Scotland's Open Government action plan: 2021 to 2025

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

2. How Scotland's Action Plan 2021-25 was collaboratively developed

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.

Where did the ideas in this Action Plan come from?

The ideas in this Action Plan came from several places. Primarily the ideas came from the public: we first ran an online dialogue[1] to crowdsource ideas, and online public workshops were then held during summer 2021.[2] Both of these identified a number of priorities. Members of the Open Government Steering Group, public-service regulators, academics, and our policy teams then worked with civil society to develop Commitments that respond to these priorities.

The co-creation of this action plan took place entirely online, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Open Government Steering Group, made up of 50% government officials and 50% civil society representatives, has overseen this process and has taken decisions as a group.

Conversation with the public around the plan was initiated through the Scottish Government's online ideation/crowdsourcing platform, "Dialogue". This gave people the chance to respond to and share ideas relating to five themes which had been identified as potential key areas for the Action Plan's focus. These themes were based on an evidence review of recent public engagements, such as the Citizens' Assembly of Scotland and the Climate Assembly. This opportunity was advertised on Twitter, on Scotland's civil society Network Forum, and shared with groups by email.

Following this crowdsourcing exercise, Democratic Society (DemSoc) was contracted to deliver a series of public workshops. Five workshops explored each of the five themes identified as potential area of focus for the Action Plan. A sixth workshop was aimed specifically at young people, and asked for their views and priorities across all five themes. Reports from each of these workshops were published, and formed the basis for the five Commitment themes that now feature in the Action Plan. Around these themes, Commitment leads from relevant SG policy teams and civil society were identified and began a process of collaboration.

Commitment leads convened working groups to design each Commitment, involving relevant individuals from government, local authorities, other public bodies, and civil society. The Open Government Team supported these working groups to develop collaborative ways of working, to identify problems and solutions around which they could build their Commitments.

Two online roundtable discussions were also held to consider the strategic direction for Open Government in Scotland. The first of these sessions focused on connections between Open Government and the National Performance Framework (NPF). The second session focused on how the Open Government Action Plan could support a human rights-based approach in Scotland. Relevant civil society stakeholders were directly invited to each of these events, with civil society partners helping to identify invitees. The outputs from these have informed Commitments, and the wider Action Plan.

What measures did we take to ensure diversity of representation (including vulnerable or marginalized populations) in these spaces?

Those who signed up for the online workshops were asked their age group, ethnicity, gender, level of knowledge about Open Government, and what sector they worked or studied in. This information was monitored, and additional measures were taken to publicise the event to under-represented groups, primarily through representative organisations.

The majority of people who participated in the spaces provided for open dialogue – the Dialogue platform, and the public workshops – did so as individuals.

Groups which were represented through the roundtables and working groups included:

  • Strategic Development Goals Scottish Network
  • Human rights organisations
  • Disabled people's organisations
  • Universities
  • Racial equality organisations
  • LGBT organisations
  • Democracy organisations
  • Carers organisations

Thirty groups participated in these spaces. Six public-facing meetings were held in the co-creation process.



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