Open Government Partnership: How do we get ready for the inevitable?

On election day back in 2007, as Stormont returned to life after a five year long suspension. I was asked to give a talk by the new NI Assembly giving my personal view on where we were politically.

I remember getting access to a computer only to find it was still using Word 97, a bang up-to-date software when Stormont re-opened, but hopelessly outdated ten years later.

Technology is like that. If you don’t keep up with it and the increasing demands it fuels, you can very quickly get left behind.

At least our politicians had an excuse. They were not there to drive the changes. And much has improved since those days. (Hell, they even let journalists into the canteen these days.)

But change has got more profound and much more demanding than even in 2007. Politicians don’t need a mouthy self opinionated blogger to them that social matters.

The problems lie with making the institutions that they work on our behalf more open and more accountable to the wider electorate.

So to resile to the title of today’s DigitalLunch: is Northern Ireland ready for sure open government partnership?

In a polity where even the Programme for Government remains an aspirational rather than an executive document. But this is exactly the territory we want to tease out at lunchtime.

It is certainly not sexy. New returns just four entries on the search string ‘OGP Dublin 2014’, and with the exception of one in French, they are all Slugger posts. But it is important. So give us some questions to throw at the panel. But it is important.

Please take the time to throw a few questions at our panel… which will include (tech connections permitting): Davy Sims from Public Achievement, John Kellden a digital strategist joining us from Sweden, Paul Braithwaite, of Building Change Trust and Mairaid McMahon with a civic society, with several others hoping to join us…

Or you can chuck questions at us during the DigitalLunch during the hour long session…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty