Open Government Partnership Steering Group meeting minutes: July 2021

Minutes from the group's meeting on 6 July 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • George Adam - Minister for Parliamentary Business
  • Lucy McTernan – Chair of Civil Society Network
  • Councillor Graham Houston – Vice President, COSLA (Apologies)

Civil Society

  • Alex Stobart – MyDex CIC
  • Dave Beck – University of Glasgow
  • Angela Gracie – Third Sector Interface, East Ayrshire (Apologies)
  • Annie Cook – DemSoc
  • Dawn-Anne McAneny – Scottish Leisure Network Group
  • Juliet Swann – Involve
  • Don Giles – Leith Community Council (Apologies)
  • Jack Lord – Open Data Services Co-operative


  • Jennie Barugh – Director of Performance and Strategic Outcomes (Apologies, Brian Taylor Deputising)
  • Lisa Bird – Deputy Director, Climate Change (Domestic)
  • Andy Bruce – Director Communications & Ministerial Support (Apologies)
  • Doreen Grove – Head of Open Government (Facilitator)
  • Geoff Huggins – Director of Digital (Apologies)
  • Albert King – Chief Data Officer (Apologies, Shona Nicol Deputising)
  • Audrey MacDougall - Chief Social Researcher
  • Catriona Maclean - Deputy Director Public Service Reform
  • Sean Neill - Director for Local Government and Communities (Apologies)

Steering Group Secretariat

  • Simon Cameron – Corporate Policy Manager, COSLA
  • Madeleine Fleming – Open Government, Scottish Government
  • Amy Watson – Open Government, Scottish Government


  • Alexandra Dunn - Unit Head, Person Centred and Participation Teams, Directorate for Healthcare Quality and Improvement, Scottish Government
  • Daren Fitzhenry - Scottish Information Commissioner

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Doreen Grove welcomed members to the meeting, extending a particular welcome to the members attending for the first time. Attendees introduced themselves, stating their interest and involvement in Open Government.

Apologies were given, including from co-chair Councillor Houston.

Partner updates

Civil Society

Lucy McTernan, chair of the Civil Society Network, gave an update for the Network. Following a phase of recruitment, there is a new cohort of Civil Society Steering Group members, many of whom were in attendance at this meeting. Lucy expressed her sincere thanks to the outgoing members, who completed a power of work. She highlighted that the way members had continued to give up personal time for Open Government had been particularly extraordinary given the context of the last 18 months.

The new Civil Society Committee will be working to build in an increased level of institutional memory to the network. Volunteers have been identified to lead on each theme of work, and are looking forward to getting started.

Lucy also provided a brief update in her role as Scotland’s member of the UK Open Government Network Committee, sharing that the group have been able to re-engage with the UK Government and begin to make progress. She proposed that Scottish Commitment Leads should join the equivalent groups in UK action planning to share learning and ideas. She also mentioned the work at UK level to identify funding to support civil society involvement in OGP, which will help build some stability into supporting the network, including in Scotland.

Finally, Lucy highlighted that there are currently over 100 National Action Plans currently being co-created worldwide, and suggested that there must be ways to create links to others and find synergies to produce better impact. Lucy also reminded the group of the importance of remaining linked to processes in Glasgow and Northern Ireland, and shared that Northern Ireland are interested in a ministerial meeting.

Scottish Government

George Adam, Minister for Parliamentary Business, expressed his enthusiasm for this programme of work. He stated that, having always found it to be much easier to work in an environment which is open and transparent, he hoped the partnership would be able to work well together to promote these aims. As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever that Government can be trusted, and are open so as to enable this trust. Mr Adam highlighted that key to the success of this endeavour is to ensure that the group does not just evangelise amongst ourselves, but reaches out to ensure that others work in this way as well.


Simon Cameron passed on Councillor Graham Houston’s apologies for being unable to attend the meeting, and reaffirmed COSLA’s strong commitment to Open Government. The aims and values of Open Government align with COSLA’s desire to enhance how we engage with and involve communities. Simon highlighted several areas of work which have been progressing well, including: reaffirming the 1% budget commitment for PB, working with colleagues to develop a fiscal framework, and the continued work on the CONSUL platform which has gone from strength to strength during Covid.

Action plan co-creation

Madeleine Fleming presented the group with a reminder of the Action Plan Cocreation Process, including Scotland’s progress so far. Doreen provided an update on what Scottish Government would like to include in the strategic overview portion of the plan.

A wide-ranging discussion followed, the key points of which are summarised below:

  • the group agreed it was preferable to extend the deadline by which the action plan would be submitted rather than compromise on the co-creation process
  • action: Scottish Government team to discuss extending this deadline with OGP
  • all agreed that it was sensible to link in with UK working groups looking at the same themes
  • it was agreed that the next steering group meeting will consider governance for this group, and return to consider the Independent Reporting Mechanism for the next plan

Next steps

The next meeting of the Open Government Steering Group will be arranged shortly. Any non-members wishing to attend this meeting as observers should contact the secretariat (

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