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Access Info Europe has led for the last year a campaign aimed to create Open Government Standards and promote them around the world. The idea was to set standards on what open, transparent, accountable and participatory government really means.

The website http://www.opengovstandards.org/ unfolds the work behind this project.

Open Government is a hot topic right now, but what does it really mean in practice? What should government be doing in the areas of Transparency, Participation and Accountability to qualify as “open governments”? What are the uses of new communications technologies, which really advance openness as opposed to merely perpetuating existing bureaucratic practices in a digital environment?

Our aim was to answer those questions, drawing together all the standards already developed by civil society into a coherent structure around the emerging concept of open government.

Therefore the Open Government Standards were drafted through a consultative process, involving all kind of civil society organisations across the world working to promote open government. They are an agreement on the basic elements of what constitutes open government, following one goal: to define the measures that different governments must adopt in order to advance and become Open Governments. For this reason, they were designed to be applicable in all countries, with a particular relevance for members of the Open Government Partnership.

Open Government Standards are structured according to three core pillars:

· Transparency

· Participation

· Accountability

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Open Data Day 2014: Open Government Standards

Madrid, 22 February 2014 - As open data activists around the world celebrate "Open Data Day" on 22 February 2014, Access Info Europe recalls that Open Data is an integral part of all work to promote open government and has been integrated into the core of the Open Government Standards, which are being promoted by civil society as a framework for determining and evaluating government progress on openness.

To mark Open Data Day 2014, Access Info reiterated its call for governments to ensure that all data released in digital formats is made available in an open format. In practice this means releasing data in a machine-readable format using commonly available, open source or free software tools, and ensuring that the data can be processed, evaluated, and reused without limits. There must be no technical or legal limits on reuse of the information.

OpenGovernmentStandars

Helen Darbishire, Founder and Executive Director of Access Info, explained the importance of making government data freely available in open formats: "True openness means that everyone has the same opportunities to access and use public data sets. Open formats help unlock the social and economic potential of information, particularly large data sets, but also other types of data. Open formats permit wide distribution of information, which in turn contributes to better understanding of public institutions and increases opportunities to participate in decision-making processes."

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Recommendations for Progressive Improvements on RTI

OpenGovGuide_logoMadrid/Halifax, 18 December 2013 - Specialist right to information organisations Access Info Europe and Centre for Law and Democracy led on the drafting of a set of recommendations for progressive improvements to the right to information (RTI) which should be introduced by governments participating in the Open Government Partnership (OGP).

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OGP countries need to take the Right to Information seriouslyOGP_london_summit_13

Halifax/Madrid, 1 November 2013 - Global right to information organisations Access Info Europe (AIE) and the Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) today called on Open Government Partnership (OGP) Participating Countries to make serious commitments to strengthen their right to information laws in the next round of action plans, due to be presented in April 2014.

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OGP_logoOpen Government Partnership: Civil society challenges Spain's self assessment of open government commitments

Madrid, 28 October 2013 - Within the framework of the Open Government Partnership, Spain has submitted its self-assessment of its open government commitments made in the April 2012 national action plan. Access Info Europe considers that this first action plan introduced by Spain as well as its self-assessment are of low quality and therefore will accomplish little in Spain's development towards a more open government.

On the one hand, the action plan introduced has only four relevant commitments that will directly affect Open Government development in Spain: The approval of a Transparency Law, the Transparency and Accountability of Official Development Assistance Law, the publishing of crime statistics and the promotion of social networks to facilitate citizen participation. The other commitments have more to do with e-government and with the improvement of internal administrative performance. This is not to say these are bad policies, but they do not go far enough in pushing towards open government in Spain. It is very important to highlight that that these problems would have been settled if the Spanish government would have held a public consultation of its action plan as the Open Government Partnership requested.

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