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Sturgeon’s commitment to open government is at odds with her imposition on Scots of a rigid secrecy obsessed regime reminiscent of the Stasi

Sturgeon’s Commitment to open government

Sep 2016: The Open Government Partnership (OGP) was launched in 2011 to provide an international platform for those committed to making governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens. In each member country, government and civil society are working together on government reforms which ensure people can see, understand, participate in and influence the workings of government and to hold government to account. Until now all of the action has been on governments eligible for full United Nations membership. Each ‘subnational’ pioneer involved is not a full member country, but does have a substantially devolved legislature. During its Pioneer year, Scotland will be able to work directly with the OGP, sharing learning with the other Pioneer Governments, as well as learning from the wider international OGP community. The Scottish Government is working in partnership with civil society to create an open government movement in Scotland. More here (http://www.opengovpartnership.org/how-it-works/subnational-government-pilot-program)

United Nations Sponsors Open Government Partnerships

Scotland is one of 15 pioneer members of the Open Government Partnership’s inaugural International Subnational Government Programme. This places Scotland in the world spotlight on its commitments to democracy, human rights and how it engages its citizens. Scotland was chosen because of its commitment to Open Government reforms‎, including community empowerment and improvements in democracy.

In committing to the programme the Scottish Government established itself as one of the “global leading light in the campaign for more open and accessible government” in partnership with all branches and interests in Scottish society to create an open government movement in Scotland. In a statement, Parliamentary Business Minister Joe Fitzpatrick welcomed the new status, which places Scotland as a leading pioneer state of the world, saying:

“Scotland’s involvement in this programme holds us as a government up to the light over our promises to be honest, transparent and reachable. “Nicola Sturgeon has already committed us to being ‘an outward looking Government … more open and accessible to Scotland’s people than ever before’. This pioneer status puts us on the world stage and gives us the opportunity to really prove ourselves. More than any of this, it gives us the motivation to continue to be a beacon of good government, the kind that Scotland truly deserves. Our action plan will show clear commitments to making Government in Scotland more open, accountable and responsive. We are working with people from all walks of life to shape and create Scotland’s OGP agenda, increase awareness of the benefits of open government and the importance of increasing democracy and participation. This is a huge learning opportunity, allowing us to highlight our strengths and share our own learning and to create a clear story about how Scotland is reforming government and public services, and the impact this has – from the streets of our towns to the United Nations.” (https://www.gov.scot/news/world-leaders-on-openness-and-transparency)

(https://www.gov.scot/publications/open-government-partnership-scottish-action-plan/pages/2/)

Not so open government

Parliamentary convention requires the timeous announcement of changes to numbers and/or duties of “Special Advisers”, rather than a reliance on on Twitter or little accessed website updates. The social grapevine is no place for government announcements but it appears the Scottish government quickly beats a retreat from openness and accessibility where it concerns Special Advisers. I wonder why? (https://jamesmcenaney.co.uk/2018/11/03/sensitive-scotgov-documents-cast-new-light-on-spads-foi-role/#lizlloyd)

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Example: Added costs of Lloyd’s soirees abroad with Sturgeon: Nice for some!!! 

8 Jun 2018: “Special Adviser” expenses and travel and subsistence costs (primarily Liz Lloyd)

The total cost of “Special Adviser” expenses and travel and subsistence costs for 2017/2018 was £26,029.40.

The figure includes expenses claimed through the Scottish Government iExpenses system and expenditure under the Scottish Government travel and accommodation contracts is broken down as follows:

iExpenses = £1,455 (sweeties etc.)

Hotel accommodation = £6,188.06

Travel = £18,386.34

The expenses were primarily incurred by “Special Advisers” supporting the First Minister and Scottish Ministers at events in other parts of the United Kingdom, including intergovernmental negotiations and on foreign visits to Europe and the United States of America taking forward the Scottish Government’s programme. Examples of such visits include:

Supporting the First Minister in New York and San Francisco on visits to discuss potential trade and investment opportunities for Scotland and to boost Scotland’s tourist industry;

Supporting the First Minister at a range of engagements associated with her attendance and speech to the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik;

Accompanying the First Minister to Dublin to meet with the new Taoiseach and engage with potential Irish investors at the Dublin Chamber of Commerce;

Supporting the First Minister when she addressed the COP21 Plenary in Bonn on behalf of the UNFCCC Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action Change;

Accompanying the First Minister to the British Irish Council in Jersey;

Supporting Ministers at meetings of the Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations in London and in Cardiff;

Supporting Ministers in London at the Devolved Administrations’ meeting with the Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs;

Supporting Ministers in London at the Joint Ministerial Working Group on Welfare; and

Supporting Ministers at the Confederation of the Highlands and Islands in Shetland.