«Finalized 22.10.2013 This Action Plan has been coordinated by the Norwegian Ministry of Government Administration, Reform and Church Affairs 1 ...»
Norway’s second Action Plan on
Open Government Partnership
October 2013 – September 2015
This Action Plan has been coordinated by the Norwegian Ministry of Government
Administration, Reform and Church Affairs
1. About Norway’s first Action Plan on Open Government Partnership
2. Norway’s Second Action Plan – the Process
3. Openness and Civic Participation in Norway
4. Efforts to Date and the Next Steps (with Commitments) 2
1. About Norway’s first Action Plan on Open Government Partnership (OGP) The first Norwegian Action Plan on OGP was launched on 19 September 2011.
Three areas of the plan were given particular priority:
Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government:
Measures to promote gender equality and women’s full participation in civic life, the private sector, public administration and political processes Transparency in the management of oil and gas revenues and efforts for financial transparency The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was responsible for coordinating the Norwegian Action Plan until 25 January 2013. After this date, the task was transferred to the Ministry of Government Administration, Reform and Church Affairs (except the responsibility for funding).
Norway’s first Action Plan can be downloaded from:
www.opengovpartnership.org/countries/norway On this website you will also find the Norwegian Self-Assessment Report on our first Action Plan, dated April 2013.
In October 2013, the report of the OGP Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) will be published on the same page of the OGP website.
2. Norway’s Second Action Plan – the Process The Ministry of Government Administration, Reform and Church Affairs (hereafter referred to as the Ministry) defines “civil society” in this Action Plan as individual citizens, civil society organizations (CSOs), interest groups, the business sector and organizations connected to working life. As regards individual citizens, Norway believes that their views are best mapped by surveys, such as citizens’ surveys and omnibus surveys.
The Ministry has invited civil society to propose input to this second Action Plan. The invitation was sent out on 18 April 2013 to 27 different CSOs and organizations in the business sector and in working life. The final date for submitting proposals was three months later, 18 July 2013. The letter is available on the Ministry’s website under “Høringer” (Consultations). Responses from civil society are available on the same website. The invitation letter is also available on a separate Norwegian “OPG page” of the Ministry’s website.
In its letter of 18 April, the Ministry also informed that an invitation to a dialogue meeting with civil society, likely to be held in the first part of June 2013, was to be sent out later.
At the same time, the local experts who worked on the IRM report on Norway’s first action plan arranged three meetings with civil society, on 3, 8 and 10 May. The Ministry was present at all three meetings, and informed about the ongoing process regarding the second Action Plan.
On 14 May, the Ministry sent out the invitation to the dialogue meeting, which was to be held on 13 June. In addition to the 27 organizations originally invited, the invitation was sent to the persons and the organizations on the mailing lists of the three IRM meetings. A total of approximately 100 addressees were invited to the meeting on 13 June. The aim of the dialogue meeting was to provide information concerning the OGP and the process of making a new Action Plan and to discuss possible commitments in the new plan. One of the local experts from IRM was also present at the meeting. He shared some of the IRM’s impressions so far, both on the content of and the process leading up to Norway’s first Action Plan. This was useful for the further work on the second Action Plan.
All ministries were invited to attend the meeting with civil society on 13 June, and they were also invited to a separate information meeting about OGP and the new Action Plan and in order to discuss subjects for possible Norwegian commitments. This meeting was held on 6 June.
As a response to the Ministry’s letter of 18 April, we have received proposals from six
civil society organizations:
The Employers’ Association Spekter (Arbeidsgiverforeningen Spekter)
All responses have been published on ”Regjeringen.no” (government.no):
http://www.regjeringen.no/nb/dep/fad/dok/horinger/horingsdokumenter/2013/hori ng-opg The proposals were sent to the competent ministries for consideration.
A first draft of this Action Plan was prepared by the Ministry during July September
2013. The draft was based on the proposals from civil society and on responses from the ministries concerning those proposals, but also on proposals from the ministries and the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS), of which all municipalities and county authorities are members.
The draft version was circulated for consultation by the ministries, the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS) and civil society between 23 September and 4 October 2013. The consultation was announced on the Ministry’s website. Some of the comments from the consultation are reflected in this Action Plan.
Owing to time limits, other comments must be considered later.
3.1 A culture of openness – Norway’s aspiration The Norwegian system is based on a culture of openness and a long tradition for participation by civil society.
The principles of open government are therefore well established in the Norwegian public administration tradition. The OGP principles concur with the principles on which the Norwegian public administration is based.
Norway aspires to be one of the most open countries in the world.
3.2 The “Nordic Model” The Norwegian public administration works within the framework of the “Nordic Model”, sometimes also referred to as “the Norwegian Model”. This is a consensusbased model based on the notion that a country’s economy is best served by tripartite cooperation between the Government, employers’ associations and trade unions, particularly in relation to collective agreements.
One concrete example of such cooperation is the Agreement on a More Inclusive Working Life (“IA agreement”), whereby the Government and the social partners work to achieve a more inclusive working life for the benefit of the employees, workplaces and society.
