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UK Cabinet Office Minister visits South Africa to attend Going Global and Open Government Partnership Meeting

By British High Commission Pretoria
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The UK Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, Rt. Hon Matt Hancock, is visiting South Africa where he attended the British Council Going Global event, an open forum for education world leaders to debate international higher and further education issues and challenges, at which the Minister delivered a keynote speech in conjunction with Dr Blade Nzimande, South African Minister for Higher Education and Training — see attached press release on the opening plenary session of Going Global. Mr Hancock will also attend the Open Government Partnership (OGP) steering committee meeting hosted by the South African Government as Chair of the OGP.

At Going Global, Mr Hancock highlighted UK contributions to collaboration and innovation in international education, speaking about the UK's commitment to globally enhance the reach and quality of higher education for all. At the OGP meeting, Mr Hancock joined Ministers from other countries to discuss their commitment to making governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens.

The UK is a world leader on open data, recently being ranked first in the world on the World Wide Web Foundation's Open Data Barometer. The UK government is committed to being the most open and transparent government in history - remaining at the forefront of a global transparency revolution that is changing governments for the better. The UK recently surpassed 27,000 datasets of published data on data.gov.uk. The UK was the first country to commit to a publicly available register of information about the real owners of companies and is a Lead Steward for the International Open Data Charter. This builds on the G8 Open Data Charter, with principles that for the release of open data that all governments can adopt. We are now working with civil society on the UK's third Open Government Action Plan to take our transparency plans even further.

The UK will host an international Anti-Corruption Summit on 12 May. As well as agreeing a package of actions to tackle corruption across the board, it will deal with issues including corporate secrecy, government transparency, the enforcement of international anti-corruption laws, and the strengthening of international institutions. This is the first summit of its kind, bringing together world leaders, business and civil society to agree a package of practical steps to expose corruption so there is nowhere to hide, punish the perpetrators and support those affected by corruption and drive out the culture of corruption wherever it exists.

Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, Matt Hancock, said:

“The UK is a leader on transparency. I'm proud to be in South Africa supporting this very important agenda. In the UK we are completely rethinking how we use and open up our data to benefit the citizens we serve. We are the most transparent government ever, using the best data to develop the best services for citizens. By releasing more data, we are also helping our companies prosper by create new services for the public such as apps to reduce travel time and every day we get better at publishing more data for businesses. Increasing openness and tackling corruption are two sides of the same coin. Corruption is a huge challenge. Next week the UK will host our first ever anti corruption summit where we will step up global action to expose, punish and drive out corruption in all walks of life.”

Notes for editors

Going Global

Held by the British Council, Going Global, now in its 12th year, is the largest open conference for higher education leaders. After great success in the Middle East (2013), Americas (2014) and London last year, we are bringing this leading forum to Africa for the first time. Going Global is expecting more than 800 VCs, Pro-VCs, Presidents, Rectors, Ministers and Chief Executives from around 75 countries including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, China and Ukraine. Speakers will include Dr Blade Nzimande, Minister for Higher Education and Her Excellency, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

Open Government Partnership

The Open Government Partnership was launched in 2011 to provide an international platform for domestic reformers committed to making their governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens. Since then, OGP has grown from 8 countries to 69 participating countries. In all of these countries, government and civil society are working together to develop and implement ambitious open government reforms. To become a member of OGP, participating countries must endorse a high-level Open Government Declaration, deliver a country action plan developed with public consultation, and commit to independent reporting on their progress going forward. South Africa is currently chairing the OGP, and the Africa Regional Meeting is taking place from 4 to 6 May.

London Anti-Corruption Summit

The London Summit in May 2016 will be the world's first international Anti-corruption Summit with the aim of stepping up international action to expose, punish and drive out corruption in all walks of life. Over forty countries are expected to attend with fifteen leaders confirmed so far. The 2016 Summit will bring together leaders from across the world, and focus on international action to meet the following key objectives: deterring corruption; ending impunity for those who commit corruption; and supporting and empowering those who have suffered from it.

Minister Hancock

The Minister for the Cabinet Office has overall responsibility for the policy and work of the department. Responsibilities include: public sector efficiency and reform; digital transformation of government; civil service issues; industrial relations strategy in the public sector; government transparency; civil contingencies; civil society; cyber security; and UK statistics.