Open Government Partnership Steering Group minutes: May 2022

Minutes from the group's meeting on 3 May 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Mr Adam, Minister for Parliamentary Business (chair)
  • Lucy McTernan, Chair of Civil Society Network

Civil Society

  • Susan Paxton, SCDC, Open Government Network Coordinator
  • Julliette Swan, Involve


  • Albert King, Chief Data Officer

  • James Coltham, Head of Digital & Content

  • Matt Grady, Head of Behaviours and Engagement

  • Linda Pollock, Interim Director, Healthcare Quality and Improvement

  • Jennie Barugh, Director of Performance and Strategic Outcomes

  • Jane O’Donnell, Deputy Director, General Communities

  • Doreen Grove, Head of Open Government

Public sector

  • Simon Cameron, Corporate Policy Manager, COSLA

Steering group secretatiat

  • Erin Dobson, Public Service Reform, Local Government and Communities, Scottish Government


  • Daren FitzHenry, Scottish Information Commissioner
  • Helen Rule, Public Engagement, Domestic Climate Change
  • Niall Davidson, Performance and Strategic Outcomes
  • Martin Macfie, Head of Open Data
  • Matthew Linden, Deputy Private Secretary to Minister for Parliamentary Business

Items and actions

Introductory remarks  

Mr Adam welcomed everyone to the meeting. The aim of the meeting was to discuss collectively how the group would like to work going forward and how to make good use of time.

Arrangements for future meetings

Options to continue to meet remotely or to meet in person   

Members agree meeting in person would be valuable to have proper conversations, and so that the group could begin to work as a team to improve overall efforts towards opening governance in Scotland.

It was decided that in future the meeting of the Steering Group would be alternately online and in person (although the latter will continue to be hybrid for those requiring it).

Purpose of the meetings

It was agreed that there was a need for the Steering Group to properly monitor and evaluate progress. Providing oversight of progress on Action Plan commitments, in ways that align with reporting to the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM- once appointed), with regular written reports to be issued to the Steering Group in advance of meetings. This approach would ensure meetings can focus on exception reporting, strategic issues and consideration of how best the commitments can work together ‘to make more than the sum of the parts’.  Not forgetting the nuts and bolts of delivery.

It was proposed that the agenda in future will have a number of standing items to ensure progress, timelines and any concerns are clear. Doreen Grove suggested that the Open Government team will update the governance paper and set out a proposed format of future meetings as well as the more strategic issues for this group to consider. This may include the independent reporting mechanisms, the potential for open government training and an assessment of how we support the civil society network.

How can open government work to build trust in government?

There was a discussion about ensuring Open Government work is clearly in support of increasing our understanding of trust in government and ensuring Scottish Government is a trustworthy government. Building on the work that the Open Government Partnership and OECD have done in Finland and Canada to better understand the views of their populations was referenced.

It was agreed that not all the infrastructure around trust and ethics is necessarily in the context of the open government. We have to ask ourselves: what we do around open government in particular to that landscape; how important trust is built on strong partnership working; and how we make sure we have the capacity for meaningful partnership in civil society. Albert King gave the example that work done previously on the open data committment and previous commitments suggested simply putting out and publishing more data is not necessarily the same as transparency and accountability.

It was agreed that this group would keep trust in mind – with each commitment team considering what is being done elsewhere and how we can build on that, learning from the approaches being taken in different areas. This includes looking at the places we can make a difference, using these meetings to identify and anticipate things that will help things shift in Scotland.


The Independent Report for the 2018-20 OGP Action Plan will be published next month.

A job description and set of deliverables for the appointment of a reporter to cover the 2021-25 OGP Action Plan will be circulated to the group.

Action points

Open Government team to:

  • update the governance paper to include form, regularity and location of meetings. Once agreed, the team will put provisional meeting dates in diaries for the rest of the year
  • propose the reporting cycle and provide draft templates for regular self assessment
  • suggest a list of issues for future discussions - all group members to add to that list

Doreen Grove to circulate the IRM once it is published.

Next steps

The next meeting of the Open Government Steering Group will be held Wednesday 7th September. Any non-members wishing to attend this meeting as observers should contact the secretariat (

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