SOCIETY | Jul 11, 2019

Open Government: we have a plan!

What are the actions of the fourth plan 2019-2021 for Open Government that will make the PA more open?

“The inspiring principles of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), transparency, digital citizenship, citizen participation and accountability, can concretely affect the quality of the work of public administrations” – reads the introduction by the Minister for PA, Giulia Bongiorno, to the 2019-21 fourth plan for Open Government published at the end of June.

The plan is a strategic document, drawn up by the OGP Team established at the Department of Public Administration, which defines the objectives to be pursued and the actions to be taken in the field of Open Government. The document is also the result of discussions with representatives of civil society who are members of the Open Government Forum, open to all organizations active in the field of open government.

“The contents of the Open Government Plan, if implemented, will provide a great boost to modernizing the PA and to consolidating citizens’ digital rights”, comments Dario Buttitta, Engineering’s General Manager Public Administration & Healthcare Unit. “Implementing these results will only be possible by reducing the bureaucracy of the PA and increasing the autonomy of the large section of civil servants whose integrity and attachment to the country constitute the guideline of their actions”.

10 actions: what is the contribution of data?

The actions envisaged by the plan relate to open data, transparency, the register of effective members, support for participation, regulation of stakeholders, culture of open administration, prevention of corruption, simplification, performance and equal opportunities, digital services, citizenship and digital skills.

With regard to the Open Data topic, the plan provides for the introduction at a national level of measures aimed to adopt a national license or, where useful and applicable, diversified licenses, but able to stimulate a correct and effective re-use of data, overcoming the current problems of incompatibility which arise from the use of different types of licenses. Common standards based on the types of data published are also necessary, building on work already underway, such as the repository of controlled ontologies and vocabularies. The ultimate goal is to increase the quality and quantity of Open Data available, including by defining a shared basket of 10 useful datasets, as well as to increase the capacity to manage data and the use of data from the basket through the provision of APIs.

Still on the subject of data, in order to prevent corruption, the plan aims to standardize data and information relating to public contracts according to the common international model, as defined by the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) and as already occurs in the case of the MIT OpenCantieri portal for “tender”, “contractor” and “contract”. Another objective for the same action is to make available the (non-sensitive) data contained in the new Archivio Informatico delle Opere Pubbliche (AINOP – Public Works Information Archive) in open format, in order to provide the community with information concerning road and rail infrastructures and other means of transport which can be consulted and processed to provide civic control and the development of applications and services.

How can the development of adequate e-skills be supported?

In the overall strategy there is no lack of action in relation to digital skills, since these represent a criticality which distinguishes Italy, according to the DESI index too, as well as one of the main causes of the delay accumulated in the Public Administration’s digital transformation process. The activities envisaged by the plan, from now until 2021, refer to the preparation of a guide for citizens which illustrates the main digital rights contained in the Digital Administration Code that regulate and simplify the relationship of citizens and businesses with the PA; the creation of a “Youth Portal”; the definition of a three-year school-work alternation project for digital citizenship education and, at a regional level, the increase in the number of places where it is possible to carry out types of public service co-design and co-evaluation such as innovation labs, open labs, etc..

Execute and monitor

Starting from June 2019, these actions will be implemented according to the plan’s schedule and will be monitored, including by involving civil society and citizens, according to the guiding principles which inspired the preparation of the Plan.

“The approach we adopted – the head of the Department of Public Administration, Maria Barilà, comments in the plan – enables a greater convergence of the paths undertaken by the administrations involved in each action, which vary in size and distribution on the territory, and this with a view to encouraging the dissemination of good practices and therefore an improvement in the minimum standards of the Italian administrations“.