When planning to publish to IATI, an organisation should consider taking the following steps:
- Preparing your organisation
- 1. Understand the wider impacts of transparency
- 2. Assess the potential risks of transparency
- 3. Prepare the case for IATI publishing
- 4. Gain senior management backing
- 5. Get key external stakeholder agreement
- 6. Create your project team and/or IATI champion
- 7. Establish IATI publishing as a permanent business function
- 8. Prepare a post-publication communications plan
- 9. Create your unique IATI Organisation Identifier
- 10. Notify IATI of your intent to publish
Publishing data to IATI is not simply about sharing information but an opportunity to increase the openness of the whole organisation. Lessons from organisations that have already published show that integrating IATI and other transparency measures within the organisation’s practices can increase its success and the impact it can have.
In order to drive this process, there is often value in creating an Open Information Policy for the whole organisation to help identify all sources of information that can be made public.
Further information resources about creating an Open Information Policy are available:
- DFID guidance on exclusions - https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B32cSl_hOcDjTzdTVFlPZGpWYXc/edit?usp=sharing
- DFID exclusions template - https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B32cSl_hOcDjalJqWWlCeDRVMW8/edit?usp=sharing
- Bond Guidance - Developing an Open Information Policy: Guidance for NGOs - https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B32cSl_hOcDjRXdiTlRHZnRVUEk/edit?usp=sharing
- General Open Data Information - http://www.saidia.org/open
Also these are examples of NGO open information policies:
It is important to assess and mitigate the risks of moving to a more transparent culture. As a result your organisation:
- May be subject to much closer scrutiny of its work and financial management;
- Must properly assess the potential security implications of publishing data related to activities that may be sensitive due to their sector/type or location;
- Should accept that a financial investment may be required in order to establish a new permanent business function for IATI publishing, or the addition of this responsibility to an existing staff member.
There are many benefits for your organisation of publishing information about the work you do to IATI. Those benefits include:
- Improving the organisation’s external profile by committing to IATI. Organisations can become more accountable and build trust with their stakeholders (donors, beneficiaries, taxpayers or members of the public), by sharing more information on their activities and financial transactions;
- Communicating about the work you do. IATI provides another channel and opportunity for you to inform a global audience about the ambition and successes of your interventions;
- Improving internal organisational processes and systems. Publishing to IATI can provide a driver to organisations to improve the data they are exposing to external stakeholders;
- Improving inter-agency collaboration. Publishing better data on projects, in line with organisations who are doing similar work, can improve coordination and collaboration between agencies to reduce duplication of effort and resources;
- Reduce opportunities for corruption. Openly publishing financial data makes it much harder to hide inappropriate payments or expenditure;
- Addressing political pressures. Transparency and openness are now central to policy discussions in government and IATI is a way of delivering on commitments of openness and improving accountability.
It is important to gain buy in from the Senior Management Team or senior decision-makers at the beginning of the process as it is likely that publishing will require resources from multiple areas of the organisation. Senior Managers must endorse both the inherent risks and the operational benefits of a more transparent operation.
Publishing to IATI data is not simply about sharing information but an opportunity to increase the openness of the whole organisation. Lessons from organisations that have already published have shown that integrating IATI and other transparency measures within the organisations practices increases its success and the impact it can have.
The information your organisation publishes may be derived from information provided by any number of its key external stakeholders. It is therefore important to make sure that any such stakeholders are happy for your organisation to publish information that relates to them.
As part of the process for implementing IATI sustainably within an organisation, many organisations take the approach of forming a working group, in order to bring together all the relevant parts of the organisation. In most situations this group should be formed early in the process of working on IATI implementation, to integrate the ideas and practical plans for publishing IATI data. Also, identify from within the group an individual within the organisation who will take the lead on IATI publishing as the IATI champion.
Areas involved in the IATI process may include one or more of the following:
- Communications and Marketing
The project team should also create and maintain a time lined plan for both initial and subsequent regular publication of data.
IATI publishing is not a one-off activity but must be repeated on a regular basis. Therefore this may require creating new roles and responsibilities, new business processes and updates to existing job descriptions may be needed.
Once your organisation has published who do you want to tell? Some organisations create a specific web page that includes information about IATI and the commitment to transparency that the organisation has made. Should news of publications also be distributed via social media and e-newsletters etc. You need to decide what mediums you want to use to inform your stakeholders about having published.
Some examples of organisations that have created specific IATI pages on their website are: - Oxfam - http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/our-work/methods-approaches/open-information - African Development Bank - http://www.afdb.org/en/topics-and-sectors/topics/quality-assurance-results/afdb-and-iati/iati-data/ - Cordaid - https://www.cordaid.org/en/open-data/ - CDC Group - http://www.cdcgroup.com/disclosure-transparency.aspx
Every organisation that publishes to IATI has its own unique identifier. Create your organisation’s identifier by following the instructions at Organisation Identifiers. If you are still unsure about what your identifier should be then please ask when you contact the IATI support team
Once the project team and plan are in place it is helpful to notify the IATI Technical Support team (see Getting publishing help for contact details) of your organisation’s intent and your estimate for initial publishing. Also provide IATI with the name of the organisational Point of Contact for IATI matters (usually the person involved with day to day publishing).