Madrid, 21 May 2021- As Open Government week is celebrated around the world, a survey of 24 transparency organisations reveals that most national Open Government Partnership work in Europe is largely unfunded: of an estimated total value of OGP-related work of € 435,220 reported by survey respondents, a full 60%, or €261,130 is unfunded.
The average unfunded contribution to OGP activities by European RTI groups is €15,360 per organisation, with the ten organisations which reported receiving zero funding for OGP work, reporting average estimated annual contribution is €27,925.
A full 87.5% of respondents support the idea that the Open Government Partnership should urgently establish a fund for European open government work. This could be by donors and national governments contributing to a fund managed independently by either the OGP Support Unit or a private donor.
The survey conducted by Access Info between 13-17 May 2021 on RTI groups working in a total of 30 countries found that the great majority (83%) are engaged with national OGP processes. These respondents reported spending, on average, 30% of their time working on OGP, with only 12% of this time being funded.
Finding: Anti-corruption instruments are a priority for 2020 Action Plans
This survey also found that these organisations are promoting an important anti-corruption agenda, with over half of the respondents prioritising Action Plan commitments on transparency of company ownership (including beneficial ownership), the spending of public funds, and public procurement. Lobby regulation, legislative footprints, and protection of Whistleblowers are also on the priority agenda.
|Open Government Priorities of European Right to Info organisations|
|Open data portal||71%|
|Company Ownership transparency||57%|
|Public funds spending transparency||57%|
|Beneficial Ownership transparency||50%|
|Public Procurement Transparency||50%|
|Access to Information request portal||43%|
|Better implementation of the Access to Information Law||43%|
|Access to Information law reform||36%|
|Lobby regulation & transparency||36%|
|Training of public officials||21%|
As the European region pours vast sums of money into recovery from the pandemic, the anti-corruption agenda pursued by RTI groups across the continent is essential, but will be seriously undermined by the lack of funding, as half (54%) of respondents report that they always (38%) or often (16%) face funding challenges.
“With RTI groups in Europe in a constant struggle to survive financially, the lack of funding for OGP work is a serious concern. It is wrong that these organisations are donating time pro bono to advancing the open government agenda, work that is essential for defending democracy and recovering from the pandemic,” said Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info 
Recommendation: OGP should create a Europe-Region Fund
If an OGP Fund were to contribute at least this much to the work of national transparency civil society organisations for their engagement in OGP, it would have a positive impact on the finances of these organisations and, consequently, on their ability to engage constructively and in an effective manner in national OGP processes.
Access Info and our partners around Europe pledge to raise these findings with the Open Government Partnership and also to call on the 30 European governments in the Council of Europe region that are members of OGP to support a European OGP Fund.
If each government were to contribute as little as an average of of €80,000, this would generate a €2.4 million fund that would transform right to information work in Europe, significantly boosting transparency actions for integrity and anti-corruption across the region.
The survey is still open for those who wish to participate: Priorities and Challenges for Civil Society working on Transparency in Europe
 Access Info declares an interest here, in that it is one of the organisations with zero funding for OGP work, in spite of actively engaging in the Spanish national Action Plan development, and Helen Darbishire’s engagement on the OGP Steering Committee. Access Info estimates that 20% of staff time goes into directly-OGP-related activities.