What is Te Kawa Mataaho’s role with the Open Government Partnership?
Te Kawa Mataaho leads the Open Government Partnership (OGP) on behalf of government, with implementation of the Commitments in each plan led by individual agencies. The total number of staff working on Commitments across New Zealand government agencies is not recorded.
At Te Kawa Mataaho, a core team of two to five people works predominantly on OGP-related activities. This team is supported by other Te Kawa Mataaho staff.
How is the public involved?
The first phase of the process to develop the fourth Open Government Partnership National Action Plan was the gathering of ideas from members of the public through our online conversation platform, as well as via workshops with interested individuals and groups across the country. This process started in 2020 with workshops and conversations and concluded in mid-2021.
We are grateful to everyone who submitted ideas for this Action Plan. These ideas have been collated into a single document, which is on our ideas page. The ideas are sorted by the three high-level themes we collected ideas under, as well as the source (i.e. workshop, online, or formal written submission).
The ideas were assessed with our expert advisory panel (EAP), civil society organisations, and a range of government agencies, and joint advice provided to the Minister for the Public Service on potential focus areas for Action Plan. That advice has been published on the Te Kawa Mataaho website.
The next phase was to refine these ideas and work these up into commitments into a draft plan that went out for public consultation between 24 November and 12 December 2022. The plan was approved by Cabinet and made public on 20 December 2022.
Finally, we will draft the Plan with an invitation for Government and public feedback.
Can public servants take part in the conversation?
Public servants have the same rights as other New Zealanders. As active citizens and members of the public, public servants are encouraged to join in the OGP conversation.
It is important that public servants exercise judgement about how they engage. Public servants who express their political views in their own time are unlikely to breach their employer’s political neutrality obligations - provided that they don’t: identify their opinions with their agency; give the impression they are speaking on behalf of their agency; or use confidential government information for political purposes.
How many years is the Plan for? When will it be reviewed?
Currently, OGP allows for a two-year or four-year plan. We’ve been talking to other countries about how they’re thinking. Some have done plans with interim milestones after two years, to be built on in the two years after that, or moved to a four-year plan. As ideas are developed into commitments, we can structure the plan to get the best outcomes, including what works in terms of length. We are interested in ideas that might take longer than two years to fully implement.
How is the OGP funded? Is there a dedicated budget allocation?
OGP-related activities are funded in a variety of ways. To be a member of OGP, New Zealand pays an annual membership contribution of $200,000 – this is funded through Te Kawa Mataaho as the lead for OGP on behalf of government.
There is not a centralised fund available for National Action Plan implementation work. Funding is one of the things we work through with agencies when developing commitments. The possibility of four-year commitments may open up budget cycle opportunities, depending how these are structured.
What has been achieved through previous OGP plans?
New Zealand has developed three previous OGP National Action Plans with commitments that seek to enable active citizenship, support greater responsiveness and enhance transparency and accountability. Successful initiatives from the National Action Plan 3 include:
- The School Leavers’ Toolkit – a collection of online resources for teachers created to: better educate students about government, financial literacy, workplace skills and other practical topics; and help young people feel more confident navigating life after school. Visit the School Leavers’ Toolkit. Key milestones include:
- Since its September 2019 launch, the Toolkit website has seen over 120,000 views, with over 40,000 first-time users.
- A training and support programme for teachers and educators was delivered to integrate the Toolkit into local curriculums.
- Public participation in policy development –to assist the New Zealand public sector develop a deeper and more consistent understanding of what good engagement with the public means. New resources on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s web site include:
- Review of government use of algorithms – to increase the transparency and accountability of how government uses algorithms (automatic decision-making processes used by computer programmes) to identify patterns in data. In July 2020, the Algorithm Charter for New Zealand was released. This is a commitment to ensuring New Zealanders have confidence in how government agencies use algorithms. Currently:
- There are 26 Algorithm Charter for Aotearoa New Zealand signatories who have committed to applying the values of the Charter in their work.
How will the Plan be monitored and evaluated?
OGP has an accountability framework, including the Independent Review Mechanism (IRM). The IRM produces reports that assess the design and implementation of the commitments adopted by OGP participating governments in their countries’ action plans. During the action plan cycle, governments will produce Self-Assessment Reports.