News from the initiative

Update on the Transparency and Accountability Initiative


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The Transparency and Accountability Initiative (T/AI) has been in a year-long transition process, and we are excited to share several important updates.
First, T/AI is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Executive Director, Michael Jarvis. Michael will already be well known to many within this community for his superb work at the World Bank over the past ten years, most recently heading their extractives governance practice and helping to develop and launch what is now an independent initiative known as the Open Contracting Partnership.  T/AI’s members are delighted to have Michael at the helm of this initiative, as we seek to further enhance the collaborative’s reach and impact in the years ahead. Michael will officially start his new role with T/AI on May 9, 2016, and can be reached at in the meantime.
Second, since its launch T/AI has been fiscally sponsored and physically hosted by the Open Society Foundations’ UK office. As of April 1st, 2016, we have transitioned T/AI to a new, US-based fiscal sponsor called the Proteus Fund, which will host the entity from now on. T/AI will relocate its offices to Washington, D.C., and Michael will be assembling a small DC-based team to support T/AI’s work beginning this summer.
Finally, as many of you know, T/AI took the opportunity of its recent five-year anniversary to reflect seriously on its operations and impact to date. We are proud of the achievements of T/AI and wish to take this moment to recognize the contributions of all our staff and partners since 2010, including particular thanks to Brendan Halloran for so ably holding the fort as Acting ED during this transition period. In a fast evolving field, we felt it important to reassess our strategy as a donor collaborative going forward. In March 2016, T/AI steering committee members along with the new Executive Director participated in a week-long retreat in Tarrytown, New York. We agreed on a pathway forward for T/AI for the next five years that includes a focus on strategic alignment of grant making, improved donor coordination and networking, an intensive focus on learning, and a continued flexible response capacity to help the field seize emerging opportunities. Importantly, T/AI will place new emphasis on helping donor members more strategically reflect on the impact of our own grant making practices, and how we can adjust our ways of working to better support the field.
One of Michael’s first tasks when he starts in May will be to take the donors’ outline vision for a new T/AI — including a set of specific long term goals related to global financial architecture, open data and privacy, learning and civic space —and transform it into a concrete work plan that benefits from the insights and wisdom of T/AI’s longstanding partners in the field. Michael will be reaching out to you to this summer to share more information on T/AI’s emerging agenda and solicit feedback. He will also be able to share some inputs created for the strategy review that may be of broader interest, including an evaluation of T/AI’s first five years and a series of forward looking think pieces from a variety of experts, kindly curated by Tom Carothers, Vice President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
In the meantime, we know many of you have wondered what will happen to some of T/AI’s existing efforts, including TABRIDGE, TALEARN and the Opening Government Guide. TABRIDGE will be wound down in its current iteration. For TALEARN, we are in discussion with several actors interested to cultivate this community of practice in some form going forward. In parallel, we have committed ourselves as donors to further strengthening the global learning infrastructure for the transparency and accountability field overall as part of the revamped T/AI.  We hope that the Opening Government Guide can continue to be updated as a public good, and are actively exploring options for its organizational home. We will keep the community updated as plans evolve.
The field has been very patient as T/AI sorts out its future over the past year, and we are grateful for your continued patience as we finalize the ongoing transitions and re-launch ourselves this summer with new leadership, a new vision and renewed commitment to amplifying our positive impact as donors.
Thank you for your support and we look forward to working closely with you in the months and years to come!
Julie McCarthy and Martin Tisné, T/AI Co-Chairs, on behalf of the T/AI Steering Committee

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