Scotland's Open Government action plan: 2018 to 2020

Scotland’s second national action plan as a member of the Open Government Partnership.

This document is part of a collection

1. Introduction

This is the official publication of Scotland’s Second National Action Plan on Open Government. It has been written by us (the Scottish Government[1] and the Scottish Open Government Network[2] and contains our commitments on improvements to openness, transparency, involving people, and making public services accountable.

What is an action plan?

An action plan is a collection of all the different ideas that we and our partners are going to put into practice over the next two years. It’s a list of all the improvements and changes that we want to make, why these are important, who we will work with to deliver them, and when we will do this by.

‘Open government’ is the main theme for this action plan. When we talk about opening up government, we mean making governments and decision-makers more accessible, more transparent, and more able to involve the people they serve.

Where did the ideas come from?

The ideas in this action plan came from the public[3], through discussions and consultation, workshops and idea ‘crowdsourcing’ over the last year (2017). The ideas have been developed by the organisations and individuals involved in open government working together, members of the Open Government Steering Group, public-service regulators, academics, and our policy teams.

What is an open government?

An open government:

  • gives the public information about the decisions it makes;
  • supports people to understand and influence those decisions; and
  • values and encourages accountability (responsibility for those decisions).

Open governments also explore how they can use technology to support how they work and how they serve people. An open government is one which values openness, accountability, transparency and involving people. This action plan includes some ambitious commitments that will make real progress towards these goals.

We have produced this action plan in line with the requirements of Scotland’s membership of the Open Government Partnership[4], an international collaboration of 90 governments across the world committed to three key principles of openness, transparency and public involvement. The partnership also has a team of researchers[5] that independently monitors how well action plans are delivered. These findings are published in a report so everyone can see what’s working and what’s not, and progress can be measured according to the same criteria the world over.

What does it mean to be a member of the Open Government Partnership?

Governments that are members of the partnership must work together with communities to develop and deliver an action plan. Commitments in these plans should contain real actions that can lead to change and, ultimately, improve people’s lives.

Being a member of this large international partnership means Scotland is connected to other people across the world, inside governments and across communities. These people are all trying to change the way governments work, so we can learn from each other and share our experience.

Open government and freedom of information

To become a member of the Open Government Partnership, countries need to have laws in place that protect this important right to information. But open government isn’t just about freedom of information. An open government is one which gives you information about the decisions it makes, supports you to understand and influence those decisions, and encourages and enables you to hold the government to account. The purpose of opening up government is to rebuild trust with the people it serves, and to involve people meaningfully in the decisions that shape the world around them.


Email: Niamh Webster

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