About this Toolkit
This Toolkit to Open Government provides practical information and insights into how public decision-making works. It consists of the following ten guides.
Public Decision-Making A-Z
1. Policy-Making: Mapping how national polices are made, including plans and strategies, and key ways to influence them.
2. Public Spending: A primer on how public funds are raised and spent, focusing on how the annual Budget process works and how groups and citizens can campaign for Budget measures.
3. Law-Making: How laws are made and influenced and how to work with law makers to set agendas.
4. European Union: Practical guidance on how the EU makes laws that affects us, and opportunities for EU citizens to play a part in decision-making at EU level.
Putting Knowledge to Work
5. Finding Official Information: Key pointers on where to look for official information and how to put it to good use.
6. Freedom of Information: A step-by-step guide to requesting information from public bodies and how to make the most of your legal 'right to know’.
7. Open Data: A guide to open government data and how it can put power in the hands of citizens.
Engaging as Citizens
8. Citizens and the Environment: Setting out ways we can all play a part in decisions about our environment.
9. Local Government: How local government works and how to get involved in your city or county council.
10. Citizen Watchdogs: Outlining key ways citizens can work to improve public life and services.
About the guides
Each guide contains the same section headings: What It Is; How it Works; Do-It-Yourself; and Resources.
Most of the guides also have a section called People's Stories. These are case studies highlighting some of the ways that Irish civil society groups and individuals are using open government tools to promote their causes.
To help you further your knowledge, the guides include suggestions for additional reading, as well as useful external links and contacts depending on your area of activity.
A Glossary lists key terms used, and their definition.
We have designed these guides as online resources so that they can be updated and expanded. We hope you will find them useful.
We welcome feedback and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
TASC also provides training on some of the topics covered by the Toolkit guides. Find out about training workshops.
TASC would like to thank the many contributors who played an important part producing these Toolkit guides.
They are: Ita Mangan, Kevin O'Kelly and Senan Turnbull. In addition, a large number of reviewers provided feedback on draft material. They are: Dominic Byrne, Michael Ewing, Peter Feeney, David Healy, Francis Jacobs, Deirdre Lee, Pat Nolan, Dave Nutley, Joe O'Brien, Gavin Sheridan, Muiris McCarthaigh, Maeve McDonagh, Brian McKevitt, Nora Owen, Anna Visser, David Waddell, Brid Quinn, and officials at the Office of the Information Commissioner. Thanks also to Angela Long for expert copy-editing.
TASC's former director, Dr Nat O'Connor, as well as staff members Cormac Staunton and Sylvia Byrne provided ongong input and feedback.
TASC's internal Policy Committee extensively reviewed draft material and provided useful advice and suggestions. They are: Paula Clancy (TASC Board member), Proinsias de Rossa (Chair, TASC's Board), Paul Sweeney (Chair, TASC's Economists' Network).