Open govt vacancy process to lead by example and publish all nominees

By Harley Dennett

Thursday June 8, 2017

Nominations are now being sought from individuals to fill up to eight civil society positions on Australia’s first Open Government Forum. Nominations are open until Thursday June 22.

But there’s a catch. Unlike every other public board, “all valid nominations” will be published online — minus the nominee’s contact details.

It really is open government, like Australia hasn’t seen before.

There has been extensive consultation about how this process would and should work. Last month, the open government working group inside the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet hosted an online chat broadcast via Periscope, using the hashtag #OGPchat. That conversation built on the discussion paper that explored options for establishing the forum.

Whether this unprecedented process will be replicated for other government boards is uncertain. The Mandarin suspects not, as statutory and board appointments across government have a tradition of secrecy — a tradition that will be tough to turn around.

What will this board do?

According to PM&C, the open government forum has three driving goals: monitor and drive implementation of Australia’s first Open Government National Action Plan, help develop the next Open Government National Action Plan, and raise awareness about open government. It’s specific terms of reference include:

  • seek to make government and other relevant institutions work more effectively and efficiently for people through enhanced transparency, policy development, service delivery and decision‑making
  • oversee implementation of Australia’s Open Government Commitments, including monitoring, advising, assessing, reporting to the government and community on progress, and overseeing broad community engagement
  • develop recommendations on future Commitments, informed by public consultation and including consideration of potential Commitments identified in earlier consultation processes, based on:
    • consistency and level of priority against the OGP principles and grand challenges, as outlined in the OGP Articles of Governance
    • the desirability of specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and time-bound Commitments
    • the level of ambition and transformational impact of proposed Commitments
    • the feasibility and the likelihood of implementation success
    • the costs and benefits of the proposed Commitments, including alternatives to achieve a similar outcome, and
    • the views expressed by the community and the Australian Government.
  • facilitate broad community engagement on prospective Commitments and raise awareness about open government generally, and
  • consider submitting a letter of commendation to the Open Government Partnership to accompany each National Action Plan.

PM&C expects that the forum will be established by the end of June 2017.


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