National Action Plan

 Ireland’s First National Action Plan for Open Government

Ireland’s first Draft Open Government Partnership (OGP) National Action Plan was published at the OGP Europe Regional Conference in Dublin Castle in May 2014. The NAP outlines a variety of actions that Ireland will take over a two-year period towards a number of Open Government objectives.

A National Action Plan is a document that outlines what a government is going to do about its processes, to make them embody the Open Government core principles of Accountability, Citizen Participation, Technology and Innovation, and Transparency.

Ireland’s latest draft plan is available to read here

If you want to know more about Ireland and the OGP click here

How Ireland’s First NAP came about – Milestone Dates 

An ad hoc of civil society and citizens who had been engaged with OGP since the government registered interest in joining the initiative (May 2013), decided to establish a Civil Society Forum on January 30th, 2014 (see meeting notes here). Volunteers from the forum put themselves forward to participate in a joint working group with officials. The Joint Working Group allowed members of civil society and government representatives to work collaboratively on developing Ireland’s first OGP National Action Plan. The joint working group was co-chaired by William Beausang, the Assistant Secretary for the Government Reform Unit in Ireland, and Anne Colgan for civil society. For more information on the Civil Society Forum and the Joint Working group, and their members, see here.

The joint efforts of civil society representatives and members of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (D/PER) and Environment, resulted in the publication of the Draft National Action Plan on May 8th (open for public comment until June 6th) at the Europe Regional Conference in Dublin Castle. Ireland submits its final Action Plan to the International OGP Steering Committee in June to enable Ireland to begin implementation of the Plan over the second half of 2014.

The route to developing Ireland’s OGP Action Plan was multi-faceted.

February 02, 2014 – A Joint Working Group was formed

  • The Joint Working Group, made up of civil society volunteers and government officials, was set up to work on Ireland’s first OGP NAP.  Overall, nine weekly meetings were held so that the civic and official representatives had a place to discuss proposals and priorities for a draft National Action Plan. During this period, the civil society volunteers on the Joint Working Group reported back to a wider civil society group at weekly Civil Society Forum meetings (held on Tuesday evenings at the TASC office). At these Forum sessions, participants examined and discussed the NAP proposals and worked collaboratively on draft NAP documents. Such discussions and proposals can be seen in the the Civil Society Forums’ summary notes .

February 18, 2014 – The first draft of the Action Plan was submitted to civil society

  • This was the first of four drafts that were delivered between the months of February and May. Here is a breakdown of NAP drafts:
  1. Dated February 18, 2014 - Draft Action Plan provided by D/PER .
  2. Dated March 19, 2014  D/PER submits another Draft Action Plan
  3. Dated April 08, 2014 – Draft OGP Action Plan with commentary from civil society
  4. Dated May 8, 2014 – Draft National Action Plan published by Minister Brendan Howlin at OGP Europe Regional Conference 

Dated March 05, 2014 – D/PER submits Draft OGP Civil Society Consultation Proposal Table for Discussion.

  • This information is brought to the Civil Society Forum, where suggested amendments and additions to the draft are brought to the table and agreed and brought to the next Joint Working Group Meeting.  In upcoming Civil Society Forum meetings text for NAP’s action Point on Capacity Building and for NAP’s action Point on Local Government is developed.

Dated March 14, 2014 - Civil Society submitted priorities for inclusion in the National Action Plan

  • These amendments and suggestions are tabled for D/PER’s review and discussed at the subsequent Joint Working Group Meeting.

Date March 22, 2014 – Civil Society Priorities for inclusion in the National Action Plan – Tabular Response from Dept of Public Expenditure and Reform

  • A response to civil society’s priorities is discussed at the next Civil Society Forum and ideas arising from that meeting feeds into the Joint Working Group Meeting, two days later.

Dated March 21st – April 1st, 2014 – Civil society develops text for NAP’s action Point on Capacity Building. Civil society develops text for NAP’s action Point on Local Government

Dated April 08, 2014 – Government submits another Draft OGP Action Plan

Dated April 16th, 2014 – Civil Society’s Comments and Observations on the latest Draft National Action Plan.

Dated May 8th, 2014 – Draft National Action Plan published by Minister Brendan Howlin at OGP Europe Regional Conference  (open to public comment until June 6th, 2014)

What’s a National Action Plan?

A review of 35 of country action plans – covering countries from North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa – shows a wide range of different priorities. However, the 10 most common pledges are:

      • Innovative public accountability mechanisms – including a new ‘openness barometer in Slovak Republic, a ‘governance observatory’ in Peru and ‘public scorecard’ in Dominican Republic.
      • Open data portals – covering everything from crime statistics and political party funding to local budgets and procurement (proposed by Chile, Estonia, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Peru, Romania, Spain and Tanzania).
  • New legal and institutional mechanisms – including the creation of new state agencies (including in Peru and Uruguay), changes to access to information laws and systems (Canada and Croatia) and new anti-corruption laws/strategies (Estonia, Jordan and Peru).
  • Improved service delivery – including an interactive local water-point mapping system in Tanzania, digitized medical records in Spain and new/improved portals on service delivery in Italy, Israel, Tanzania and Uruguay.
  • Natural resource transparency – Ukraine and Colombia have both signed up to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, while Bulgaria, Colombia and Canada are taking steps to increase transparency around natural resources concessions and associated revenues (at both a national and local level).
  • International aid – Spain and Canada have committed to making their development agencies more transparent and aligned with international donor reporting agreements such as the International Aid Transparency Initiative.
  • Public integrity – introduction of new whistle-blower protection laws in Slovak Republic and Montenegro.
  • Citizens’ budgets – Bulgaria, Croatia and Tanzania are all creating citizens’ budgets at the national and/or local level to ensure public access to information to where public resources are going in plain, accessible language.
  • E-petitions – Ukraine, Slovak Republic, Moldova and Montenegro are all introducing online e-petition portals to collect and respond to citizens’ proposals more quickly and effectively.
  • Challenges and prizes – Uruguay, Israel, Italy, Jordan and Colombia are introducing government-sponsored prizes and challenges to encourage the private sector and public agencies to better use government data.

(Source: OGP website.)

Want to know more?

For more on National Action Plans, and how to make them, read this.

You can also see examples of Action Plans in our NAP folder. It has a selection of National Action Plan texts from Israel, the Philippines, Norway and Slovakia. The source is the Open Government Partnership website.