The Open Government Initiative is a good governance doctrine fashioned by President Ernest Bai Koroma at the onset of his administration in 2008. On this foundation of good governance, he framed the open government initiative as the open channel of communication between Government and the people.
OGI aims to establish an enabling environment or develop a culture of democracy where citizens can have dialogue with their government with regard to national policies that directly affect their lives.OGI also aims at building national structures that will be sustainable or serve as a catalyst for good governance and democracy.
The Values of Open Government Initiative
In a global environment in which development of new technologies continue and an increasingly connected and engaged population in social media circles both at home and abroad, it becomes imperative in growing democracies like Sierra Leone for leaders to adopt open government practices that will promote transparency, citizen involvement, and alliances. In order to change how government works, provide more effective government services and establish a more robust democracy, the OGI suggests the following open government principles for adoption .
Government is committed to transparency and accountability.
- Government should adopt policies, practices, and procedures that allow citizens to have access to understandable, accurate, reusable, and auditable data and information about government operations and decision making (with updates available as they are mad e, whenever possible).
- MDAs should use new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online.
- MDAs should also seek public feedback to identify information of greatest use to the public.
- Government should operate under a presumption of openness and accessibility, while also maintaining privacy, confidentiality, security and compliance with all relevant laws.
These policies, practices, and procedures will increase accountability, promote informed public participation, and create economic development opportunities.
Government is committed to meaningful public participation.
- Government believes members of the public have a valuable role in governing their communities and should have opportunities to take part in decision making opportunities.
- Government supports establishing guidelines and practices that will enable the public to contribute opinions and ideas regarding political, economic, management, and other decisions using a variety of methods, as conveniently as possible for citizens.
These guidelines and practices will create more informed and effective policies, enhance and expand opportunities for the public to participate throughout decision - making processes.
Government is committed to collaborating with the public and across MDAs.
- Government should create opportunities to work jointly with individuals as well as public, non-profit, academic, and private sector groups to address the needs of the community.
- Government should also enhance and expand its cooperation among MDAs and other governmental agencies in order to more effectively fulfill their obligations to citizens.
- Citizens are equally encouraged to contribute their time and knowledge.
- Government will take steps to provide efficient and effective methods of participating and collaborating, and commits to incorporating citizen feedback into decision making processes
- Government is committed to sharing best practices and software and other resources within MDAs.
- Government supports collaborating with MDAs to share technology resources, lessons learned, and best practices; reform procurement practices, policies, and procedures; and learn to function not only as a provider of services but as a source for other government entities, the public, and other organizations to add value to the Government’s services.
Open Government Directive :
These commitments require that the Government create a legal framework that will institutionalize the principles of transparency, accountability, participation, and collaboration into the culture and work of MDAs. Therefore, the President shall establish a renewed Open Government Initiative to guide the implementation of the tenets of Open Government.
This strategy paper developed in conjunction with a majority of the 149 Chiefs or their representatives ,100 Village Headmen , 16 Tribal Heads and other government officials, a contingency of Civil Society and a cross section of the media, forms the basis on which such an initiative or directive will evolve .