At an online public meeting on 5 December 2023, lead agencies discussed the first year’s progress of the eight commitments under New Zealand’s Fourth National Action Plan under the Open Government Partnership.
The commitments relate to increasing transparency and accountability of government and enabling greater citizen participation in government.
Six agencies contribute to a work plan that includes preventing and responding to counter-fraud and corruption, increasing the transparency of government algorithm use and procurement and increasing the transparency of the beneficial ownership of companies and limited partnerships.
Work on adopting a community engagement tool for government and research on the use of deliberative processes is aimed at enabling greater citizen participation in government decision-making on public policy and service delivery issues.
Many thanks to everyone who presented and attended.
December 2023 report back event – response to questions
Commitment 1: Adopt a community engagement tool
Question: When you say that you are putting enablers in place for people to know about engagement taking place, how are you including DIA’s online site for publicising consultations? Answer: The commitment aims to improve engagement practices. It is focused on two system enablers – providing guidance and maintaining an active community of practice. The Policy Community Engagement Tool has been updated to provide guidance on what good practice engagement looks like. Consideration is being given to including a provision in the model standard to ensure that government consultation information is publicly visible and easy to access.
Commitment 5: Increase transparency of beneficial ownership of companies and limited partnerships
Question: Will the beneficial ownership register use open data standards, such as https://standard.openownership.org/en/0.3.0/(external link) ? Answer: Open data standards can help inform decisions on the beneficial ownership data that is captured and how it is presented. These will be considered when the legislation is operationalised. Currently, the Bill is being drafted, so the register requirements are not yet in legislation.
Commitment 6: Improve government procurement transparency
Question: What happens if agencies don’t comply with NZGP obligations ie complete the award elements? Answer: The Rules are part of a wider framework of principles, expectations and guidance that governs government procurement and is aimed at ensuring transparency, accountability, and responsible use of public money. Within this framework government agencies are responsible for their own procurement activities and have primary responsibility for ensuring good procurement practices are followed. Non-compliance with publishing requirements has typically been addressed in the ongoing capability development assistance extended to agencies. Ultimately, agencies are accountable to Parliament and the public for their use of public resources and under the powers conferred by Parliament are required to keep records for audit purposes. While not strictly an enforcing entity, the Auditor-General provides independent assurance that agencies are operating responsibly and are held accountable for their performance.
Question: Is the commitment work addressing only a fraction of govt procurement?
Question: What information about AoG contracts is publicly reported or publicly accessible?
Answer: The NAP 4 commitment covers both changes to the Government’s Electronic Tender Service (GETS), focusing on improved compliance with publishing requirements of contract award information under the Rules, as well as work towards the development of an integrated digital data platform. The platform will capture procurement information from agencies and join up GETS data, AoG panel and agency procurement data. Other transparency issues will be addressed in course by our longer-term work programmes as appropriate. Question: What public visibility is there of AOG contracts and spending and are there future plans? Answer: Government Procurement is currently working to release its AoG dashboards to the public in early 2024. The dashboards will illustrate mandated agencies spend on products and services through most NZGP - managed All-of-Government (AoG) and common capability contracts. They will display the total spend by category and how agencies compare in spend overall, by agency size and by sector across each category. Where possible, spend data will be available at product class level, allowing a breakdown of spend into service and product class. The dashboards will also show information such as net spend and savings over several fiscal years. The dashboard will not reveal personal information or contract details. Question: Does the work on data governance discovery include learning lessons from overseas? Answer: MBIE has defined data governance policies and implementation frameworks at a wider organization level that need to be adhered to. The data governance discovery work involved identifying the relevant requirements that need to be met as the procurement platform is being implemented. While the data governance discovery work was informed primarily by MBIE data governance requirements, the project team has reached out to our Australian counterparts to benefit from their experience and lessons learnt in implementing OCDS.