Participation, Transparency and Accountability, can we do better
As part of their work on Creative Space for Civic Thinking, The Building Change Trust has called for the in the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector in Northern Ireland to engage in a debate around transparency, accountability and participation in government.
The Trust has identified several opportunities to enable forward momentum in this area. One key step they are currently exploring is the mobilization of local civil society and, in particular, the VCSE sector.
Over the coming months the Trust is set to hold several events to raise awareness of the Open Government Partnership.
The Open Government Partnership is an international framework of government committed to transparency, accountability and participation.The UK is one of the founding nations and there are now over 60 member countries, including the Republic of Ireland.
One of the initiative’s key features is that it functions in each country through a joint and equal government – civil society partnership.
Currently the Open Government Partnership has little impact in Northern Ireland due to the fact that the commitments made are almost entirely at central government level.
However, there is no reason why this cannot change and the Open Government Partnership as a movement is interested in ‘making it local’ as a next step in its evolution.
The Trust will be holding a seminar on Friday 16th May, designed to gauge interest in forming a working group that would further consider Open Government Partnership’s potential in Northern Ireland. Discussion will also take place to identify possible actions.
There will be a keynote input by Tim Hughes from Involve, Coordinator of the UK Open Government Partnership Civil Society Network. Additional contributions will come from TASC Ireland, Amnesty International's Patrick Corrigan and Professor Rick Wilford from Queen's University Belfast, as well as a range of local academic and VCSE sector representatives.
Paul Braithwaite, who heads up the Trust's work on Creative Space for Civic Thinking, said: “We are committed to enabling the Northern Ireland Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector to better facilitate the meaningful participation of individuals and communities in decision-making processes that impact upon their lives.
“We believe that many lessons can be learned from the Open Government Partnership and I look forward to engaging with our local VCSE sector to develop a plan for the future of transparency, accountability and participation within the sector".
If you or your organisation would like to attend this seminar please click here.