Open Government Implementation

Open Government Implementation

Empirical studies have shown that the concept of openness is at the core of a sound and robust governance as far as the 21st-century democracy prevails. The OECD asserts that open government is the openness of the administrative activities/procedures and how accessible government services, and data is as well as the government response to current issues, needs, and demands. These three critical features support various advantages for societies and governments because they enhance the evidence base for policymaking, discouraging graft, strengthening integrity, and establishing citizen trust in the government (Dunleavy et al., 2005). The implementation of open governance in England aimed at changing the pattern of governance towards restoring public confidence. Open government is the best tool for establishing public trust because it fosters direct participation by citizens and other stakeholders.

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Literature Review

Open government concept dates back in the Athenian democratic era during which citizens and the society at large accessed and controlled the public funds, goods, and information. These activities centered around public figures such as generals and servants. The people performed the role of electing or choosing their auditors and financial controllers in the judiciary and the treasury to ensure accountability (Gravelin et al., 2009). This system was completely different from the majority of the era’s governments, which depicted abuse of authority, corrupt, lack of accountability, transparency as the then leaders used their positions and influence to enrich themselves.  As time goes by, the concept of open government had become a global phenomenon through which the governments thrive on access to information laws, autonomous oversight and enforcement systems namely the Supreme Audit Institution as well as information control which compels the public authority to adhere to transparency and accessibility (Dunleavy et al., 2005). In England, this concept has enabled public services to offer the needs of a common citizen via consultations and participation of citizens and relevant stakeholders.

England embraced open governance in1215 through the signing of the Magna Carta, which paved the way for the first regulations for accountability. This carta compelled King John to embrace the basic regulations which demanded the increasing of taxes without informing the rich. Initially, the king had to inform them in advance due to their practical roles of tax collection and source of the military labor force (Mickoleit, 2015). At this point, one could say that citizens had an indirect impact on government affairs through the wealthy who consulted with the government.

The era of the European enlightenment (17th-18th Centuries) embodied reformation and revolution courtesy of the collaborative efforts by Locke and Jeremy of England Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Voltaire from France and America’s Thomas Jefferson. These leaders led to the transformation from the arbitrary, and autocratic systems of administration (Mergel, 2013). This episode led to the creation of a new government structure that allowed respect for natural rights, and the applicability of the democratic authorities.

Definition and Significance of Open Government

In the last three decades, open government has become the alternative approach for freedom of information and the accessibility to information. The Open Government Principle defines open government as the right to understand and dwell under the constitution. Besides, Joseph W. Thomas (1974-75) perceives that open government as the strategy of being open to public scrutiny the decision processes of the national government, Open Government Partnership (OGP, 2013). Some administrators describe open government a tool through which journalists, civil society, and citizens fight corrupt individuals and underground organizations. To others, open government is the framework through which information flows between citizens and government, the type of exchange, and decision-making activity that allows citizens to understand the happenings in the government.

Nevertheless, the current meaning of open government is that it embraces all issues regarding accessibility, transparency, and responsiveness by the government system that allows free movement of information among all the societal sectors. This type of system requires that the public sector makes information sharing a mandatory act and culture (Dunleavy et al., 2005). This episode would also call for the devotion of public resources, training, and management procedures towards effective dissemination of knowledge and services.  Either, the decision-makers need to respond to citizens’ needs, priorities, and ideas as well as to the external entities, thereby providing quality and accessible paths for voicing the same.

The Flow of Information

The right to know or access information prevails as the most explored field. According to experts, the most significant step of open government and ability by citizens to scrutinize, contribute to decision making, and question those in authority is the legislation to obtain the accessibility to information.  As a result, access to information has become a human right as outlined in the Human Rights’ the universal declaration and the region-based human rights structures (Mickoleit, 2015). These include the U.S Human Rights Convention, African Charter on human liberties, and the European Convention on human freedom (Mergel, 2013). The laws that allow easy access to information, there are many other institutions and policies which contribute to more openness, accountability, and accessibility. In this regard, the whistleblower protection frameworks, the Supreme Audit Institutions, public interest disclosure acts, Ombudsman Information Commissioner Offices, and rights to observe public meetings.Furthermore, there has been another global movement that has been pushing for openness in government in that citizen views shapes policies and laws of the day (Mergel, 2013). This initiative has emerged courtesy of the effort from the civil society and citizen which aim at influencing public decisions and as a politician, also work towards regaining public trust in their leadership.

