A new report on the Irish government’s transparency shows no progress in anti-corruption measures, or climate policy development, but does find significant progress in the governance of charities. The report is by Professor in Political Science, Raj Chari at Trinity College Dublin, who was chosen by the Open Government Partnership (OGP) to serve as an independent researcher to evaluate the Irish Government’s progress on its 2nd Action Plan 2016-18. Professor Chari’s mid-term report on the evolution of the 2nd Plan will be launched on Thursday, June 14th, in the Atrium in Trinity College Dublin at 1pm.
Based in Washington DC, the OGP was launched in 2011 to secure commitments from governments to their citizenry to foster transparency, increase civic participation, fight corruption, and promote new technologies to strengthen governance. In its drive to make governments more open, transparent and accountable to citizens, the OGP covers 75 countries globally today. Its steering committee is made up of government representatives drawn from these countries
The main findings of the report on the Government’s progress on its 2nd Action Plan are:
- There are some initiatives which have seen little or no progress, thereby demonstrating that the Government’s commitment to open government and transparency is wanting. These areas include:
- Promoting transparent climate policy development,
- Strengthening anti-corruption measures, particularly evident with parliament still not having passed a conflict of interest bill that provides for a new ethics regime to effectively identify, disclose, and manage actual or potential conflicts of interest in the public sector.
- Improving transparency of government service providers; and
- Introducing modern document management procedures.
- Nevertheless, there are some ambitious commitments seeing substantial progress made by the Government. These include:
- Developing a Code of Practice for the Governance of Charities, which has been implemented well and may have a transformative impact on society especially in the wake of past charity scandals.
- Investing in data infrastructure that will result in better open data.
Ireland began its formal participation in OGP in May 2013, when the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) negotiated a series of initiatives to foster civic participation, transparency and open government in Ireland, subsequently outlined in Ireland’s 1st National Action Plan, 2014-16. In 2016, Ireland developed its 2nd Action Plan, 2016-18.
Professor Chari’s report highlights that the Government also needs to formalise permanent dialogue forums and pursue more awareness-raising amongst citizens at large in order to strengthen participation in the OGP Process. In this regard, the author states that: “While development of the action plan involved civil society proposals, the state decided on the final commitments, and the implementation lacked regular consultation. Moving forward, the Government could establish a multi-stakeholder forum to consolidate civil society interests during the development of the next action plan, and establish an Independent Review Group to ensure consultation during implementation.”
Notes to Editor