Friday, May 12, 2017

Open Government: How do we measure progress?

The Open Government partnership is about making government more transparent and responsive. But how do we measure that? There's the obvious way of checking whether governments are meeting their commitments, but that assumes that those commitments actually improve things meaningfully. As a way of addressing this, Mexico has developed an all-of-government Open Government Metric:

What is this metric? It is a quantitative instrument that measures the levels of transparency and citizen participation in over 900 federal and local agencies from the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches.The metric answers the following questions both from the governmental and citizen perspectives: how much do agencies publish useful information to account for their decisions and actions, and how much do they implement mechanisms to include citizen opinions or proposals into public matters. Not only were the legal and institutional frameworks evaluated, but a “secret shopper” technique was used to assess citizens’ ability to influence the public agenda.

The full details and weightings of the metric are here. While it will have its limits, the metric will let Mexico establish a baseline, and it can then track whether its OGP commitments are having any effect.

Meanwhile in New Zealand we're still doing stuff on a per-commitment basis, with no real examination of the impact. Though the Expert Advisory Panel is at least publishing minutes now, which is an improvement on having to extract them using the OIA. Still, rather than leading on this, we seem to be well behind - as usual.