Open Government versus E-Government

The United Nations, International scale organization like the OCD, the World Bank as well as the Open Government Partnershiphave helped to develop and align most of the developed countries to implement open government concept (Pradhan, 2009). The European nations have employed another concept dubbed e-government which aims at empowering citizens and organizations through supporting the evolution of e-Government into the new type of open government which depicts flexibility, collaboration and serves across all levels of the public hierarchy and political jurisdictions.

This concept also considers the fact that collaborative and social networking tools empowers the users to actively design and produce public services hence the need to embrace an open structure, production and offering of online services in the realm of the collaboration between citizen, civil society and the business community (Dunleavy et al., 2005). In this setting, the integration of new technologies, innovative architectures, open specifications, and the availability of the public sector data could help to avail of greater value to citizens with limited resources.

The distinction between open government and e-Government base on the incorporation between historical democratic activities supported via the new technologies in the local and central administrative units. Here, the elements of collaboration, transparency and participation prevails as the major roles of democracy thus integrating them in the private sector could impact both the administrative action and decision-making. Bearing in mind that e-government thrives the web-based activities which comes from the federal, local and state agencies, this system uses IT and internet to strengthen government activities thus improving service delivery (Mergel, 2013). According to research, e-Government enhance the interaction through data accessibility, filings, making payments and many other web-based activities.

Strategies of Building Citizen Trust

Political activities are focusing more their democratic bedrocks due to the fact that majority of the citizens especially have no trust in their governments.  For instance, majority of the U.K citizens believe that a group of elites who forms minority of the global society who have no link with public reality are benefiting more from governments as they suffer. This situation has compelled theU.K monarchy to restructure its operations by employing interconnected strategies to restore citizen trust for better implementation of the open ended government structure (OGP, 2013).These strategies comprise of six elements which could help to redefine civic engagement beyond voting. As a result, it helps to empower citizens towards active participation in policy-making and service delivery because they would become the core of the government.

 Giving Citizens the Required Information

The most critical element of restoring citizen trust is thriving in transparency. Here, the monarchy is working tirelessly to a vail quality and genuine information which could guide citizens in controlling relevant sections of the government (Pradhan, 2009). This government would facilitate this objective by providing healthcare data for citizen viewingthus assisting them to control healthcare priorities, track the costs, compare and contrast healthcare providers as they also examine treatment waits via online. The government transparency portal would proactively publish public expenditure for easy tracking of government or taxpayer’s money.

 Enhancing Citizen Voice in Policymaking

The government is also working towards positioning citizens at the core of the government to influence legislations and policies in prioritized areas. For instance, the monarchy could encourage citizen-crowded priority vote in which they endorse major policy proposals which could lead to reforms on various political and administrative issues and policies.

 Mobilizing Marginalized Citizens

The patterns of the minorities experiencing hostilities, oppression and exclusion have gained momentum in the U.K and across the world.  The act of involving these groups in civil dialogues and policy preferences could help to restore trust (Pradhan, 2009). This objective could materialize through employing public feedback from the low-income citizens and communities of color on their equity evaluation tool to help establish the general equity standards that connects to the local budgets.

 Orienting Citizens to Follow the Money

The U.K government is also targeting to empower citizens to follow-up with government expenditure and provide feedback on its misuse with an aim of restoring public trust.  In this setting, citizens would feel that the government is wise in dealing with public resources. For example, the government has plans to establish the budget monitoring framework which integrates with the audit department and civil society in visualizing online government spending, provide corruption-based cases and find government agencies that needs auditing (Mergel, 2013). This platform could also allow citizens to monitor the primary graft scandals from illegal contracts especially when the government discloses all the information on public procurement contracts.

