New Zealand is currently developing the fourth National Action Plan (NAP4) for Open Government. In March, we wrote about our concerns with the approach that the Government was taking, and the need for deeper engagement with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). It is good to report positive developments over the last four months.
The advice from Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission (TKM) to the Minister following our letter from CSOs, was proactively published together with his reply.
Subsequently, leaders from six CSOs met with the Public Service Commissioner, Peter Hughes, and three of his Deputies, to discuss and agree how a closer working relationship could be used so that NAP4 is better aligned to the expectations of co-creation of the Open Government Partnership.
Co-create with Civil Society
TINZ made an extensive submission in July 2021.
In our submission, we identify the opportunity for NAP4 to demonstrate commitment to “A culture of open government” – one of the five principles listed in the Public Service Act 2020. We also advocate for more effective engagement with civil society organisations, leading to co-created commitments that are drafted with the government, not by the government.
The consultation has resulted in a large number of ideas for consideration. We are pleased that TKM has taken steps towards co-creation through a series of workshops with CSOs, government agencies, and the Expert Advisory Panel which will work with the ideas to create commitments for NAP4.
UK Co-creation Themes
Co-creation is a practice that is already established in leading OGP countries such as the UK, currently developing their fifth action plan. Civil Society Organisations work together and jointly co-Chair themed working groups in partnership with government. The nine themes that they have identified are:
- Open Justice
- Open Health
- Open Contracting (Procurement)
- Open Environment (natural resource transparency/climate change)
- Data Ethics (algorithm transparency)
- Democracy Building
- Freedom of Information
- Public standards and accountability
We hope to be able to report that a similar development process has been used to co-create the commitments in New Zealand’s NAP4.