Open Government: People can re-engage with politics. And politicians may be able to break the deadlock.

David McBurney and Jonathan Bell (NI Open Government Network) argue that the growing gap between citizens and government can be bridged by a more open, generative approach to involvement in government monitoring and participation in policy making.  There is a growing distance between people and their representatives and a general disaffection with politics. We are faced with a number of serious socio-economic problems – departmental budget cuts, the impact of welfare reform, pressure on the health service, the lack of a poverty …

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Beyond Voting: Can Civil Society Unite Behind an Open Government Agenda?

In the wake of last week’s seminar held by the Building Change Trust, project lead Paul Braithwaite discusses the potential implementation of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in Northern Ireland. It wouldn’t be controversial to say that there is the perception that open, participative government isn’t being practiced in Northern Ireland. Any number of issues could be raised when discussing this key problem, from delays in Freedom of Information requests to the transparency of political party financing. Such is the …

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Open Government Partnership: How to start the ball rolling…

After Tuesday’s #DigitalLunch on Open Government Partnership and ahead of Friday’s event in Belfast, for those of you thinking of how you might roll up your sleeves and get involved in making government smarter and more open, here’s your Survival Guide to OGP in Six Memos: Paul Braithwaite sets the scene on where we are… Fred Logue  on what OGP is and what it isn’t… Davy Sims on the critical importance of participation… John Kellden on collaborative sense-making… Matilda Murday on how to do it… If you are keen …

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a computer only to find it was still using Word 97, a bang up-to-date software when Stormont re-opened, but hopelessly outdated ten years later.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

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Open Government Partnership: “Lord, give me open government, but not just yet…”?

There’s been a certain buzz around this Open Government conference (live streaming here), I’ll admit that I didn’t expect to find. There have been tensions. Largely over the gap between intention (to be open) and the disappointing actuality. The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin, for instance, has been in some steady criticism from the ‘home team’ here in Dublin Castle. For instance, Ireland’s Freedom of information Act was amended under the previous government such that the Republic is only …

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“open source is where I think the future is headed in local government…”

So, I’m in Dublin tomorrow for the OGP Europe Regional conference in Dublin in advance of next week’s Digital Lunch asking if Northern Ireland is ready for an open government partnership? If you are interesting in the subject, do keep an eye on Twitter throughout the day, and I’ll update with a blog report on Friday morning before I leave again. Thinking in practical terms regarding Northern Ireland it strikes me that one area which could be wide open for new and innovative engagement …

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Is Northern Ireland ready to take on the challenge of collaborative open government?

One modern day illusion is that because we vote for an elected government to be in charge of what the writers of Yes Minister ryely termed ‘the real government’ (the Civil Service), we as citizens also assume they are in control of everything.  Yet government remains essentially an 19th Century institution trying to operate in a dynamic and fast changing 21st Century environment which has seen the emergence of a networked public square, in which demands for transparency and openness become increasingly hard to refuse. Open …

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