Monday, August 24, 2015

Open Government: Still doing it wrong

Earlier in the month, the government announced that it was beginning public consultation on its Open Government Partnership Midterm Self-Assessment Report. When the consultation was announced, I immediately sent in an OIA request seeking all advice on it as well as information on whether they had begun drafting the report they were supposed to be "consulting" on. I got the response back on Friday, and its clear they don't want to talk about it, because they're playing the "due particularity" game. I guess that opening my request with information about the MSR consultation before asking for all advice on it wasn't "particular" enough for them; either that, or they're being deliberately obtuse in an effort to delay an embarrassing response. Which it is is left as an exercise for the reader.

But I did learn one thing. That report they're "consulting" on? They've written it already. But they won't provide a copy, even though the OGP's rules state that they are supposed to. I guess they've decided that the public don't actually need to see the thing they're supposedly being consulted about.

Transparency International is right: this is an insulting mockery of a consultation process. That's business as usual for this government, but the good news is that it gets independently monitored, so in this case it will result in international criticism and a big "failed" stamp. Which will do our reputation for transparency and openness wonders...