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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New NSW open government era ushered in by ICT Strategy 2012

The reference by NSW Premier O'Farrell on 21 August to "shortly" planning to announce a commitment to a new era of open government proved very short indeed-the next day he issued Memorandum 2012-10 linking this to the NSW Government ICT Strategy 2012, which requires directors general of each agency to report to the ICT Board by December 2012 with a plan to:
  • Identify priority datasets for publication at
  • Increase open access information available at

  • Facilitate public participation in the policy development process

  • Make greater use of social media to communicate with staff, customers and industryIncrease online access to government services
The three key Open Government initiatives outlined in the Strategy are:
  • Implementing a whole of government policy that supports the use of social media for enhanced public engagement and service delivery
  • Expanding and promoting Publications NSW as the default and easily searchable repository for published Government information
  • Developing best practice guidelines for the design of government websites, and applications for smartphones and tablets to make government information available in a way that suits the customer.
Progress on delivering open, online government will be reported publicly with stories of best practice that showcase the NSW Government’s commitment to transparency, participation, collaboration and innovation.

As reader "Sigh" points out, no reference in the memorandum to the Government Information (Public Access) Act with its proactive publication emphasis or to the reporting obligations that already exist under that act.  (Another wonders what ever happened to the pre-election commitment to abolish application fees, which hasn't been heard of since?)

So far the "new era" has not  received any public flourish- neither the Premier's speech last week nor the memorandum has warranted a media release or reference on the Premier's website.

But the memorandum urges ministers to ensure "that all agencies within their administration are aware of the contents of this Memorandum."

Pass it on folks.... the Premier says, and you can quote him:
"The NSW Government will be:
  • Open in our work for the people of NSW
  • Open to participation in the policy process
  • Open to collaboration on how we do business
Government faces many challenges and it makes sense to collaborate with our community, industry and research partners to deliver better quality and more convenient services for our customers. We can work well together if we share information and make it easier for NSW citizens to have their say as policies are developed. An open approach also benefits the public service. Agencies need to know what is happening across government so that ideas can be shared and duplication reduced."

1 comment:

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