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Commitment 5 progress report: Mar – Jun 2018

Open Government Partnership New Zealand National Action Plan 2016-2018

Date: March to June 2018

Commitment 5 year end report: March to June 2018


Year End: Commitment 5 - Ongoing engagement for OGP

Lead agency: The State Services Commission (SSC)

We will build a flexible and enduring platform for engagement between the New Zealand government and New Zealand communities around the Open Government Partnership.



Milestone 1

Work with the Department of Internal Affairs to improve government’s access to, and use of, digital public engagement tools

End date: June 2018

Progress: Completed

Milestone 2

Work with the Expert Advisory Panel to decide how best to report on progress against OGP milestones

Progress: Completed

Milestone 3

Engage with New Zealanders to develop the approach to the next plan

End date: June 2018.

Progress: Completed


What have we been doing?

  • In 2016 The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) piloted a survey software tool built on, under a programme of work called the Government Online Engagement Service (GOES).
  • We committed to piloting a single consultation using the GOES tool, taking a test and learn approach. However, the demand from agencies was so high, that we extended this pilot to support 11 agency consultations in this testing period. Along with help to use the tool, agencies received guidance and engagement support to ensure each consultation was fit-forpurpose prior to release.
  • This testing period included use of the tool for the consultation on the Open Government Partnership self-assessment report, 2014-16.
  • We drew on all the insights from running the agency consultations, and their use of the GOES tool, to review the pilot. The report of the review findings were published on on 1st of December, 2017.
  • The findings from the GOES review informed a six-week discovery project to understand how digital technologies can best support participation in government. Staff from the State Services Commission (SSC), and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC), were on the project team.
  • As the GOES project hadn’t spoken to the public, a focus of this exercise was on how people prefer to engage. We initiated an open conversation with 129 people to get their views. We also spoke with 29 agencies, and 9 NGOs. We analysed the results to inform next step considerations around improving access to, and use of, public engagement tools. The report has been published on

Making tools easier for agencies to access and use 

  • We also tested another engagement tool as part of the collaborative engagement approach to the development of the Digital Service Design Standard. Loomio was used to support open engagement processes. It was used to test a consensus-based engagement tool, also for its ability to support a deeper level of engagement than government’s traditional one-way conversations.
  • Loomio and Delib have been made available for agency use through the Marketplace, which digitises the procurement of cloud tools. The Marketplace was formally launched in June 2018. 
  • This makes these two tools easily accessible for agencies without needed to undertake standard procurement and associated security assessments. More public engagement tools will be added to the Marketplace in future, which will give agencies greater opportunities to use the right tool to support their engagement.
  • Following demand from agencies, we published a list of cloud based engagement tools that agencies have already done risk assessments on, so other agencies can leverage off them to save time and money.

Reflection: How did this commitment contribute to open government?

  • Open government fundamentally changes the relationship between government and society; opening up greater space for public involvement and scrutiny. This puts the New Zealand government’s engagement with citizens at the heart of open government.
  • A key finding from the OECD’s report Open Government – The Global Context and the Way Forward was that countries need to develop an enabling environment for civil society and a solid framework for citizen participation.
  • The use of digital engagement is critical for open government: it provides a connection unlimited by geographic distances. An open by default approach represents a real shift in how government interacts with citizens, towards a more deliberative engagement.
  • DIA continues to evolve and improve the digital engagement support required for government to make it easy for the public to engage with it on decisions, creating greater public confidence, trust and legitimacy.
  • Digital tools, while only one part of the suite of engagement support that government needs, do help support different ways of engaging depending on the outcome sought eg consensus building with polarised communities or real time commenting on policy or legislation.
  • DIA has supported SSC to the successful achievement of this commitment in a number of ways. We’ve piloted an engagement tool for agencies and supported agency capability build by supporting 10 additional consultations beyond the original pilot consultation.
  • We’ve achieved improved government access to, and use of, digital public engagement tools through signing Loomio and Delib onto the cloud Marketplace which enables easier procurement; more tools will go on as it matures. We’ve also refreshed our guidance and advice to agencies on good practice public engagement to support use of these tools. We are working alongside DPMC as this guidance supports their Policy Toolbox.
  • Significantly, all the work to support the achievement of this commitment milestone has been characterised by a genuine commitment to collaborative effort across government, along with co-design and engagement with people and other stakeholders. We’ve asked people for their views, we’ve tested tools with real consultations, and we’ve used this insight to inform the development of all the work we’ve delivered. It is this approach, to openness and transparency of the work that best characterises the successful achievement of Commitment 5.