Open Government Forum and the relationship with civil society organizations and the Department of Public Administration: the vision and proposal of the States General of Innovation.
The works for the design of the IV Italian action plan for the Open Government Partnership have been started by the Department of Public Function amid expectations of a continuation of the method adopted for the preparation of the III Action Plan and unknown factors concerning the political and institutional uncertainty that we are living; in the post we try to provide feedback to the many friends and colleagues, whether or not associated with SGI, who in recent days have asked us for clarifications regarding the evolution of the work of the Italian Open Government Forum and the participation of civil society organizations in the preparatory work for the IV Action Plan.
An excellent summary of what happened in the 2 years of implementation is masterfully illustrated by my friend Matteo Brunati in the post available here and shared in recent days among all the Associations that have signed it, our participation and that of the other Associations involved in the implementation of the 2016-2018 Plan, has not been without implementation difficulties and critical issues; it is an excellent synthesis, to which I refer you to know and understand the positions that we have supported in recent years and from which we deem it useful to start again for the definition of the next steps.
With the launch of the planning phase of the IV Italian Action Plan for Open Government, the 2016-2018 two-year period of implementation and implementation of the IIIrd Italian Action Plan ended which saw a large number of more or less structured Associations ( Reactive Citizens, Openpolis, OnData, Spaghetti Open Data, Stati Generali dell'Innovazione, Open Genova and Open Knowledge Italy) to share positions, working methods and proposals brought to the Working Tables coordinated by the Department of Public Administration and the specially formed OGP Team; this is not the place to comment on the detailed results obtained and the difficulties encountered in the implementation of the IIIrd Italian Action Plan, but it seems necessary to illustrate the reasons that push the States General of Innovation not to abandon, as proposed by some of the listed, the preparatory work for the drafting of the IVth Italian Action Plan.
Moreover, as also mentioned by Matteo Brunati in the post cited above, we share criticisms and observations, also highlighted by the final evaluation report of the IIIrd Plan presented last 5/4 in Rome by the IRM (Independent Reporting Mechanism) carried out by the RiSSC (Research Center on Security and Crime), a third party identified by the Open Government Partnership and appointed to carry out a final assessment on the implementation of the actions included in the Plan itself.
However, we would like to highlight the elements at the basis of the Association's assessment of remaining present within the Open Government Forum for the activities foreseen in the implementation of the IVth Plan, differently from what the other Associations mentioned have expressed. I try to summarize them below, aware of the extreme conciseness.
The implementation deficiencies and the critical issues shared by our Association and reported in the post mentioned above, refer to the specific actions of the IIIrd Plan within the "Open Data and Transparency" table; as known, the works of the Forum are organized in 3 vertical working groups:
- Open Data and Transparency;
- Participation and accountability
- Digital citizenship and innovation
Having found criticalities and implementation difficulties on a specific action (Action No. 1, "National participatory agenda for the enhancement of public information assets"), does not in our opinion "sic et simpliciter” leave the participation in the Forum by an Association such as SGI obviously interested in the overall development of the Plan and in the actions grouped in the remaining 2 working tables. We believe it is appropriate to consider the overall implementation of the IIIrd Plan and not stop at just the OD area; The IRM report it helps us to verify and certify the partial successes and the numerous, unfortunately, failures.
The changes taking place on the political and institutional level involve the need to verify the effective support of the Italian initiative in the OGP field; we believe that the role of the Associations is to stimulate and support the implementation of specific innovation processes in all areas related to open government. In this context, it is useful for civil society to make the human and knowledge capital built up over the years during the Italian OGP initiatives available to institutions, paying particular attention to verifying and monitoring their implementation, denouncing or stigmatizing both results achieved and those not achieved.
We reiterated our observations on the occasion of the recent kick-off meeting of the works for the realization of the IVth Italian Action plan, aware of the "costs of participation", so correctly referred to in Matteo's post and reiterated on many occasions together with the other Associations ; at the same time, however, we have observed a greater "engagement" and attention on the part of the DFP and the outgoing government on these issues, unlike what happened in the previous Italian Action Plans. In our opinion, these elements must lead to a proactive and proactive approach to improve and enhance the relationship of dialogue between governments and civil society organizations.
In summary, we think it is important to continue the collaboration activities with the Department, aware of the critical issues present but at the same time convinced that only through vigilant and proactive participation can we improve the dialogue between the various players involved in the processes of opening and modernizing the Administrations.
In recent years, we have taken action with many friendly Associations and we are convinced that the shared activities and projects represent important results and to be pursued with conviction; one example among many is represented by the introduction of the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) in the Italian legal system and by the process that led to its approval thanks to the stimulus and participation of numerous interested stakeholders.
As States General of Innovation we are convinced that in the future there will be moments of sharing and comparison with all the Associations present within the Open Government Forum; for our part, we will always maintain a proactive and useful approach to sensitize Italian society and all its players on the issues constituting the Open Government paradigm.