1. What is Open Government?
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.
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, an international collaboration of governments across the world committed to openness, transparency and public involvement. The partnership ensures that action plans are independently monitored on how well they 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 civil society and 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.
What is the Open Government Network?
Scotland's Open Government Network is a group of active and interested people and organisations. They are committed to making government at all levels work better for people in Scotland through becoming more transparent and accountable and encouraging public involvement. Scotland has had a small network of individuals and organisations interested in Open Government for several years. The network serves as an "engine" for new ideas and a voice to join with and challenge government.
Anyone with an interest can join the network. Visit the Open Government Network website to become a member. It's free and you can be involved as much or as little as you like.
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