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Open Glasgow

From Open Government Pioneer Project


Open Belfast/Glasgow

We are now exploring a joint venture for open government where the cities council and civil society communities of Glasgow and Belfast jointly advance an open government agenda in their respective cities.

Draft Project Brief

September 2018

Project Summary

This project will bring together civil society representatives and staff from Belfast and Glasgow City Councils (and civil society) to work in partnership to help promote and deliver more open government. 

The Project will deliver transparency and accountability and increased citizen participation in decision-making at local government level. It will open government data and information in areas such as public spending, government contracts, lobbying activity, the development and impact of policy, and public service performance; increase participation and involvement of citizens in decision making processes; and ensure accountability through rules, laws and mechanisms that ensure government listens, learns, responds and changes when it needs to.

Open Government values and methods have ‘instrumental’ value. They have a utility in progressing issues related to the common good. They will be beneficial in making a real difference in people’s lives. Civic participation and citizen engagement in policy-making, planning and governance, is a necessary condition for wellbeing, democracy and social justice. Increased subsidiarity in decision making will strengthen local democracy and allow greater leadership at community level. The outcome and benefits of citizen engagement will include: better policy outcomes; better service delivery; more engaged and empowered citizens; as well as better understanding of government.

An open government project coordinator will be appointed in each city to deliver the project and facilitate knowledge exchange between Cities.  

Project Activities

Primary actions will include:

  • Raise awareness and understanding of the value and importance of open government at City/local government level using real life examples and evidence. We will work with elected representatives, government officials and key civil society figures to improve open government understanding and knowledge.
  • Deliver training for council staff and councilors on deliberative public engagement. This training will introduce participants to the principles and practices of deliberative public engagement, show how to design a successful engagement process; and explore the different methods and tools that can be applied to facilitate a deliberative process.
  • Plan and deliver public-facing workshops, seminars and events to raise awareness of how open government principles have instrumental value in addressing issues related to the common good.
  • Use the Media to: raise awareness and understanding of OG themes and issues; gain support for our mission; and influence debate and local decision-makers.
  • Work with local councils on an Open Government Charter & Action Plan. This will include supporting local councils to deliver commitments and initiatives around: Open Data, Participatory Budgeting, Open Policy-making, Open Contracting and a Citizens’ Budget:
  • Use digital platforms to facilitate knowledge exchange and share experience between the two Cities
  • Become a City level open government champion in the UK; and share experiences at international level through the OGP Local Programme.

Project Evaluation and Impact

We will use the ASPIRE Framework to measure and evaluate our impact on:

Awareness of OG principles & methods – to measure the impact of public-facing events.

Sharing of information with local government and citizens – to demonstrate the instrumental value of open government.

Participation of citizens, councilors and government officials - to measure involvement in the generation of commitments and in the deliberative engagement initiatives.

Influence on government – to measure government commitment to transparency initiatives and the extent to which local officials and councilors utilise deliberative engagement methods.

Reform of local government – to assess the implementation of open government approaches, commitments and an open government charter.

Effect – to measure the impact on awareness, understanding, empathy with OG issues and mission; and a longer term impact on government openness and accountability. 

Glasgow rationale

Glasgow City Council recently voted (December 2018) to engage with the Open Government Partnership, and explore how it might do so with stakeholders.

Conversations have also taken place between officials from GCVS, GCC, SCVO on the need for voluntary sector capacity to engage with this initiative, the benefits for civil society and the people it supports from an open government agenda in Glasgow.

SCVO are also exploring how the resources and methodology used in the Open Government Pioneer Project (UK) can be used to support ambitions for open government in Glasgow.

NI Specific Rationale (need to add Glasgow/Scottish Specifics)

Democracy in Northern Ireland is broken. And it’s not just because we do not have a functioning Executive and legislative Assembly. The government machine is closed, unresponsive and unaccountable, even at the local level. We need transparency for accountability; and better tools and methods for engaging citizens.

With the establishment of the 11 new super councils in 2015, significant new powers were transferred to local authorities, including local planning, urban regeneration community development. At the same time, legislation introduced the practice of community planning, which requires councils to work with statutory partners and communities "to develop and implement a shared vision for promoting the well-being of an area, community cohesion and improving the quality of life of its citizens".

To ensure that community planning can work effectively and improve local democracy, we aim to help make local government more transparent, accountable and responsive to citizens' needs.

We have seen the damage that a lack of transparency has had in NI, undermining political stability and citizens’ trust in political institutions. We believe that government works better for citizens when it’s transparent, engaging and accountable.

We believe that deliberative democracy has the potential to help revive democratic legitimacy; and that deliberative methods can deliver solutions that are representative of the entire population, based on evidence-based analysis of the merits of competing arguments and grounded in the public’s values and concerns.


I see people have already started making suggestions on what they want to see from this potential initiative

Please use the table below to organise your input on this:

Suggestions box
City Theme Proposal Rationale Practicalities
Glasgow Transport Could SPT publish live bus location data of all buses in Glasgow?
Glasgow Council business Could the Council publish all it's Committee reports as an open data feed?
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