France has published its first Open Government National Action Plan which details 26 commitments to promote “a transparent and collaborative public action”.
The Action Plan 2015-2017 (PDF - English) is the symbol of France’s involvement in the Open Government Partnership, an international Open Government organisation helping countries to adopt open and transparent processes.
France joined the OGP in 2014 and was elected as a member of the Steering Committee in the same year. The country will chair the OGP from October 2016 to October 2017. However, although it was involved, until this week France had not yet published its Action Plan.
The 26 measures were drafted after consulting with civil society and with administrations through a national consultation driven by the Conseil National du Numérique (CNNum – National Digital Council), workshops and meetings.
This plan is an “important step”, Clotilde Valter, Secrétaire d’État à la Réforme de l’État et à la Simplification, who has replaced Thierry Mandon as France’s representative at the OGP, said. “At the heart of our project is the ambition to improve the relationship between the state and its citizens, between the state and businesses, to use technology to enhance efficiency and transparency and to reinvigorate our democracy”, she added.
Transparency, co-creation, Open Data and Open Administration
The 26 Open Government commitments are classified under 5 topics:
- “Ensure accountability”, to improve transparency, restore trust and make better public policies. Commitments deal with improving transparency in public expenditure, opening public evaluation and promoting transparency in economic life;
- “Consultation, debates and the co-creation of public action”. Commitments are about changing the participatory methods to simplify citizens’ involvement in public action;
- “Open digital resources”. This is about Open Data but also open calculation models. This commitment puts digital technology at the centre of the public action;
- “Opening up the administration” deals with assisting civil servants in the digital transformation and enhancing citizens’ participation;
- “Open Government for climate and sustainable development”. With the COP 21 conference taking place in France in December 2015, three commitments are dedicated to applying Open Government principles to climate change.
Each call-to-action is allocated to a dedicated ministry. For example, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry for Decentralization and the Civil Service are the leading institutions for the action “Open Regional and Local Authorities’ data”, in Commitment N°1.
“A first step”
“This document is a first step. Many more are to follow for the values of the Republic to continue to guide us towards a more inclusive and dynamic society, always more confident in its future”, French President François Hollande said. A first assessment will take place in a year and will form the basis of the next action plan.
In a separate press release, the Conseil National du Numérique stated that it supports “the openness of public action to new forms of citizens’ participation and to innovation, as stated in the national plan”. It also invites the French government “to tackle this Action Plan and ensure that it will be implemented in the long term”.