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

4. How We Created This Action Plan

This section tells you how we created this action plan, where it came from and who was part of it.

How did you create this action plan?

We worked with organisations and individuals, the Open Government Network[18] and people across Scotland to create this document. We warmly welcomed the involvement of COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities)[19] to explore open government right through the system of many levels of governance.

How did you work together and communicate with each other?

The Open Government Civil Society network published all the draft project plans that had been developed with us. They used an online wiki site[20], which is an open-access site that people can edit and add to the content produced. This was set up to keep planning and progress transparent and a joint effort. Both we and members of the network regularly used the Scottish Open Government Network online forum[21] to communicate. This made sure there were clear timelines for what was happening when, and invited network members and the public to take part.

Was anyone else involved?

Yes! We invited people all across Scotland to share their ideas. We carried out public engagement and consultation over the summer of 2018.[22] This included:

  • seven public discussion events across the country (Dundee, Stirling, Inverness, two in Glasgow, two in Edinburgh);
  • attending existing events (for example, Inclusion Scotland’s Highland Disability conference); and
  • hosting informal events (Conversation Café, FireStarter Festival).

We also used an online site ( to gather ideas from people across the country. It was open and available publicly, so everyone could see what ideas were being proposed, suggest their own ideas and discuss or comment on the ideas. We promoted this site through our and the civil society network’s social-media channels, newsletters, media and printed leaflets. The network also involved a number of equalities groups, including young people, black and minority ethnic groups, and disabled people’s organisations, whose ideas were included online.

We received 57 ideas through this site, both from online and offline events. We were able to use most of these ideas to help develop this action plan, and the following themes form the basis of the commitments in the plan.

Financial transparency

  • Understanding the flow of money
  • Transparency to do with procurement (buying goods and services)
  • Accessible information on budgets and spending, and easy-to-understand explanations of that information
  • Involving the public

Access to information

  • Making information available in a variety of accessible formats to help you understand government processes and decisions
  • Making it easier for people to take part in decision-making.

Consultation and involvement

  • More public involvement and discussions
  • Improvements in how we involve people
  • Improved feedback and government consultations
  • Educating people on democratic processes

Accountability of public services

  • Helping you understand who decision-makers and service providers are and how they are accountable
  • Providing clearer information on who is responsible and how scrutiny bodies can help you resolve an issue

Understanding and influencing

  • Information on systems and processes so you can understand where and how to make your voice heard and where you can be involved
  • Educating you on other, more involved ways you can take part
  • Encouraging citizen journalism
  • Developing apps to help you understand and be involved in government processes

You can find a full report on how we involved and consulted people in ‘What we heard’[23] on our Open Government blog.

What did you do with the ideas and how did they become commitments?

We took all the contributions from all events, conversations and ideas to a final public discussion event to mark the end of the process. This helped to shape the broad ideas into more specific commitments and prioritise the main themes. We then took these to our policy teams for agreement. The steering group then discussed the draft commitments and agreed to do some more work on them to turn them into commitments. Each theme had named government officials working with community representatives to develop them into commitments. You can read more about that process on the Scottish Government website.[24]

The final plan, including all the commitments, was agreed by the Scottish Ministers and the steering group members in December 2018.


Email: Niamh Webster

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