3.3 The voluntary sector in Norway The scale of voluntary organization and voluntary work in Norway is very large in international terms. The proportion of the population engaged in voluntary work is just under 50%, while almost 70% of the population are members of one or more organizations. There are approximately 80 000 local and regional clubs and associations in Norway, of which the greatest proportion operate in the areas of sport, art and culture and recreational and social activities. The economic value of voluntary (unpaid) work in non-profit and voluntary organizations is estimated at NOK 60 bn (1 € is approximately NOK 8), equivalent to a total of approximately 115 000 Full-time equivalents (FTEs). The total economic value (paid and unpaid work) in non-profit and voluntary organizations is estimated at NOK 101 bn.
6 The Norwegian voluntary sector has undergone a number of changes during recent decades. The proportion of the population engaged in voluntary work and the number of local and regional clubs and associations has decreased somewhat. At the same time, the total number of hours and voluntary FTEs has remained the same. Attitudes and motives for participation are more often than before associated with self-development, skills and activities. Belonging to organizations means less to people. Traditional civil organization is under pressure. Broad social movements are on the decline, while organizations with a local community orientation are on the increase.
More people than before remain outside the voluntary organizations. In the case of immigrants with a command of Norwegian who have resided in Norway for more than five years, a relatively large proportion are involved in voluntary work, but mainly in other types of organization than the remainder of the population.
Particularly among young people, social involvement is in process of changing. Young people are active and participate in new ways, use different channels and express their involvement and views about specific causes. Non-membership based and virtual voluntary work is on the increase.
3.4 Important OGP-relevant legislation and documents on openness and consultation and ICT The Public Administration Act (“Forvaltningsloven”) The general rules for executive work in the public sector are laid down in the Act of 10 February 1967 relating to procedure in cases concerning the public administration (Public Administration Act). A general principle of this Act is that no administrative decision may be taken before thorough clarification of the case. The Act also provides special rights of access to case documents, etc. to the parties involved in individual cases. The Act also states that parties which the regulations concern or will concern, or whose interests are particularly affected shall be given an opportunity to express their opinions before regulations are issued, amended or repealed.
The Freedom of Information Act (“Offentleglova”)
Norway’s first Freedom of information act dates back to 1970. A new act was carried in 2006 and came into force in 2009. The purpose of this act is to facilitate an open and transparent public administration, and thereby strengthen freedom of information and expression, democratic participation, legal safeguards for the individual, confidence in the public authorities and control by the public. The act shall also facilitate the re-use of public information. The main rule of this act is the right for anyone to have access to the documents and public records of the public administration. Following a resolution from The Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget), the Freedom of Information Act will now
The Act on the Right to Environmental Information (“Miljøinformasjonsloven”) Act of 9 may 2003 No 31 Relating to the Right to Environmental Information and Public Participation in Decision-making Processes relating to the Environment (“Lov om rett til miljøinformasjon og deltakelse i offentlige beslutningsprosesser av betydning for miljøet” (“miljøinformasjonsloven”)).
The purpose of this Act is to ensure public access to environmental information held by public authorities and private undertakings and thus make it easier for individuals to contribute to the protection of the environment, to protect themselves against injury to health and environmental damage, and to influence public and private decision makers in environmental matters.
Environmental information held by public authorities is accessible i.a. through http://www.environment.no/. The Act is also intended to promote public participation in decision-making processes of significance relating to the environment.
The Archival Act (“Arkivloven”) The Norwegian Archival Act came into force in 1999. Public administration bodies are required to keep records, and records shall be arranged and designed so that the documents are kept safe as sources of information. A logically limited amount of information stored in a medium for subsequent reading, listening, presentation, or transfer shall be regarded as a document. The purpose of public bodies’ recordkeeping is twofold. Firstly, archives are created to satisfy public administration bodies’ own documentation needs. Second, the archives will accommodate various democratic rights such as controlling public bodies’ activities, see the publicly available documents and inspect cases. The act particularly emphasises the rules for preservation and disposal of public records, but also rules relating to the preservation of archival material from the private sector.
Central Government Communication Policy (“Statens kommunikasjonspolitikk”)
The aim of the Central Government Communication Policy is to ensure that citizens:
are provided with correct and clear information about their rights, responsibilities and opportunities have access to information about the government’s activities are invited to participate in the formulation of policies, arrangements and services
The Government’s eGovernment Programme “Digitizing Public Service” (“Digitaliseringsprogrammet”) The Norwegian eGovernment Programme “Digitizing Public Service” was presented by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Government Administration, Reform and Church Affairs in April 2012.
The objectives are that:
the public sector is to be accessible online to the extent possible web-based services are to be the general rule for the public sector’s communication with citizens and businesses a digital public sector is to result in improved services digitization of the public sector is to free up resources for areas in need of more resources The programme raises ambitions for the use of ICT to reform the public sector. The
following principles form the basis:
1. Digital communication is to be the general rule for contact with the public sector
2. The public sector is to provide unified and user-friendly digital services
3. Login to public web services is to be simple and secure
4. Secure digital mailboxes will be available to all citizens and businesses for receipt of mail from the public sector
5. Citizens and businesses will be notified via SMS text messages and e-mail
6. Necessary assistance is to be provided to citizens to ensure they will be able to find and use digital services
7. Development of ICT solutions is to be viewed in the context of the public sector’s work processes and organization