Madrid, 13 September 2017 – Access Info Europe has urged the Organisation for Cooperation and Economic Development (OECD) to adopt a definition of an “Open Government” as one characterised by transparency, participation, responsiveness, and accountability, in line with increasingly established standards set by bodies such as the Open Government Partnership.

Responding to the OECD’s public consultation on Open Government, Access Info raised concerns that the draft Recommendation confused three things:
– the tools needed to achieve open government (such as use of new technologies to open up data)
– the characteristics of an open government (transparency, participation and accountability)
– the benefits of a state that has an open government (things such as better decision-making, respect for fundamental human rights, and inclusive growth.

With many public administrations still not getting the fundamental principles of transparency right, it’s essential that there be strong guidance from bodies such as the OECD on how to do open government well,” stated Andreas Pavlou, Campaigner and Researcher, Access Info Europe.

Pavlou noted that Access Info Europe’s research found that 60% of information needed to participate in decision making, including basic things such as minutes of meetings where decisions are being taken, is not available. Similarly, in spite of many promises to open up data, too much government data is still either not available or not in an open, reusable format.

Hence, in addition to a clear definition, the pro-transparency organisation proposed that the OECD sets out specific recommendations as to what bodies should do. Specifically, to advance in transparency of decision making they should:
» Ensure that access to information rules apply to all decision-making bodies and processes;
» Establish an obligation to create records;
» Require proactive publication of key decision-making information;
» Reduce time taken to make information publically available; and
» Apply exceptions narrowly to information related to decision making

Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info and a member of the OGP Steering Committee added: “Politicians are very good at talking about “transparency” but still widely failing to put it into practice. And while some countries are excelling in the Open Government Partnership, many are still moving slowly at best. Clarity from the OECD on what must be done to qualify as an Open Government is essential.”

Access Info’s submission to the OECD public consultation is available here: file_doc

For more information, please contact:

Luisa Izuzquiza, Communications Officer | Access Info Europe
Andreas Pavlou, Campaigner and Researcher | Access Info Europe

Send an e-mail or call +34 913 656 558

Photo: OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)