An independent assessment of the progress countries are making in carrying out the commitments in their national action plans is an essential element of the OGP model. The IRM was established to serve this function, in an effort to promote stronger accountability between participating governments and citizens while also providing practical recommendations for governmental improvements. It is an autonomous body in charge of overseeing the assessment of action plan implementation on behalf of OGP, and a key means of ensuring that countries are held accountable for their OGP commitments. The IRM will publicly issue annual independent reports for each OGP participating country that are in addition to governments' own self-assessment reports and assessments carried out by civil society and other inter-governmental bodies.
The IRM reports will highlight successes in achieving action plan objectives, detail opportunities, challenges and substantial weaknesses, and include specific recommendations for improvement. In addition to ongoing cooperation and collaboration between OGP governments and civil society, IRM reports are intended to help promote stronger accountability between citizens and their governments, and ensure that participating Governments are living up to OGP process requirements.
Accordingly, IRM reports will examine four areas:
IRM reports will be undertaken every 12 months for participating countries. Each IRM report will be published no later than 4 months following the implementation period being assessed. The first round of reports examining action plans from founding governments will be concluded in May of 2013.
Government progress reports are also required of all participating countries on an annual basis, to be completed and published within 2 months of each 12-month implementation cycle.
Civil society is invited to publish additional reports, with the aim of ensuring diversity of opinions and opportunities for dialogue, accountability, and learning.
The IRM will be overseen by an 8-member international expert panel (IEP)-five technical/policy experts and three senior advisors. The senior advisors will provide strategic advice during the initial development of the IRM's overall assessment approach, and will play a major role in international and regional outreach on IRM report findings and implications. The technical/policy experts will play a direct role in establishing the format for the reporting methodology; working with local researchers to produce draft reports and; overseeing the quality control process for IRM report production, including reviewing and approving final reports for publication.
The IEP will be broadly representative of OGP participating countries, with experts that represent a diversity of regions and thematic expertise related to open government. IEP members are not required to come from OGP participating countries to sit on the panel. Due to the complexity of the role and the large number of countries that must be assessed, these experts will have substantial experience in governance, transparency, accountability and civic engagement in a number of regions, as well as experience managing multi-national research projects. Initial terms for Independent Expert Panelists will be two years, with the possibility of a one-year extension.
For more information about the Independent Reporting Mechanism, please visit www.opengovpartnership.org
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