NZ Government Carries Out Open and Transparent Policy Consultation about Open Source

• Written by Alanna Irving

paulstonePaul Stone, Programme Leader for Open Government Data at Land Information NZ, tells the story of how a consultation to develop a framework for consistent licensing of New Zealand Government open source software has been carried out successfully in an open and transparent manner.

The consultation differed from the usual submission process in that it was undertaken through online conversations where ideas could be considered, questions could be raised and consensus was much easier to reach. Loomio has been hugely useful in giving a read of opinion. Because of the two-way conversations, it enables open dialogue to take place and it made it much easier to identify a consensus.

We’ve had a great response with more than 30 people at senior levels in the information technology community actively participating. This would have been impossible to achieve under a more conventional approach. Many more people are watching the discussions to see how they unfold.

The whole consultation has been very much in the spirit of open source, where people collaborate to produce an outcome that benefits everyone.

See the details of the consultation on the public NZGOAL Loomio group.

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 10.40.38 AM.pngThe consultation considered proposals for consistent policy and guidelines that would extend the NZ Government Open Access and Licensing (NZGOAL) framework to cover open source software as well as government content and data.

During May, the policy document will continue to be revised online, transparently. This approach has been used successfully overseas for government ICT guidance co-creation; for example the US Digital Services Playbook. The online conversations that have taken place during the public consultation will inform this revision. Then there will be a final opportunity for people to comment on the final draft.

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Thinking of doing consultation online? Start your own Loomio group!

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