Event Framework This section provides an outline to how the Open Government Pioneers Project is focusing on Open Government and the Sustainable Development Goals, and an overview of our intention to hold a series of engagement events as part of our outreach with citizens and civil society. Open Government From low wages and a lack of housing to food insecurity and poor health, we are a long way from being the society we would like to be. But we should live in a place where people can satisfy their basic needs and enjoy a good quality of life without compromising future generations to come. Governments alone cannot solve the problems of today, yet conventional approaches to decision making and policy design means that much of the power still sits in government. This imbalance between elected politicians and technocrats and the people they serve limits our abilities to find the right solutions to ensure people’s needs are identified and met. More transparent, accountable and participative government is key to reinvigorating democracy in Scotland. By acting openly, with integrity and with the people, governments can play their part in the much needed shift towards co-produced policy design where real transformational change is most likely to occur. Sustainable Development Goals In 2015, Scotland became one of the first countries to sign up to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These 17 goals are as close as the world has come to agreeing a strategy to achieve prosperity and equality on a planet that works for all. Scotland is required to demonstrate its work to achieve the goals. Civil society and citizens across Scotland can use the SDGs and the political commitment from the Scottish Government as leverage to achieve real change at a national and local level. The goals also provide a framework to begin community focused conversations about what matters to people. They can help us engage in constructive conversations about the local relevance of the 17 goals, better understanding what is particularly important across different communities and what the priorities of government should be. Fitting the two together Through using the SDGs as the framework to engage community stakeholders and residents to understand the issues that people care about most, we can begin to collaboratively problem solve how government must work to bring about change. Not only will this approach help us to understand what Scotland’s priorities should be in order to progress towards the goals, it gives citizens the space to understand the barriers in their way, from disempowerment or a lack of communication, to rigid structures and diminished resources. It also gives people a voice over how government and public services should work. Support for agendas Significantly, both the Open Government and SDG agendas have political buy in. This presents a unique opportunity to further legitimise the presence of people and communities in decision making and policy design. In May 2016 Scotland was announced as one of 15 ‘sub-national’ governments and civil society partnerships worldwide to be part of a pioneer programme to take the principles of open government to levels of governance closer to citizens’ everyday interests. In 2015, the First Minister pledged that Scotland would lead the way to deliver a more equal, more just world. In signing Scotland up to the Sustainable Development Goals, the Scottish Government made a bold statement of intent not just to the people of Scotland but to the world. The goals have since become a key element of the Global Citizenship strand of Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence. Our engagement plans As part of our outreach, we are holding a number of engagement events, approximately 9 in total. We will first focus our attention on equalities events, which will be facilitated by our equalities partners and take place in May/June 2017. In the first instance, our partners include Young Scot, Inclusion Scotland and CEMVO. Our partners will be supporting the facilitation and engagement with attendees at each event. These organisations are encouraged to take their own approach in the delivery of these events. We have developed a loose structure to support and encourage conversations and outline why we are engaging in the first place (see next page). Open Government is not about telling people what to think and do, it’s about asking the right questions to ensure real progress can be made.
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