Civic participation is a core component of open government, and an essential element of the national OGP cycle. The OGP Articles of Governance state that ‘OGP participants commit to developing their country action plans through a multi stakeholder process, with the active engagement of citizens and civil society’.
The Independent report on the implementation of Ireland's first national Action Plan 2014-2016 recommended that an Implementation Review Group be established in three stages:
1. Leaders of civil society need to build bridges and further map out amongst themselves how they envisage civil society organizations and individual citizens should be represented on the IRG. More citizens can become engaged in this process along with civil society to map out their views on the IRG, once they are aware about what the OGP is, and its successes to date. So doing will increase the interest in, and plurality of, the members of the IRG, all of whom have something to gain in ensuring strong implementation. In order to prevent perceptions that the ‘state’ is ‘steering’ this process, an ‘independent mediator’ (from neither state, nor civil society) should chair these publically announced meetings.
2. The results of these meetings should then be taken to the ‘OGP team’ established by the state (as per Recommendation 2 above). With more state resources dedicated to OGP by having created the ‘OGP Team’, the state will be in stronger position to constructively spend more time to engage with all stakeholders, listening to their solutions for developing an IRG.
3. In order to arrive at a final solution acceptable to all, a series of meetings should then be publically announced and held on a firm schedule, with the view that an IRG must be established within a fixed time frame (ideally as soon as possible). Neither the state nor civil society should chair these meetings to establish the IRG, but, rather, an independent mediator (different from that in bullet point 1 of this recommendation) should be entrusted to this task.
We would like to hear from civil society on the prospects for structuring engagement with them on the OGP process. In the meantime, we would also welcome ideas on how this consultaiton process, using this portal and the Implementation Review Forum can fulfill the intention to provide a space for dialogue, collaboration, and an opportunity for civil society to give feedback.