democracy

Open Government and Parliament: France renews its commitment to transparent and collaborative public action

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Within the framework of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), the Government and the National Assembly are today jointly publishing, for the first time, their respective action plans for the period 2018-2020. The aim is to advance transparency in public action, open innovation and citizen participation by engaging institutions in open and innovative approaches.
 
The digital transformation of the State and citizen participation at the heart of French policy for an open government
 
Co-constructed with civil society over several months, the government's second action plan is supported by 12 ministries and several independent institutions such as the High Authority for Transparency in Public Life (HATVP) and the Court of Auditors. For the next two years, the State is committed to strengthening the transparency of public life, open innovation and citizen participation.
Digital technology is an opportunity for greater openness, transparency and citizen participation. It offers infinite possibilities in terms of autonomy, expression, access to information and the free flow of data. We must seize these opportunities to build a new democracy.

Essential projects are announced in the 21 commitments of the 2018-2020 action plan, which focus on the opportunities offered by the digital transformation:
- Transparency of public action: including the publication of quality indicators for public services, increased transparency of public procurement and official development assistance.
- Openness of digital resources and open innovation :
o an ever more active opening of data with the enrichment of the public data service and the identification of a new list of reference data ;
o the mobilization of new means to make the opening up of digital resources effective: in particular with ministerial data administrators in each ministry who will steer, within their ministries, the policy of opening up and circulation of public data; and the support of administrations in opening up algorithms and public source codes ;
o the mobilisation of resources to exploit data with the creation of an artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory, to initiate and support high-impact AI projects; the continuation of the "Entrepreneur.e d'intérêt général" programme, and the creation of digital public service incubators in each ministry to open up the administration to new skills and support open innovation initiatives within the State.
 
- Reinforced participation approaches: with the provision of tools for ministries to organize citizen consultations in a simplified manner. These participatory approaches are also reflected in the experimentation of a new dialogue format, the Open State Forum, which will regularly bring together administrations and civil society. In addition, during 2018, France will host an international summit on gov tech.
- Implementing the principles of open government in the service of global issues: democracy, ecological transition and open science.
In order to adapt our democracies to the digital age, it is necessary that the culture of openness spreads through all our institutions that are the foundation of our democracy. Thus, the National Assembly (consult the action plan of the National Assembly), the High Authority for the Transparency of Public Life and the Court of Auditors have made commitments to strengthen the transparency of their actions and citizen participation within their institutions.
 
"This National Action Plan 2018-2020 renews our commitment to more transparent and collaborative public action. This is a priority of our government, a compelling demand from citizens, and the only possible response to build a fairer society, guarantee fundamental freedoms, bring public services closer to users and thus renew our democracy through digital technology. » Mounir Mahjoubi, Secretary of State to the Prime Minister, in charge of Digital.
 
The monitoring of the implementation of the action plan will be public. This action plan is only one step in the process of opening up and disseminating the culture of openness within public institutions, other actions and commitments will follow. In particular, the Government plans to include in the draft constitutional reform a change in the tasks of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (EESC) so that it becomes the chamber of open government and citizen participation. Subject to the adoption of the constitutional bill by both chambers of Congress, the EESC could be systematically consulted on economic, social and environmental bills.
 
National Assembly: Openness, Transparency and Citizen Participation
 
On the occasion of France's accession to the Partnership for Open Government (PGO), the National Assembly wished to commit itself voluntarily alongside the Government in this process.
In July 2017, the Presidency of the National Assembly launched the "Rendez-vous des réformes 2017 2022", a process whose objective, set by President François de Rugy, throughout the legislative period, is to "modernise the Assembly by making it more transparent, more efficient and more open in its operation".
 
Development of the National Assembly's action plan
 
This action plan, which is the second for the National Assembly, was drawn up between September 2017 and March 2018 as part of the "Rendez-vous des réformes 2017-2022".
It is entirely the result of a dialogue with civil society. In particular, four forums have been created to promote exchanges with civil society:
- Multi-stakeholder working groups on "Digital democracy and new forms of citizen participation" and "Opening the National Assembly to society" heard the civil society actors concerned (associations, civic tech, etc.);
- a wide-ranging online public consultation was launched on the modalities of citizen participation in parliamentary work, involving several thousand participants ([1]) ;
- citizen workshops at the National Assembly, bringing together parliamentarians and the general public, were held on 25 November 2017, following the consultation.
- Finally, the commitment proposals were made public at the meeting of the Bureau of the National Assembly on 13 December 2017, giving civil society the opportunity to read and comment on them.
The Bureau of the National Assembly, the highest collegial and pluralist body of the National Assembly, adopted decisions on 24 January 2018 and decided to include them in a GOP action plan.
 
This Action Plan, based on this unprecedented reflection, includes 17 commitments based on four major initiatives:
- The overall approach to reforming the National Assembly, "For a new National Assembly: The reform agenda 2017-2022", which aims to modernize the overall functioning of the National Assembly with an open, participatory and transparent methodology;
- Transparency and openness: Reporting on the functioning of the National Assembly is a fundamental principle that helps build trust between citizens and their elected representatives. Commitments essential to re-establishing strong links between the institution and civil society are presented, such as the open source publication of the National Assembly's source codes or the publication of new data sets on the opendata platform.
- Citizen participation : This section presents four strong commitments aimed at enabling citizens to participate more actively in the functioning of the National Assembly, whether in its work or in the use of the data it produces and disseminates (open data) through the development of citizen consultations, for example.
- Making parliamentary work better known: various institutional actors have the task of bringing parliamentary work to the attention of citizens. Moreover, MPs, like the National Assembly, must take advantage of the opportunities offered by digital technology to communicate on their work by training in the use of new technologies or by diversifying the institution's digital communication.
For the implementation of all these actions, the National Assembly will have to rely both on the general public and on civil society actors interested in the functioning of Parliament, and in particular on civic tech, which has developed, in recent years, many tools that promote transparency, openness, participation and the adaptation of procedures to digital technology.
 
For François de Rugy, President of the National Assembly:"Openness, transparency and, through them, the renewal of our public life have been clearly demanded by our citizens in 2017. An unprecedented renewal, but also a record abstention rate, expressed both a rejection of old practices and an aspiration for renewal. Our desire to transform our country and renew our democracy is a reality. The "Reform Rendezvous 2017-2022" and this action plan are a concrete expression of that will. The commitments made by the National Assembly, combined with the reforms sought by the Government, will enable our Republic to make a fresh start. Against populism and scepticism, the answers are called reform and modernity. »
 
 

Created in September 2011, the Open Government Partnership (OGP) brings together 75 countries and hundreds of civil society organizations committed to advancing transparency in public life, citizen participation and democratic innovation.
France joined the OMP in 2014 and published a first National Action Plan for Transparent and Collaborative Public Action for the period 2015 - 2017, the implementation of which has been evaluated by an independent body. Co-Chair of the OMP for one year, France hosted in December 2016 in Paris the Open Government Partnership World SummitThis led to the adoption of the Paris Declaration, which lists the 20 collective actions currently being implemented by the entire open government community.
The next OMP Summit will take place in Tbilisi from 17 to 19 July 2018.

 
 ([1]) The results of this consultation were published as an annex to the report of the working groups.
 

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