Uncategorised 18th December 2018

Government rates performance on open government highly

by Peter Timmins

The Network Steering Committee has responded to the government’s self assessment of Australian performance in implementing a national action plan on open government reforms.

Open Government Partnership rules require an end of term government report on Australia’s National Action Plan 2016-2018. Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet allowed two weeks for comment and feedback on the 84 page draft.

In commenting on the draft the Steering Committee said the report

  •  overstates what has been accomplished when it contends Australia has taken “great strides” to improve transparency, accountability and public engagement over the last two years;
  • omits mention or glosses over shortcomings and problems encountered during implementation of the plan, particularly the lack of public leadership from ministers that played into widespread scepticism that the government is serious about ‘open government’ reform and contributed to the low level of public awareness and participation in the open government initiative;
  • and draws only one general lesson from the experience of developing and managing the plan across the public service, that government should ‘consult early and widely’, which not only misses the point that ‘consultation’  is necessary but not sufficient in a partnership, but also fails to show serious examination of what worked, didn’t work and could be improved, including the raft of suggestions in an independent report by Daniel Stewart published earlier this year.

Submissions received by the deadline on 17 December are published on the PMC website.