The UK is hosting an Open Government Partnership summit (OGP) in London today (31 October). More than 1,000 delegates from 73 countries, including the 61 current OGP partners will share experiences, discuss progress and show how openness and transparency are making a difference to their citizens.
Commenting on the Prime Minister’s speech to today’s summit, in which he says “When we talk about transparency elsewhere, we’ve got to show it at home too,” and claimed that “Over the past three and a half years the Government I lead has been unprecedented in the information we’ve released,” Clare Algar, the Executive Director of the legal charity Reprieve, said: “David Cameron is right that we need transparency at home – but sadly, he isn’t practicing what he preaches.
“His Government is carrying out a wide-ranging assault on the public’s ability to hold it accountable through the courts – cutting back judicial review and legal aid, while introducing secret courts which see the citizen shut out of their own case.
“Just last week, lawyers for Mr Cameron were desperately trying to shut down a case brought by Libyan torture victims, who only want answers and an apology over the part the UK government played in their abuse by handing them over to Gaddafi.
“Add to this Government proposals to roll back Freedom of Information, and clamp down on recent revelations about the extent of mass-snooping by our intelligence agencies, and a clear picture emerges of a programme to limit, not enhance, transparency and accountability.” (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/19344)
The UK, as the OGP lead co-chair, has published the following five priorities for this year’s summit:
- open data: opening up government data to boost entrepreneurship, economic growth and accountability
- government integrity: fighting corruption and strengthening democracy through transparent government
- fiscal transparency: making sure that taxpayers can follow the money
- empowering citizens: transforming the relationship between citizens and governments
- natural resource transparency: making sure that natural resources are used for public benefit, not to line the pockets of corrupt elites