will naturally lead out on the policy, and seek other Departments to join in. Denis Parfenov noted the initial role of Minister for State for Innovation, Sean Sherlock, in OGP, but that DPER was the appropriate Department to advance an all-of-Government approach. Antoin Ó Lachnain noted that, although DPER may not be able to impose actions on other Departments, it can impose a ‘style’. Donal O’Brolchain noted that the very existence of the word Reform as part of DPER’s title indicates their mandate.
Edward Stephenson noted that there was nothing stopping individuals and organisations continuing to do work to promote openness and transparency actions, in parallel to the formal OGP process.
Flora Fleischer noted the need for a communication plan for civil society, alongside the process (see Annex 6).
It was suggested that the Forum should meet every two weeks at least, to keep up with the Action Plan process.
In terms of the process from here until the final Action Plan, the question came up about how drafting and responding to draft versions of Ireland’s OGP Action Plan would happen. On the basis of previous communication from DPER, it was suggested that the first joint-committee might agree headers (i.e. a Contents list) for the Action Plan, with discussion of the text to go in each section. It was envisaged that officials would draft text and that civil society (including the Forum) would get a chance to review them and give feedback, before the next committee meeting, discussion, and further revisions.
It was felt that headers in the plan would be fairly intuitive, based on international practice to date and the existing set of OGP action plans. Ivan Cooper suggested that the four OGP pillars (transparency; accountability; technology; and civic participation) would make appropriate headers as ‘buckets’ into which further detail and actions could be added. The group discussed that draft documents should go online for public scrutiny as well as to give civil society time to react between meetings of the joint committee. The group agreed that there is a need for clarity about how this process will work, as well as for Agendas and Minutes to be posted online in a timely fashion.
In terms of choosing actions, Anne Colgan suggested that we create some kind of an evaluation framework: e.g. a matrix with ‘high impact versus low impact’, ‘doable within two years versus longer-term’, etc. This should help identify actions that are SMART and suitable for the first action plan. Ultimately, our goal has to be actions that are best for the Irish people, and the evaluation frame should provide us a way to filter all the lists of existing or proposed actions in order to prioritise among them.
Some discussion was had about whether or not we want to re-prioritise actions, which were prioritised during the consultation.
Vanessa Liston asked whether case studies from other countries provide best practice guidelines for choosing actions to put in an OGP Action Plan. Denis Parfenov noted that OGP internationally collected and documented such experiences. Vanessa also asked about business representation in OGP, especially tech start-ups who wish to re-use public data.
There was a wide-ranging discussion about the likely ambition of the first Ireland OGP Action Plan and the risk of too narrow a focus on data to the detriment of other democratic reform issues. It was noted that current OGP plans tend to be 10-20 pages long, with 9 to 16 commitments, but that there are no hard and fast rules. It was also noted that the less than 2 months remaining was a tight timeline.
Nat O’Connor proposed that the group should constitute a Forum and continue to meet, to strengthen the role of civil society and help organise flows of information. This was discussed and agreed.
Denis Parfenov suggested using the free platform DGROUPS to replace Google email, which some people cannot use. It was agreed to try out this platform and Denis undertook to circulate invitations to it. It was acknowledged that we need to ensure people can get information about Announcements, even if they are not in a position to read all emails discussing OGP issues. This may require two email lists in parallel or careful use of subject lines for emails.
It was discussed and agreed that a smaller number of people from civil society should attend joint-meetings with the Department to keep these manageable. A number of people noted that they were not interested or available in this role. It was suggested that a diversity of organisations should attend, rather than any one organisation. Initially it was suggested that just 3 or 4 people should attend, but there was some suggestion that this could be 5 or 6.
Some volunteers stepped forward to meet with officials to begin the formal process of jointly drafting Ireland’s OGP Action Plan. The first meeting is scheduled for Thursday 6th February at 11.30am. The names put forward were: Anne Colgan; Andrew Jackson (An Taisce); Denis Parfenov (Active Citizen); Flora Fleischer (OKFN Ireland); and Nuala Haughey (TASC).
Ivan Cooper (The Wheel) indicated that he would be available if required, but was constrained for time. Likewise, Antoin Ó Lachtnain (Digital Rights Ireland) noted his availability if required.
The volunteers agreed to meet together in advance of the meeting with DPER, with Nuala Haughey to follow up.
Nat O’Connor indicated that the DPER had responded favourably to a query about resources to support the initiation and development of civil society’s contribution to the drafting of Ireland’s first action plan and that money was available for a temporary, part-time assistant and technical support (see Annex 4). The group agreed to take up this offer and Nat O’Connor agreed to undertake an open process to find someone for this role and to provide line management for this role, which is to support all of civil society in this process (see Annex 5).