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IRELAND: Watt says reform of public sector should focus on transparency

IRELAND: Watt says reform of public sector should focus on transparency

The damaged relationship between the State and the public needs to be restored through transparency and openness, the secretary general of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has said.

Robert Watt said areas such as freedom of information, whistle blowing, lobbying, andOireachtas enquiries needed to be addressed. At an event this morning he told members of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce that lobbying was a critical part of policy formation but the process required greater transparency.

He added that this was intended to improve accountability, not to “prevent sensible engagement with the system”. A “culture change” was required within the public sector, which has lacked accountability and has been prone to risk aversion, he said. Read more

Dan Griffin | The Irish Times | 16th May 2013

DENMARK: Thousands demonstrate against freedom of information act

The sunny weather yesterday brought up to 2,000 people to Christiansborg to take part in a demonstration against the government’s controversial freedom of information act (offentlighedslov) proposal, which many say will reduce transparency and limit access to governmental information.

Among the speakers were a number of prominent journalists, youth party leaders and some of the organisers behind the demonstration. Anders Højsted, a Radikale board member from the Nørrebro district in Copenhagen who has been instrumental in raising awareness to the issue by launching the ‘Nej tak til den nye offentlighedslov’ on Facebook, was pleased with the turnout.

“A petition [against the offentlighedslov] has now reached over 80,000 people and while a petition doesn’t necessarily influence politicians, every time we reach another 1,000 signatures, the journalists have something to write about and that, in turn, gives us more attention and more opposition to the law proposal,” Højsted said. Read more

Christian Wenande | The Copenhagen Post | 16th May 2013

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