Rebecca Evans, Minister for Finance and Trefnydd
I am pleased to announce that we have recently published our latest set of Welsh Government commitments as part of the UK National Action Plan for Open Government 2019-21. These commitments outline our ambitions to work more collaboratively and openly with citizens, and the steps we plan to take over the next two years to achieve these.
Working openly is fundamental to how Welsh Government should operate and fully aligns with the five ‘ways of working’, set out in the Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, which encourages openness through collaboration and involvement of others. We were therefore keen to be involved in the global Open Government Partnership initiative, which is based around the core values of transparency, participation and accountability. A particular strength of the initiative is that participating countries are subject to independent review, in addition to carrying out their own self-assessments. This is a requirement we very much welcome and support.
In developing our commitments, we engaged with civil society and citizens via the Open Government Network Wales to identify how we can be more open and which areas in particular we should focus on. They told us they wanted to know more about us as an organisation, about how we work and where to find the information they need. They were particularly interested in how budgets are developed and how money is spent in Wales. They also asked us to find better ways to engage with them.
This feedback informed the development of our second set of open government commitments, which comprise the following six overarching themes:
- Access to Information
- Guidance on Open Data Publication for Public Bodies
- Financial Engagement
Each of these commitments are underpinned by a series of actions or milestones, which seek to address the areas identified through our engagement with civil society as well as areas for improvement identified within Welsh Government.
Work is already underway to take forward the commitments, though we are aware that we need to continually review our progress and identify how Welsh Government can be more open and responsive in future. We look forward to working closely with civil society and citizens across Wales to address this ongoing challenge.