The WJP Rule of Law Index defines open government as a government that shares information, fosters citizen participation in decision-making, and empowers people with tools to hold the government accountable. The WJP Open Government Index seeks to embody these outcomes within a simple and coherent framework to measure the extent to which countries attain these outcomes in practice by means of performance indicators.
The WJP Open Government Index is organized around four dimensions:
- Publicized Laws and Government Data
- Right to Information
- Civic Participation
- Complaint Mechanisms
Each of these dimensions is disaggregated into several components that capture different aspects of each concept. These four dimensions are described in detail below, and a full list of variables measured in each dimension is provided in the Methodology section at the end of the report.
Publicized Laws and Government Data
The first dimension of the WJP Open Government Index measures whether basic laws and information on legal rights are publicly available, presented in plain language, and are made accessible in all languages used by significant segments of the population. This dimension also measures the quality and accessibility of information published by the government in print or online (i.e. active transparency), and whether administrative regulations, drafts of legislation, administrative decisions, and high court decisions are made accessible to the public in a timely manner.
Right to Information
The second dimension measures whether requests for information held by a government agency are granted (assuming the information is a public record). It also measures if these requests are granted within a reasonable time period, if the information provided is pertinent and complete, and if requests for information are granted at a reasonable cost and without having to pay a bribe. This dimension also measures whether people are aware of their right to information, and whether relevant records – such as budget figures of government officials, ombudsman reports, and information relative to community projects – are accessible to the public upon request.
The third dimension measures the effectiveness of civic participation mechanisms, including the protection of the freedoms of opinion and expression, and assembly and association, and the right to petition the government. It also measures whether people can voice concerns to various government officers and members of the legislature, and whether government officials provide sufficient information and notice about decisions affecting the community, including opportunities for citizen feedback.
The fourth dimension measures whether people are able to bring specific complaints to the government about the provision of public services or the performance of government officers in carrying out their legal duties in practice, and how government officials respond to such complaints. It also measures whether people can challenge government decisions before another government agency or a judge.