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National Action Plan 2018 - 21 End-of-term Self-assessment November 2021 FINAL

Executive Summary

The third National Action Plan focused on three core areas: participation in democracy, public participation to develop policy and services, and transparency and accountability.

NAP3 was characterised by steady progress. There are many aspects of the NAP3 process that Aotearoa New Zealand is proud of, particularly given the challenges over this period. A significant achievement was gaining wider, more active engagement than before across both the public service agencies and civil society in the NAP3 development. Regional workshops and the online tool gathered 449 ideas. A large number of public service agencies participated, prioritising this work over other demands. Eleven agencies led on commitments, including, for the first time, the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives.

The twelve NAP3 commitments were more varied in their range and scope than in previous plans. The Independent Reviewer commended three commitments as being “noteworthy”. These commitments concerned increasing transparency in, or through, the use of technology. Commitment 4 involved making secondary legislation readily accessible through publication. Commitment 8 involved the government’s use of operational algorithms while Commitment 11 involved a master dataset of government organisations for release as open data.

A process improvement for NAP3 was that all the ideas put forward for NAP3 inclusion were made visibly trackable and were progressed, either through to the commitments, or else referred to the appropriate government agency for consideration. This approach increased the transparency of the commitment development and selection process.

Throughout the term of NAP3, which was extended for a year in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EAP and officials fostered constructive and robust relationships.[1] EAP members took on a critical friend role, bringing civil society perspectives and context, pushing to do better and improving outcomes. The approach evolved during NAP3, with EAP membership expanding and broadening. This approach is anticipated to expand and evolve further during NAP4.

NAP3 consisted of 12 commitments that originally involved 43 milestones. During the life of the plan, seven milestones were added and two were removed. This took the total number of milestones to 48 across the 12 commitments.  At the end of the NAP3 period, 43 milestones were fully completed or underway. The eight that are underway have a plan in place for completion.[2]

The five milestones that have been delayed needed to change as a result of agencies learning more about the circumstances they were facing or the steps that would need to be taken to achieve the objectives of the commitment. Work is continuing beyond the end of the NAP3 on commitments that have not yet been completed.[3] Updates on progress against these commitments will be published in 2022.

Some NAP3 commitments have already demonstrated success in achieving their objectives. Notable examples are:

  1. Commitment 3: the School Leavers Toolkit, which has been well received by schools and kura nationwide.[4] Since its launch in September 2019, 78,000 users have accessed the website, which is receiving an average traffic of 2,000 to 2,500 users every week (with a total of nearly 200,000 page views).
  2. Commitment 5: tools and guidance to support the public service to apply the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) Public Participation Framework (principles and spectrum) has been recognised by the IAP2 international body, with the Policy Project invited to present at the IAP2 annual symposium on the work done under this commitment. There were 3397 page views for the revised Community Engagement webpages between January and June 2021 and 1991 downloads of the six community engagement guidance resources and the demonstration project report in the same period. The significant increase in web traffic and downloads of all the new community engagement resources developed are also solid indications of uptake of the tools and guidance by public servants.
  3. There was unexpected recognition in relation to innovative leadership in carrying out Commitment 8. Stats NZ’s work on government algorithmic transparency, undertaken with its civil society partner Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) resulted in Stats NZ being invited to join the International Leaders Network pilot run by the Open Government Partnership in October 2020.

The work of the EAP, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and agencies under NAP3 provides an excellent foundation for Aotearoa New Zealand to build on in progressing a new action plan for NAP4. We have taken a continuous improvement approach; the work undertaken is an investment in both building the public service’s long-term capability and in supporting open government.

Aotearoa New Zealand's self-assessment report on the delivery of the third National Action Plan (NAP3) meets its requirements as a member of the Open Government Partnership.


[1] In 2016, Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission formed an Expert Advisory Panel (EAP) to work with government on Aotearoa New Zealand's Open Government Partnership (OGP) processes. The EAP assists with development, implementation and evaluation of the commitments in Aotearoa New Zealand's National Action Plans and any other relevant OGP matters.

[2] Throughout NAP3, we have applied a ratings framework with three possible ratings – “underway”, “some delays” and “complete.”

[3] Further information on the implementation of the 12 commitments, including milestones still underway, is included from page 17 of this report and at the OGP reporting page here.

[4] “Kura” is a te reo Māori word that refers to a full language immersion school. It also has other meanings.