As the Open Government Partnership marked one year, the United States and Brazil formally passed on leadership responsibilities on Sept. 26 to new OGP co-chairs the United Kingdom and Indonesia.
One year ago the Open Government Partnership had just eight founding partners, but it has grown to include 57 countries, with more than 300 commitments toward transparency that impact more than 2 billion people, said the State Department in a Sept. 26 fact sheet.
"As co-chair alongside Indonesia, Britain will focus on supporting members to deliver their transparency commitments," wrote Francis Maude, minister for the UK cabinet office with responsibility for public transparency and open data, in a blog post on The Guardian and Huffington Post.
In order to participate in the partnership, each government must develop and implement a national action plan in consultation with civil society. Thus far, 46 members have published their plans. Beginning in March 2013, an independent reporting mechanism will track country progress against commitments.
"This will see governments voluntarily subjecting themselves to the formal scrutiny of researchers drawn from civil society and supported by the media. The mechanism will help ensure all members actually turn their words into actions," wrote Maude.
The United States' national action plan (.pdf) laid out 26 open government initiatives, including some open government efforts that were already underway in September 2012, such as the "We the People" Petition Platform, the declassification of national security information and the expansion of whistleblower protections for government workers.
During its time chairing the organization, the United Kingdom hopes to communicate examples where open government creates economic growth, launch media and technological solutions for publishing and using open data, and identify opportunities that can benefit commerce and civil society, according to priorities outlined by the United Kingdom. It also hopes to "secure the foundations of the OGP as a globally recognised and respected international initiative," through reporting and oversight, and appropriate support mechanisms that allow the partnership to scale.
The United Kingdom says part of its vision is to highlight the "opportunities that open government provides," and build upon the unique working relationships between participating governments and civil society groups. According to the UK priorities document, it hopes to work with partners to "generate even more effective working models and networks," and encourage pilots for more innovative and open ways of working between government and civil society.