Opening Government? What does the data say?

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By Alan Hudson — May 9, 2014. 


It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the Open Government Partnership (OGP) with the Asia Pacific Regional Meeting in Bali, Indonesia at the start of the week, and the Europe Regional Meeting in Dublin at the end of the week (now – hello from Dublin!). Despite some fears that the energy around OGP would diminish after the London Summit in 2013, levels of energy and enthusiasm still seem impressively high. But what’s OGP actually achieving?


The OGP Support Unit is upping its game in terms of monitoring and learning. An important move last week was the release by the Independent Reporting Mechanism of data about countries’ OGP commitments – how measurable they are, whether they are new commitments, whether they are potentially transformative, how relevant they are and whether they are being implemented.

The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) is a key means by which all stakeholders can track OGP progress in participating countries. The IRM produces biannual independent progress reports for each country participating in OGP.  The progress reports assess governments on the development and implementation of OGP action plans, progress in fulfilling open government principles, and make technical recommendations for improvements. These reports are intended to stimulate dialogue and promote accountability between member governments and citizens.
The OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism has done some great analysis, but they’re not in the business of ranking countries. But, open data enthusiasts that they are, they’ve made the data available. So we can!

There are some caveats – not all OGP countries’ National Action Plan have been assessed, with some coming too late, and some early members (a number of which have really led the way within the Open Government Partnership) not assessed as they were completed before guidance on what makes for an ambitious commitment was provided to members. And this is a quick analysis – watch this space for more – with any errors my responsibility.

Anyway, enough caveats, here are some nuggets:

Are OGP commitments measurable and specific?

  • The IRM’s data show that 28% of OGP commitments are not very measurable, 30% are reasonably measurable and 41% are highly measurable.

  • The top 5 countries in terms of having commitments that are measurable and specific are: Spain, Croatia, UK, Indonesia, Brazil

Are OGP commitments new commitments or repackaging of existing commitments?

  • 40% of OGP commitments are new. 57% are repackaged.

  • The top 5 countries in terms of having new commitment are: Slovakia, Canada, Romania, Paraguay, Bulgaria (doesn’t include 7 of founding members)

What’s the potential impact of the OGP commitments?

  • 38% of OGP commitments are assessed as being unlikely to have much impact. 39% might have a moderate impact. And 23% are judged as being potentially transformative.

  • The top 5 countries in terms of having potentially transformative commitments are: Georgia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, El Salvador (doesn’t include 7 of founding members)

Are OGP commitments relevant to OGP values?

  • 84% of OGP commitments are assessed as being clearly relevant to OGP values.

  • The top  countries in terms of having commitments that are relevant to OGP values, all with 100% of their commitments in line with OGP values, are  Brazil, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Romania, South Africa, Slovakia, UK, USA

What progress is being made with implementing OGP commitments?

  • For 45% of commitments, limited, or no progress has been made with implementation, with 21% substantially implemented and 28% complete.

  • The top 5 countries in terms of implementing their commitments – either substantially or completely – are: Brazil, Indonesia, Uruguay, Chile, USA

Overall, are relevant commitments which might have a major impact being implemented?

  • The data show that 79% of commitments do not pass the three hurdles of being relevant, having the potential to have a major impact, and being implemented. 21% of commitments do pass those three hurdles.

  • The countries doing the best job of implementing relevant potentially impactful commitments are: Croatia, El Salvador, Uruguay, Latvia and Slovakia (This does not include Brazil, Czech Republic, Indonesia, Mexico, Philippines, South Africa, Sweden, UK, USA)

PS: If you’re in Dublin, come along to the session on “Lessons learned from the OGP Independent Reporting Mechanism” at 11.00 in the President’s Room.

PPS: The specific data-set that this analysis is based on is.


Alan Hudson
Executive Director

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