Scottish Government and Scottish Civil Society share the values of Open Government which aim to foster openness, transparency and citizen participation. This is Scotland's first Open Government National Action Plan. It has been developed jointly by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Civil Society Network with the Open Government Partnership ( OGP).
In April 2016 Scotland was selected by the OGP as one of 15 Pioneer governments around the world to join a programme to bring new leadership and innovation into the OGP at all levels of government. This Scottish Plan sets out how we will use the opportunity of being Pioneers to improve the lives of people living in Scotland, to learn from others and to share our experience of Open Government.
We will work together to promote and implement this plan because we believe Open Government reforms can secure lasting change in the way government and society operate, transferring power to people and communities and ensuring decisions are made in the best interests of all.
This Scottish Plan recognises that and reflects our priorities. It builds both on the Open Government reforms that are already underway in Scotland and on collaborative work with the governments of Wales, Northern Ireland and the UK, and their civil society networks, to develop a shared approach to Open Government.
The five commitments laid out in the Scottish Plan aim to help people living in Scotland to better understand how government works so that they can have real influence and more effectively hold government to account. The commitments also support the development of newly devolved responsibilities such as Scotland's significant tax, borrowing and welfare responsibilities.
1. Financial Transparency: to clearly explain how public finances work, so people can understand how money flows into and out of the Scottish Government, to support public spending in Scotland
2. Measure Scotland's progress: by making understandable information available through the National Performance Framework, which will be reviewed to reflect our commitments to Human Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals
3. Deliver a Fairer Scotland: through implementation of the Actions developed with civil society in the Fairer Scotland action plan
4. Participatory budgeting: to empower communities through direct action ensuring they have influence over setting budget priorities
5. Increasing participation: improving citizen participation in local democracy and developing skills to make sure public services are designed with input from users and with user needs to the fore
These five commitments are part of a wider range of activity taking place throughout Scotland to deliver the Scottish Approach to Government:
- Digital technology has changed our world - making it possible to share information instantly and at a fraction of the cost of conventional technology. Along with the specific commitments in the Scottish Plan, our Digital Strategy will continue to thread openness, transparency and citizen participation as we transform Scotland's public services by building the digital ecosystem, skills and capacity where public services, businesses and cutting-edge research can thrive
- We will use the year as Pioneers to improve access to information and research and knowledge, balancing the requirements of open access and transparency with those of cyber security and data protection principles, so that people are better able to use and share public sector data and information.
- We have developed this plan with input from Civil Society and some active citizens but it does not go as far as we wish nor does it meet the aspirations of all contributors. We will use this year to listen, to think about what Open Government means at all levels, and to build capacity and confidence in our partners to be able to deliver Open Government reforms and build an Open Government movement in Scotland
- Beyond Scotland we will work with the other countries of the UK to learn at what level of governance Open Government reforms are most effective and appropriate so that we can improve the lives of people across these islands at a time when the global political, constitutional and economic landscape is uncertain
This plan recognises the shifting relationship between citizen and state. We will work to ensure that government at all levels is responsive to the needs of all of our people and we are able to make a significant move towards co-creating a more open and transparent Scotland where people have confidence in their future.