News item | 08-07-2022 | 15:00

    The Open Government Act (Woo) came into effect on 1 May 2022. With this new law, an important step has been taken towards a more open government. De Woo increases everyone’s access to government information, promotes active disclosure and updates the rules for openness and publicity. Minister Bruins Slot of the Interior and Kingdom Relations will inform the Senate and House of Representatives about the progress of the implementation of the Woo.

    The minister writes, among other things, that the cabinet is taking additional measures to improve the processing of information requests (Woo requests). The government is already investing heavily in improving information management throughout the government with the generic action plan Open op Order. In addition, additional measures should shorten the processing time for Woo requests. For example, departments receive extra help to handle complicated Woo requests and new ICT tooling is used to search, duplicate and anonymize very large amounts of information. Various measures have also been initiated to better store information at the front, so that finding information at the back is made easier. Finally, the ministries are committed to (further) expansion of the capacity for processing Woo requests. However, the minister emphasizes that this is a complex problem with various causes and therefore cannot be solved overnight.

    More than a thousand government bodies will offer their information through the joint platform open.overheid.nl. That is why an implementation strategy has been worked out together with ministries, implementing organizations and umbrella organizations of local and regional authorities (VNG, UvW, IPO). From the beginning of 2023, more and more information will be made accessible in phases and step by step from the beginning of 2023. As of 1 May 2022, the Council of State will already publish its advice via Advice – Council of State. The Advisory Board on Openness and Information Management, chaired by Ineke van Gent, will advise on the implementation of the Woo. The first two members of the Advisory Board have now been announced: Amma Asante (public administration) and Martin Berendse (ICT and archival science).

    Finally, the minister informs both Houses of the implementation of various commitments that have been made. For example, the minister has indicated that from 2023, the Central Government Annual Operations Report (JBR) will report on the handling of Woo requests. The government expects to receive the results of an international comparative law study in mid-September.

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