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Approach and ethos

From Open Government Pioneer Project

Overall approach

  • Open approach, using open technologies wherever possible
  • Collaborative approach, connecting existing initiatives, people and ideas
  • Digital pioneer, trying the latest advances in connecting people and data online
  • Agile approach, trying out ideas rapidly, reviewing and adjusting regularly

See also further details about the approach to governance.

Open approach, using open technologies wherever possible

  • The programme will be developed collaboratively using a wiki-based collaborative platform, which will be opened up widely to the all those registered on the Open Government UK forums, and through partner channels.
  • SCVO will share openly programme wide management information through the wiki platform. This means that all those involved in the programme, in every partner organisation and at every level, including engaged citizens, will know how the programme is running at any given time.
  • The wider online public will have full access to the Programme documentation, Milestones documents, evaluation information, as agreed amongst partners at the Board. This will be shared in the Wiki, not on any one organisations’ internal file sharing systems (with the exception of backups).
  • However, the Board will have separate access to a closed Sharepoint resource site that holds the sensitive information, for example pertaining to staffing, budgets and any disputes until those disputes are resolved.
  • Day to day project management between partners takes place through the Sharepoint resource site and a dedicated Open Government UK forum, which is not open to the public.

Digital pioneer, trying the latest advances in connecting people and data online

  • Open Government Pioneers will also make best use of digital and especially digital social channels to promote the programme, share management information, so that it can be seen not just as an exemplar collaboration, but one which is using digital skills and digital channels to communicate and engage in an exemplary way.
  • In addition to the collaborative Wiki above, techniques and tools might include open policy making crowdsourcing platforms, video and audio content, and webinar technologies.
  • During the Set Up phase we will scope these systems, choose the best tools, and set up the structures to deliver and manage them.

Key tools to support project coordination and delivery across partners may include:

  • Sharepoint - collaborative space for document development
  • Loomio - collaborative proposal development domestically
  • Live stream, Citrix for international webinars
  • Base camp for collaboration between project partners
  • Open government UK web resource for hosting network resources, discussions and blogs.
  • Dialogue-app for wider engagement with citizens
  • DemocracyOS for collaborative decision making

Collaborative approach, connecting existing initiatives, people and ideas

  • Open Government Pioneers is a collaborative endeavour and we are committed to delivering real impact on government action, culture change in organisations large and small and with individuals through, by and with open democracy approaches.
  • The project will be open to comment, critique and input from outside its core partner constellation at any time. The project management will be responsive, timely in its response, and by managing the programme openly hopes to attract that same level of openness in other’s interaction with it.
  • Open Government Pioneers will also accommodate new and other organisations and entities as reference group partners at any time, providing they can comply with joining terms and conditions. The Board will establish ground rules for this during the Set Up phase.

Agile approach, trying out ideas rapidly, reviewing and adjusting regularly

As well as the core programme, we want to pioneer new approaches to project development and delivery, learning from the latest advances around agile working practices.

In practice this will involve the following methods (Ref: UK Government 2016):

  • Sprints - carefully planned bursts of activity which are timed to match with capacity (external and internal) and upcoming opportunities.
  • Retrospective meetings for rapid review and appraisal - after each sprint, emerging outcomes are reviewed rapidly, with learnings used to adjust programme priorities and assumptions for the next  'Sprint'
  • Team review (show and tell) - this will focus on demonstrating progress and will involve the wider Reference group for this project.


  • We want Open Government Pioneers to have not just delivered against individual partner and wider collective objectives, but also to be an exemplar for open programme development and delivery in its own right.
  • Open Government Pioneers will be a fairly unique entity in terms of Big Lottery UK (BLF) funded programmes, in the way it came into being, was shaped and will be managed. We would welcome, with BLF support, connecting with other BLF recipients to discover how the approaches piloted with this programme may be of use to them in some way too.
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