SCVO response to Scottish Government

27 November 2018

 

Our position

SCVO strongly welcomes the Draft Action Plan as it helps give Open Government a home within Scottish Government

But SCVO is aware of several parts of Government that appear prepared to be much more ambitious than this plan

Some commitment milestone sections appear to still be incomplete

Some Civil society partner organisations are named as delivery partners without explanation of why they have been picked by Government

Some commitments feel like internal capacity building initiatives for Scottish Government staff

Some of the Commitments have listed activities that do not appear to deliver on the Commitment objective

Our response

This is a response to the Scottish Government’s public consultation on the Draft Open Government Action plan for 2018-20 published at Draft Action Plan on Open Government – we want to hear your views

SCVO has been supporting the civil society engagement with the Action Plan, including support for the OGP Action Plan Steering group. For more details visit the Open Government Scotland network website.

Overall:

SCVO strongly welcomes the Open Government Scotland Action plan as it helps give Open Government a home within Scottish Government. This is important to maintain the momentum and enthusiasm within Government for the Open Government approach.

However, SCVO is aware of several parts of Government that are already implementing approaches that are considerably more ambitious than this plan. We suggest that the Action plan needs to catch up with progress already being made in parts of Government that wish to go further than the Plan commits.

We provide more detailed comments below:

In detail:

Main points Detail
Some commitment milestone sections appear to still be incomplete For example,

A number of milestones state ‘detail to be added’ in Commitment 1 (financial transparency)

No milestones listed in commitment 4 (public services)

If significant detail is added at the last minute which has not been raised or discussed publicly, then it would be difficult to support the view that the plan has been co-produced or developed openly.

Some civil society partner organisations named are named as delivery partners without explanation of why they have been picked by Government Several civil society organisations including Citizens Advice Scotland, Children in Scotland, YoungScot, SCDC and others have been named as delivery partners without further explanation.

While there could well be a good reason for this, we need an explanation within the plan of why they have been picked, and the delivery opportunity not made available to others.

Some commitments that feel like internal capacity building initiatives for Scottish Government staff Some significant action commitments represented in the Participation Framework, seem like internal Scottish Government exercises, and, in our view, should not be presented as public Open Government Commitments.
Some of the Commitments have listed activities that do not appear to deliver on the Commitment objective Examples include:

Commitment 1 (Financial information), where the commitment aims to seek the views of stakeholders and the wider public on the public finances. However, the activities all focus on ‘expert civil society actors’ and advisory groups. Who will be on these and who selects?

Commitment 5 (Brexit), where the activities all involve stakeholder engagement exercises, rather than proactive and early publication of positions and evidence, despite the latter being the focus of the Commitment.

About us

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is the national body representing the third sector. There are over 45,000 voluntary organisations in Scotland involving around 138,000 paid staff and approximately 1.3 million volunteers. The sector manages an income of £5.3 billion.

SCVO works in partnership with the third sector in Scotland to advance our shared values and interests. We have over 1,900 members who range from individuals and grassroots groups, to Scotland-wide organisations and intermediary bodies.

As the only inclusive representative umbrella organisation for the sector SCVO:

  • has the largest Scotland-wide membership from the sector – our 1,900 members include charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations of all shapes and sizes
  • our governance and membership structures are democratic and accountable – with an elected board and policy committee from the sector, we are managed by the sector, for the sector
  • brings together organisations and networks connecting across the whole of Scotland
  • SCVO works to support people to take voluntary action to help themselves and others, and to bring about social change.

Contact

Ruchir Shah

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations,

Mansfield Traquair Centre,

15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh EH3 6BB

Email: policy@scvo.org.uk

Tel: 0131 474 8000