Adopt the Charter

Open data is a tool to enable better and more responsive government – it isn’t an end in itself. Opening data so that anyone can access, use and share it has enabled citizens to better understand how their government is buying services, running elections, and delivering on its commitments, to name just a few examples.

However, all too often open data implementation has happened in a vacuum and as a result is patchy, isn’t always driven by user demand and often depends on the whims of individual political champions. These are the problems that the Charter seeks to tackle.

The Charter’s goal is to embed the culture and practice of openness in governments in ways that are resilient to political change.  Adopting the Charter brings the following benefits to governments:

  1. Provides a common framework. The Charter principles are the international best practice for how to do open data well. They ensure consistency and ambition within and across different countries, as well as signalling that a government is committed to achieving the highest international standards.
  2. Supports government implementing open data projects. Adopting the Charter is a statement that a government seeks to be open and responsive to its citizens. The Charter can connect officials to expertise and the tools they need to help implement open data projects.
  3. Connects with different sectors to turn high level open data principles into practical action. To date, the Charter has worked with experts on anti-corruption, climate change and agriculture to develop guides for how to use open data to help solve the problems these sectors face.
  4. Champions high level commitments for open data in key international fora. The Charter works with governments, and institutions such as the G20 and OECD, to build support and political cover for public officials and provide consistency around open data policies.

Adopting the Charter is a straightforward process, with governments making a high level political commitment to the principles and sharing how they intend to implement the Charter. See below for more specific details. For more information contact us at info@opendatacharter.net.

 

How to adopt

Governments seeking to adopt the Open Data Charter should release a high-level public statement (issued by the Head of State, Minister, Secretary, Deputy Secretary, or other appropriate official) that articulates the adoption of the Charter and includes the following:

  1. Appointment of a key ministry, department, or agency, including a direct individual, to serve as point of contact responsible for implementing the Charter’s principles.
    • Example:
      • The Ministry of Innovation, through its Chief Data Officer, will be responsible of the implementation of the Open Data Charter.
  2. Delivery mechanism(s) through which the Charter will be implemented. This should include the specific activities, methodologies, tools, and processes of the mechanism(s) that will be used. This can be an existing open data policy. The letter should include appropriate attachments or links.
    • Examples:
      • The Open Data Charter will be implemented through the Open Government Partnership (OGP) National Action Plan. Specific commitments will be included to implement training programs, tools, and guidelines that are designed to promote data literacy among government employees.
      • The Open Data Charter will be implemented through the existing national open data policy/initiative. Specific requirements to ensure that data is open by default and is timely, comprehensive, accessible, usable, and comparable according to the Open Data Charter’s principles will be included in the policy
  3. Time-bound actions that outline specific, realistic deadlines by which progress toward implementation can be demonstrated. This can be an existing open data implementation plan.
    • Examples:
      • The Open Data Charter will be implemented through the OGP National Action Plan. Specific commitments will be included to implement training programs, tools, and guidelines that are designed to promote data literacy among government employees by October 2016.
      • The Open Data Charter will be implemented through the national open data policy/initiative. Specific requirements to ensure that data is open by default and is timely, comprehensive, accessible, usable, and comparable according to the Charter’s principles will be included in the policy by March 2016.
  4. Means of verification of the specific actions that will be taken by the institution to track the progress of the Charter’s implementation.
    • Examples:
      • The Open Data Charter will be implemented through the OGP National Action Plan. Specific commitments will be included to implement training programs, tools, and guidelines that are designed to promote data literacy among government employees by October 2016. This action will be included in the published version of the 2016-2018 National Action Plan, and minutes of the sessions will be published.
      • The Open Data Charter will be implemented through the national open data policy/initiative. Specific requirements to ensure that data is open by default and is timely, comprehensive, accessible, usable, and comparable according to the Charter’s principles will be included in the policy by March 2016. The new requirements will be published in the Official Gazette.
  5. Send this letter to info@opendatacharter.net

 

What does it mean to adopt the Charter?

The Charter principles represent an aspiration for how governments should be opening up and countries are at different stages in their efforts to promote open data. This means that implementation plans will vary from government to government. The Charter encourages plans that are specific, concrete and deliverable, as opposed to ones that are vague and broad.

While adoption of the Open Data Charter is on a non-binding, voluntary basis, it is important that adopting governments uphold the principles of the Charter, so as to maintain their credibility and promote greater impact.Governments will remain in the Charter network as long as they demonstrate continued commitment to implementing the Charter principles.

Transparency and accountability are vital to promoting efficient implementation of the Charter’s principles. Governments are encouraged to participate with external accountability and impact evaluation mechanisms. In addition, they should publicly follow up on their own progress on a yearly basis.