OGP Still Developing Review Mechanism for Action Plans

19 April 2012

The process through which the Open Government Partnership will review the implementation of national action plans is still being developed, according to OPG Steering Committee members.

The basics of the process are contained in the recently adopted Articles of Governance, but further discussion is expected, particularly on how to involve civil society more in the process, members told FreedomInfo.org.  Also to be finalizd is a “tool” to guide the work of the independent expert who will conduct the review of the self-assessments to be done by governments in a year.

The  Independent Review Mechanism (IRM) is “still a work in progress” according to Warren Krafchik, the new civil society co-chair, predicting a conclusion in several months.

He said challenges will be to maintain the integrity and independence of the mechanism, to find a balance between giving guidance and providing flexibility, and to create a “listening mechanism.”

A “concept paper” about the IRM was discussed April 16 at the closed Steering Committee meeting, but further discussions  are expected. One item deferred, several members said, is a suggestion to force nations out of the OGP after three years of negative reviews. The concept paper has not been disclosed and the minutes of the meeting have yet to be released.

Further subcommittee deliberations are expected, officials said.

The Articles of Governance define the basic expectations for national action plans and their review. Nations will conduct a self-assessment and an expert chosen by the OGP also will prepare a report.

The Articles lay out the basics:

Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): As a complement to the self-assessment, an independent assessment report is to be written by well-respected local governance experts from each OGP participating government. These experts are to fill out a common OGP independent report questionnaire, based on a combination of interviews with local OGP stakeholders as well as desk-based analysis.

This report is to be shared with a small international expert committee (appointed by the OGP Steering Committee) for peer review to ensure that the highest standards of research and due diligence have been applied.

The draft report is then shared with the relevant OGP government for comment. After receiving comments on the draft report from the government, the local expert then finalizes the independent report for publication on the OGP portal. OGP governments also have the chance to issue a formal public response to the independent report on the OGP portal once it is published. The independent report is to be made publicly available in the local language (s) and in English, and is to be published approximately 3 months after the end of the 12-month OGP implementation cycle.

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