FOI Notes: RTK Day, OGP Summit Attendees, Open Gov’t Standards, Procurement, Publications

11 September 2013

RTKD 2013:  There is now an online form to let everyone know about your events for Right to Know Day 2013, Sept. 28. As they come in, they will be placed on a map on the website.  Information Commissioners/RTI oversight bodies to be discussed on RTKD2013. Official hashtag #RTKD2013

OGP: A  preliminary list of the 600 person registered for the Open Government Partnership summit in London Oct. 30-Nov. 1.

Open Government: Access Info Europe issues its draft standards on open government. See the  Open Government Standards website. You can read the standards here: www.opengovstandards.org/blog/debating-the-standards. Email contact@opengovstandards.org with comments and suggestions.

Procurement: Sunlight Foundation announced The Open Data Guidelines for Procurement. Our recommendations focus on data release, as opposed to specific procurement processes and regulations.

Publications: Implications for the Future of Communications, Journalism and Society, edited by Benedetta Brevini, Arne Hintz and Patrick McCurdy. The chapter on the UK (WikiLeaks, Secrecy and Freedom of Information: The Case of the UK; David Banisar & Francesca Fanucci) is on SSRN at http://ssrn.com/abstract=2200461

Publications: A.J. Meijer, “Understanding the Complex Dynamics of Transparency.” Public Administration Review. Volume 73, Issue 3, pages 429-439. Also, “Local Meanings of Targeted Transparency. Understanding the Fuzzy Effects of Disclosure Systems. Administrative Theory & Praxis. Vol. 35, Nr. 3, pp. 398-423.

Abstract:  “Understanding the Complex Dynamics of Transparency”

This article contributes to the growing body of literature on government transparency by developing a model for studying the construction of transparency in interactions between governments and stakeholders. Building on theories about complex decision making, a heuristic model is developed that consists of a strategic, a cognitive, and an institutional perspective. To test the model’s value, it is applied to two empirical cases: Dutch schools and the Council of the European Union. Applying the model to the school case provides insights into the connection between the introduction of transparency and the transformation in arrangements for safeguarding school quality. The case of the Council of the European Union highlights the role of transparency in the transformation of the council from a supranational to an intergovernmental body. The article concludes that the heuristic model, together with in-depth, longitudinal case studies, helps us understand government transparency in relation to broader transformations in the public sector.

 Abstract: “Local Meanings of Targeted Transparency. Understanding the Fuzzy Effects of Disclosure Systems”

Targeted transparency has become a popular regulatory instrument, but its effects are fuzzy because disclosure does not always lead to better compliance. To understand this fuzziness, it is necessary to study the meanings managers attribute to disclosure systems. An empirical analysis of disclosure systems for food safety in Denmark and for environmental safety in the Netherlands confirms that the range of managerial reactions is broader than expected on the basis of rational-choice theory, but can be explained by focusing on local meanings. The article illustrates the shortcomings of a homogeneous approach to targeted transparency policy. Regulators should adopt a bottom-up rather than a top-down approach and develop differentiated policies based on a more nuanced understanding of the meanings managers attribute to targeted transparency.

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