Developing Effective Open Government Commitments

The action plan drafting process is a key step that governments undertake upon joining the Open Government Partnership. OGP action plans are meant to be living documents that can be updated on a rolling basis. Each country's action plan elaborates concrete commitments to open government reforms that governments pledge to implement. These commitments may build on existing efforts, identify new steps to complete on-going reforms, or initiate actions in an entirely new area.

Commitments should be structured around key challenges that all governments confront: improving public services, increasing public integrity, more effectively managing public resources, creating safer communities, and increasing corporate accountability. Commitments should also reflect core open government principles: transparency, citizen participation, accountability, as well as technology and innovation. In the case of South Africa, "Improving Public Services" was identified as a key challenge which all commitments should address.

The commitments should be developed through a consultative, multi-stakeholder process that involves the active engagement of citizens and civil society by government. Developing commitments without input from citizens and civil society is contrary to the OGP Declaration of Principles and is strongly discouraged.

South Africa`s OGP country action plan has seven commitments that were developed through a consultative process with civil society organizations including the South Africa National NGO Coalition (SANGOCO), the Centre for Economic Governance and Aids in Africa (CEGAA), Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC), and the South African National Civics Organization (SANCO). The seven OGP commitments are:

  1. Develop citizen participation guidelines for government departments
  2. Establish Service Delivery Improvements Forums
  3. Implement a "Know Your Service Rights and Responsibilities" campaign
  4. Capacity development of anti-corruption officials
  5. Develop guidelines on sanctions for corruption related cases
  6. Enhance the involvement of civil society at every stage of the budgetary process
  7. Develop a portal for environmental management information

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