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Opinion - The importance of proactive disclosure of information

2022-10-07  Staff Reporter

Opinion - The importance of proactive disclosure of information

Annelie Tjimbandi

Access to public service information guarantees accessibility and transparency of the services being delivered. The right to access government-held information is a critical component of democracy and a foundational pillar for effective governance and service delivery.

Therefore, obtaining information inherently improves government transparency, which can enable the public to participate meaningfully in official decision-making and hold government actors accountable for their decisions.

Information-sharing and knowledge are indispensable within Offices, Ministries and Agencies (OMAs) involved in the delivery of public services to facilitate work environment setup empathy while improving accountability and transparency in service delivery. Information proficiencies empower data in the delivery of holistic services, sharing resource-related documents to facilitate the whole government response to a neophyte.

This evolution allows organisational revolution for public administrations, providing transparent and accountable information in quality service delivery.

The information that is free to the public enhances not only transparency but also national consultation and participation of the voting mass at the same time indirectly augmenting teamwork in democratic processes.

This is a powerful tool that motivates social progression while fostering creativity and innovation within the public service.

All in all, it is necessary for the public sector to continuously review and re-engineer its processes to improve policymaking as well as enhance legitimacy and openness toward its stakeholders.

Open public knowledge may contribute to establishing a collaboration and participation culture among the main stakeholders.  The main focus is to deliver transparent services while strengthening effective collaboration between stakeholders.  Being open about government information increases disclosure and enhances citizen participation in government decision-making.  Indeed, it is a prevailing way to address overdue complex challenges.

Within modern government, approaching sharing of information could be best addressed explicitly to drive policies and strategies.

Since this competency is not conjoint with the traditional public administration and management, knowledge and information-sharing initiatives must overcome a range of technical, organisational, cultural and other barriers, which are generally difficult to overcome.

OMAs deliver public services, based on service-related information and knowledge maintained and processed by its different departments, making knowledge and information sharing critical for governments to effectively discharge their responsibilities.

In the current recessionary world economy, stakeholders require strategic national planning to ensure efficacy, transparency, responsiveness, participation and inclusion in the delivery of public services.  Public administration has actively engaged in pursuing to be more accountable to citizens, efficient and cost-effective as well as to provide greater public access to information.  The importance of proactive disclosure of information involves the need to inform the public about products and services at their disposal as well as to know their democratic rights and obligations, to participate actively in decision-making processes and to access government services.  The uptake and thrust behind transparency and accessibility have grown, significantly bridging governments and civil society to improve openness to public service information.  It places the government in a better position for effective governance and the social progression of public resources while building a strong foundation for efficacy through transparency and accessibility.

Public services will achieve better results for the country at large through both foreign and local investment, and civil society and also accomplish superior collaboration with the citizens.

Openness in information is built on robust and inclusive collaboration between stakeholders to allow for better understanding and response to citizens’ true needs.   Furthermore, it constructs the platform for governments and citizens to build trust with each other and work together in co-creating creativity and innovative solutions to common challenges.

This places them in better positions to promote inclusive growth, enhance stakeholder participation, create more transparent and open processes, create more stable conditions to incentivise private investment and open up public contracts – many of which are implemented by the private sector.  Benefits of knowledge and information sharing  Reliable information sharing is the foundation of any institution; therefore, it builds trust among stakeholders and civil society at large.  Information sharing overlays two-way communication from the public service, seeking feedback from the stakeholders, and the stakeholders reacting upon the information.

This way, the public would know the government is listening to their needs.

Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Quora, WhatsApp and YouTube are wonderful tools of social media platforms that could be used by the public service to proactively share information with the public in the digital age that we live in but, above all, we need to adopt and own technology.

Social media platforms are global communication enablers that act as vacuums for distributing information instantly; therefore, security information authentication and source trustworthiness needs to be affirmed.   It can help in sharing online information, announcing an upcoming event, live streaming of meetings and also online communicating policy changes.  It is crucial for the public service to have a website so that the public can find all the contact details of the different departments within the OMAs.

This will enable the creation of searchable directories that empower a culture of transparency through the ability to publish information with a click of a button while ensuring quick access to the latest information versions.  The bottom line  If you aim to boost accountability and transparency in government, sharing crucial information and knowledge with the community should top your list of priorities.

Making this information quick and easy to find and getting your whole city on the same page will go a long way in building trust, demonstrating integrity and boosting confidence in government.

2022-10-07  Staff Reporter

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