News 10th April 2017

PM&C Interim Working Group March meeting

by Peter Timmins

PM&C Interim Working Group

Minutes of the meeting on 28 March.

Key points:

The Department’s Strategic Coordination Unit had assumed responsibility for coordinating implementation of Australia’s Open Government National Action Plan.

(Contacts are Will Story and Alan Wu reporting to Deputy Secretary Steven Kennedy)

IWG Terms of Reference extended to cover responsibility for providing oversight of the National Action Plan commitments, pending establishment of the permanent multi-stakeholder forum (Commitment 5.1). Papers before the meeting from PM&C and Ken Coghill (Agenda item 5)

PM&C and CSO member Ken Coghill,to prepare a first draft of a proposal for the multi stakeholder forum (both its responsibilities and how it would be constituted) and a timetable for engaging collaboratively with other civil society members to develop the proposal. This timetable will be published as soon as possible. The aim is  for the forum to be constituted by the end of June an extension beyond the original deadline to establish a forum by the end of March, but necesssary to ensure public participation.

The paper submitted by CSO members Kat Szuminska and Ken Coghill (Agenda Item 4)  on a framework for public participation and engagement (Commitment 5.2) is drawn to attention by the lead agency Industry, Innovation and Science for their consideration. That department, responsible for two commitments

PM&C and CSO member Kat Szuminska to redesign PM&C’s OGP Australia website to include regularly-updated and accurate information on the implementation of Australia’s commitments – ensuring that agencies are willing to highlight issues in delivery proactively – and highlighting opportunities for public engagement in delivering various commitments.

PM&C to work with CSO members Kat Szuminska and Peter Timmins to prepare a draft of high-level principles to guide Departmental engagement with civil society during implementation of Australia’s commitments. The principles should encourage an open, transparent collaborative approach by the lead agency that goes beyond standard consultation techniques and provides the opportunity for participation that extends beyond non-government actors identified in the published national action plan.

Issues raised by CSO members in advance of the meeting (Agenda Item 2 Attachments 2a and 2b) reported to IWG. In addition to matters in the minutes:

Ministerial arrangements: “The Minister for Finance, Senator the Hon. Mathias Cormann, is responsible for co-ordinating implementation of the National Action Plan across government and leads Australia’s ongoing involvement with the OGP. Minister Cormann is supported by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Each commitment in the National Action Plan will be led by the relevant Minister for that Portfolio (e.g. the Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, the Hon. Angus Taylor MP, will lead the data and digital transformation commitments in the Plan). Civil society members highlighted the importance of the government promoting the Open Government Partnership and of the Interim Working Group, and the multi-stakeholder forum, having access to ministers.”

Budget for delivering commitments: “Lead agencies responsible for delivering OGP commitments do so from within existing budgets.
PM&C has allocated approximately $240,000 of existing resources (ie its departmental funding) to meet non‑staffing costs for OGP activities in the second half of the 2016/17 financial year. This will include website redevelopment costs, supporting the interim working group and multi-stakeholder forum, and paying dues to the OGP Support Unit. Of this funding, an estimated $195,000 (pending fluctuations in the US/Australian dollar) will to be provided to the OGP Support Unit as part of Australia’s financial contributions to the initiative. Like all departmental resources, this will continue to be reviewed against other priorities. It is anticipated that, in the coming period, two full time staff will work on OGP matters within PM&C (1x EL1 and 1x APS5/6). This will be reviewed from time-to-time. They will report to Will Story (SES Band 1) and Steven Kennedy (SES Band 3), who are both responsible for this among other matters.”

The progress report on implementation of commitments will be the subject of a separate post.