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23 November 2017 - Expert Advisory Panel meeting: minutes

Expert Advisory Panel


Date / time: Thursday November 23 2017, 10am-11.35 am

Venue: Parliamentary Counsel Office

Expert Advisory Panel attendees: Dr Miriam Lips, Fuimaono Tuiasau, Suzanne Snively

State Services Commission Chair: Catherine Williams, Acting Deputy Commissioner Integrity, Ethics & Standards


Agenda & Topics

1. Welcome Expert Advisory Panel (EAP)

Deborah Mahuta-Coyle has resigned from the Expert Advisory Panel (EAP). This reflects her new role as Senior Ministerial Advisor to the Honourable Kelvin Davis.

2. Proposed updates to the Expert Advisory Panel

Candidates to replace the vacant roles on the EAP were discussed, including ensuring diversity on the Panel.

3. Reflections on NetHui 2017

BOn 9-10 November, Internet NZ ran NetHui 2017 in Auckland. The theme focused on trust and freedom on the internet. Independent reviewer Keitha Booth and EAP Member Fuimaono Tuiasau were part of a session on Open Government Partnership. The discussion brought forward about 20 ideas to make government and data more user friendly.

Ideas for next OGP Action Plan from NetHui discussion (Auckland, 10 Nov 2017)

  • Help political parties set realistic budget
  • Greater granularity of transparency of government appointments
  • Greater transparency of policy outcomes/impacts (“was the policy intent delivered?”)
  • Building civic education
    • expectation of open government information
    • move to citizenship education (not just about civic process) 
  • Openness in public service - recognises that public servants are people too!
    • There's more than one model for what the public service looks like (e.g. part timers from industry)
    • Step change to "from this day forward you can be open"
    • More guidance for public servants
    • Value of neutral public service
  • Data driven policy development
    • Leverage data as a predictor of future outcomes
    • Build models and open source these models, so others can help with determining their fit for the intended policy outcome, e.g. 3 strikes law - considering the potential consequences
  • OIA process
    • Empathy for the public servants trying to answer these
    • "Commercial sensitivity" used as an excuse to not release information - we want to know how much government spends on specific things
    • Private-Public-Partnerships muddy the waters of "commercial sensitivity"
    • All contracts that government has should be publicly available
    • OIA process needs to scale. Look at a different model
    • Information should be made available by default (open 1st). It should be ubiquitously available, but needs to be 'utilisable', or usable by the average person.
    • Help people to use and explore open information and data by providing tools
  • Select committee process should be constructive and more accountable, transparent and accessible
  • Local government is really good at community engagement - replicate this for central government
    • How do we do this well at scale? 
  • Open budget - should have the board timeline of the budget process available on the Treasury website
  • Good funding for public interest media
    • Incentives for public to translate 'political speak', e.g. through GovHack
  • Small working group of IT experts to help with open information - missing the right tools to make sense of the data/information and public discourse
  • Is government collecting the right data? - we should have a public consultation on this

4. Engagement for 2018

As described in Commitment 5 of the National Action Plan, from November 2017 – January 2018 a pre-engagement phase is underway with the public to see how they want to be engaged during the formal process in 2018

  • A series of meetings are planned with civil society organisations.
  • An online survey will be distributed to the OGP mailing list and published on the OGP website on 27 November.

As the consultation plan is developed it will include opportunities for the Panel to be part of workshops or events. Members agreed to be part of the process of prioritising the ideas from the workshops and online engagement to the development of final commitments.

A Member asked if the panel could be involved in discussions on the budget for the 2018-19 year.

Members noted:

  • it was important that the process to create the plan was transparent
  • it was important that the public had the opportunity to provide their ideas, and that Officials were open to this process
  • solving issues with direct impact on democracy and participation should be a priority. For example, two Members suggested the wider public did not understand the select committee process. A Member suggested video-enabled select committee participation was needed.

The Chair summarised the initial discussion about the engagement approach:

  • Engage broad initially
  • Work with a EAP to refine ideas for the plan
  • Utilise the EAP to support engagement
  • Explore trialling the Auckland Council’s Peoples Panel process
  • Look for other opportunities to be part of civil society meetings and other regular gatherings
  • Harness government agencies consultation groups for wider reach.

5. Wrap up

The next meeting is likely to be in early 2018 to further shape engagement.


23 November 2017 - Expert Advisory Panel meeting: minutes