We don’t have a written constitution, but a tradition and knowledge passed down. With a permanent Civil Service, it is they who are charged with maintaining that, politically neutral, informed service.
The work Puffles has started on twitter to begin join up campaigners with an understanding of the policy process is a start. But it’s a massive job, that needs to be supported from multiple angles.
If you’re based in the US, there’s legal clarity in (almost) all directions. [Carl Malamud][http://public.resource.org] has done fantastic work based on the lack of copyright on US Government work. This is now something that the UK has now made possible with the Open Government Licence.
The new Judgemental.org.uk and the long-running OKFN have been working in areas. But unlike the US, that’s not quite how the UK works. Spotify – possibly apocryphally – launched because the founder went for a pint with the right people who agreed not to shut them down for a while to see what happened and whether they could make it work.
The UK is like that. A dear (partially-)American friend was looking for a good overview of How The UK Works, and didn’t feel she got it until the Queen became involved (as a legal entity, not in the conversation). I’d love to see the writeup of that understanding. I suspect it would fill a number of holes in my assumptions & knowledge of how everything relates to everything else.
But in the absence of that explanation (probably phrased in terms of the Muppet Show), and even when we get it, that’s probably not how it should work.
But as the OGL kicks in, the scope to FoI all the docs for training civil servants (if you’ve ever wondered how thye got that way, you can find out), and then do something interesting with them online becomes greater.