Open Government Partnership Framework project

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) project is a multi-lateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to advance open government efforts. It has over 70 members including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand.

In November 2015 Australia reaffirmed its commitment to join the OGP. The Minister for Finance, Senator the Hon. Mathias Cormann has responsibility for co-ordinating Australia’s involvement in the OGP on behalf of the Prime Minister. He is supported by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Developing the Open Government National Action Plan

Every two years OGP members must work with the public to transparently and publicly ‘co-create’ a National Action Plan.

Cabinet approved Australia’s first Open Government National Action Plan (the Plan) in December 2016. The Plan contains 15 commitments that aim to advance transparency, accountability, participation and/or technological innovation.

The department’s responsibilities

The department has responsibility for implementing commitments 1.3 and 5.2 of the Plan.

Commitment 1.3 implements the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative:

Commitment 5.2 works towards improving public participation and engagement to enhance policy and service delivery outcomes.

Commitment 5.2: Enhancing public participation in government decision making

Commitment 5.2’s key output is to establish a new Australian Government framework for public participation and engagement. The project has three phases which will be delivered using a user-centric design approach of Discover, Create, and Deliver.

Collapsed - Phase 1 – Discover: January 2017 to July 2017

Undertake and publicly release a stocktake of current approaches to public participation to determine best practice activities.

  • Problem identification: interview key stakeholders, review data, literature review, explore opportunities for co-design.
  • Empathise: systems map, stakeholder mapping, user identification and segmentation, ethnographic research.
  • Define: data synthesis, develop design questions.

Collapsed - Phase 2 – Create: July 2017 to December 2017

Work with government agencies, the public and organisations outside of government to develop and implement the whole-of-government framework.

Collapsed - Phase 3 – Deliver: December 2017 to June 2018

Undertake pilot public participation initiatives, including working with the Digital Transformation Agency to more effectively use digital channels for engagement.

Work to date

We are in the Discover Phase evaluating existing approaches to determine best practice activities. We are reviewing relevant literature and examples of recent public participation that demonstrate how it can help public servants.

Update: 10 August 2017. Resource for information: Literature review we drew on in developing our work.

Our work (including our draft Discover phase report) has drawn on a range of sources about public participation. 

We have received feedback from the public that more transparency about the information and data public servants rely on in developing policy and programmes would improve public participation. It can help the public understand the assumptions we are relying on and facilitate co-creation.

As such, we are releasing our working Literature Review to the public in draft form, noting that it is a living document that will be subject to further iteration. Besides assisting co-creation, we hope it can be a useful reference for persons interested in public participation.

We may have quoted some of your work. Obviously we bring our own interpretive lens to it, but if we haven’t perfectly represented or interpreted publications you have produced, please let us know and we will correct the record ( Any mistakes are totally unintentional and we apologise in advance for any misunderstandings. We have a busy schedule and are still building up our knowledge of the subject matter.

Update 14 July 2017: Working draft/in progress Discover report available for comment

We now have a working draft Discover phase report. It sets out our project methodology and research findings from the Discover Phase’s Problem identification stage. We intend it to be the first of a series of working draft documents we share with the public. 

In the interests of transparency and co-creation this report is being released to the public in draft form, noting that further iteration of the content is needed. Square bracketed sections in the document indicate holding space for new content, for instance, data from user research with public servants and members of the public.

The structure and main content of the report will appear in the Discover phase’s final report, subject to iteration. The content provides a summary with examples of what we’ve discovered through our literature review and initial stakeholder engagement. It will inform the Empathise stage and Create phase.

Submit feedback

We invite your comments on the draft report. With your assistance we can build a richer understanding of the problems we need to solve to improve public participation in Australia.

We’d also like to hear from you if you have any comments on the way your work has been incorporated into the report.

Preliminary findings

  • Public participation is a spectrum of ways citizens and their representatives are brought into policy and programmes from the least deliberation (information dissemination) to the most deliberation (decision making).
  • Public participation that involves co-creation and decision-making has great potential to improve public services.
  • Other jurisdictions, especially local governments, do more co-creation and decision making initiatives than the APS.
  • Changing public service culture and improving capability will be crucial for long term success.
  • We should aspire to be as open as we can. There’s great potential for co-creation and it will improve the legitimacy of our work.
  • Picking the right kind of public participation for the right problem is crucial, including for political buy-in.

Next steps

The next phase of the project is Empathise. We will be talking to people to understand why there isn’t more public participation in government and what people’s experience of participation has been like (for both the public and the public service). 

How you can contribute

We will post our recent work on this site. We want to design this framework with you, so please provide your views and share your expertise with us.

If you have an idea, case study or useful article please email

Share this Page