 Providing Citizens’ Needs

Gaining citizen trust also comes with the feeling that the government is responding to their voice. When the monarchy ignores citizen grievances, it would encouragethem to be skeptic in trusting its operations. The government could complete the feedback loop by encouraging citizens to monitor government operations and offer their feedback thereby waiting for its response (Pradhan, 2013). For instance, the government could establish the open road program which allows the disclosure of public expenditure on infrastructure especially on geo-coded roads thus tackling the money lost through construction tenders. This situation could follow the auditing of such expenditure to help track the money lost via leakages.

 Involving Citizens in Fighting Graft and Elite Capture

Citizen distrust and apathy also comes from the elite capture and grand corruption cases thereby creating an impression that the government operates to cater for interests of the elites and wealthy. The government could respond to scandals involving big companies and other influential groups by promoting reforms that could prevent the peddlers in government activities by using a public lobbying register (Gravelin, et al., 2009). This document makes public the meetings and donations between lobbyists and authorities.

The value of Open Governance

Open governance has elicited mixed reactions regarding what drives it and the gains that comes with it.  Regarding the openness factor, some scholars argue that open government realizes the robust normative element, whereby, it offers detailed references to open government as an intrinsic modern democracy and more so, as a basic human rights (Mergel, 2013). An additional view of open government is that it is the path to an end, depending with the person creating this notion. There are various benefits attributed to open government yet they are not from the universal perception. Some of these benefits are its ability to ensure effective decision making and service delivery and protecting against graft. More so, there is a notion that open government allows citizens to scrutinize the government towards trusting its operations.

Besides, many creditable evidences have proved that a property implemented and enforced open government structures could present some benefits both to the society and government.

According to Mickoleit (2015), access of information can reform risk management, bureaucratic efficiency and economic performance in governments. Additionally, optimization of government openness could lead to higher rate of GDP development, optimize the standards in public management and service delivery as well as reduction of graft cases (Pradhan, 2009). At the same time, having the knowledge that the government would publicize the documents is a sufficient reason for standardized decision-making and record keeping approaches among the public officers. Presenting to the public critical transactions such as the procurement documents can help to preserve public expenditure.

Majority of the presented benefits directly impacts civil society, media and citizens. Allowing citizens to access data and authority to cause change can rapidly change their perception about themselves and their role in the society with many effects for the broader community. At this point the U.K needs a more informed and empowered public to create a strong relationship and citizen trust for effective services to the public. The ability to access and respond promptly to citizen needs by the government can help to create better decisions and risk mitigation thus leading to quality services and efficient social welfare (Mickoleit, 2015).Information accessibility can also help to create an active media that informs the voters and compels politicians to thrive in accountability.


Open government is an ancient concept which aims at connecting citizens to the government for direct involvement in public affairs. This strategy constitutes of three pillars namely openness, accountability and transparency. Despite variations in the definition of this term, evidence shows that quality implementation of the same prevents loss of revenue through graft and other illegal activities hence holding as it restores public trust.




Dunleavy P., Margetts H., Bastow s., &Tinkler, J. (2005). New Public Management Is Dead—Long Live Digital-Era Governance.Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, September, 8. ,

Gravelin K., Burall S., & Wilson R.  (2009). Open Government: beyond static measures. Involve, July 19.

Mergel Ines (2013). Social media adoption and resulting tactics in the U.S. federal government. Government information quarterly, April, 13.

Mickoleit Arthur (2015). Social Media Use by Governments: A Policy Primer to Discuss Trends, Identify Policy Opportunities and Guide Decision Makers. OCD working papers on governance, March, 16.

Open Government Partnership (2013). Open Government Partnership – UK 2013 Draft National Action Plan: “From Open Data to Open Government.” OGP, June 27.

Pradhan Sanjay (2009), An Open Government Approach to Rebuilding Citizen Trust Open government partnership.

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