Thursday, June 29, 2017

Open Government: Will they get it right this time?

SSC has announced its upcoming public consultation on New Zealand's Open Government partnership Mid-term Self-Assessment Report. There's nothing concrete yet, other than that there will be a whole two weeks consultation at the end of July. Hopefully they'll do a better job than last time, where an overly restrictive online platform attempted to channel and constrain feedback, turning the "consultation" into a terrible self-parody.

They've also posted progress reports on our OGP commitments. This is a massive improvement on last time (where the "commitments" were vague waffle with no targets and no milestones, let alone reporting against them). On the other hand, compare the milestones for commitment 2, improving official information practices, with the progress report, and it is clear that the government is dragging its feet in some areas. For example, there's no progress towards a policy on proactive publication (meant to be done by tomorrow), or towards improving access by publishing responses online (meant to be done by February). What they do have is more secret meetings, in which the government talks to itself about secrecy, without telling us what they're doing. I'll be probing this, as usual, but given that in the past the government has withheld its discussions of the OIA as "free and frank advice" (which tells us that they don't think the public would like what they were saying), I doubt I'll have much luck.