Open Government Initiative Blog
- Posted byon March 14, 2012 at 5:30 PM EDT
As part of Sunshine Week, I want to take the opportunity to update you on one of the commitments made by the President as part of our Open Government Partnership National Action Plan. On November 28, 2011, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum entitled “Managing Government Records” to begin an Executive Branch-wide effort to reform records management policies and practices. This is the first time since the Truman Administration that this level of White House attention has been focused on the records of our country, and I am taking it very seriously.
- Posted byon March 12, 2012 at 11:52 AM EDT
This week is Sunshine Week, a joint project of the American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Held in mid-March, Sunshine Week is a national initiative to promote discussion about the importance of open government and freedom of information.
The theme of this year’s Sunshine Week is “Put Sunshine in Your Government,” and so now is an appropriate time to reflect on the Obama Administration’s strong commitment to open government over the past three years, and more particularly to provide an update on implementation of the U.S. National Action Plan on Open Government.
President Obama unveiled the National Plan in September 2011, as part of the United States’ commitment as a founding member of the Open Government Partnership – a global effort to promote more transparent, effective, and accountable governance in countries around the world.
- Posted byon February 14, 2012 at 2:08 PM EDT
The Obama Administration’s innovation agenda is aimed at finding, testing, and scaling new ideas that change the way government conducts business and delivers services through engagement with the American people. An innovative government incorporates an entrepreneurial mindset into its daily work – taking risks, building lean organizations, and developing innovative products and services faster than the rest of the world.
- Posted byon January 25, 2012 at 11:57 AM EDT
This past weekend saw three amazing open government events take place in both Washington, DC and New York City.
On Saturday, the Transportation Camp held its annual “unconference” in Washington, DC. An unconference is a more open version of a traditional conference, allowing participants the opportunity to help shape the structure and format of the day’s events. This year’s Transportation Camp, which was organized by OpenPlans, Mobility Lab, and Greater Greater Washington, hosted several hundred citizens, students, developers, businesses, and local and Federal government employees. Discussion focused on ways to engage citizens in decisions affecting transportation issues – including ways to better use bike shares open data. In addition, citizens and city officials brainstormed on ways to increase access to public transportation for all users, including those with limited mobility. And developers leveraged city and Federal datasets—ssome via the Federal platform Data.gov—inin addition to data provided by businesses like Capital Bike Share, to create platforms and services that help citizens make more informed decisions related to their commute.
- Posted byon January 23, 2012 at 10:21 AM EDT
Last Wednesday, we joined Dr. Jill Biden at the Code for America headquarters, a non-profit startup that has attracted dozens of civic-minded software developers spending a year building new products and services – powered, in part, by open government data – to improve the lives of everyday Americans.
- Posted byon December 6, 2011 at 6:14 PM EDT
On September 20, 2011, on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly, the President announced the U.S. Open Government National Action Plan. The Plan was developed through a process that involved extensive consultations with external stakeholders, including a broad range of civil society groups and members of the private sector, to gather ideas on open government. As we continue our work to implement the National Action Plan, we want your help. Specifically, we’d like your input and recommendations on how to improve and help facilitate public participation – your participation – in government.
The United States committed to undertake 26 Open Government initiatives in the National Action Plan, and we are working to implement each of them now. For example, the White House recently announced that Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will be the senior U.S. official to lead implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, an effort to ensure that taxpayers receive every dollar due for extraction of our natural resources. A major milestone was also reached in the development of an open government platform that will enable governments around the world to stand up their own open government data sites. And just last week, the President fulfilled a commitment made in the National Action Plan to begin a government-wide effort to reform and modernize records management policies and practices.
We are now requesting your assistance with one of the initiatives in the U.S. National Action Plan designed to promote public participation:
Develop Best Practices and Metrics for Public Participation. We will identify best practices for public participation in government and suggest metrics that will allow agencies to assess progress toward the goal of becoming more participatory. This effort will highlight those agencies that have incorporated the most useful and robust forms of public participation in order to encourage other agencies to learn from their examples.”
Given the focus of this initiative, we thought it would be most appropriate to invite you to provide input and ideas on best practices and metrics for public participation, including but not limited to suggestions and recommendations that address the following questions:
- What are the appropriate measures for tracking and evaluating participation efforts in agency Open Government Plans?
- What should be the minimum standard of good participation?
- How should participation activities be compared across agencies with different programs, amounts of regulatory activity, budgets, staff sizes, etc.?
- What are the most effective forms of technology and web tools to encourage public participation, engage with the private sector/non-profit and academic communities, and provide the public with greater and more meaningful opportunities to influence agencies’ plans?
- What are possible mechanisms for agencies to increase the level of diversity of viewpoints and backgrounds brought to bear in their activities and decisions?
- What are the most effective strategies for ensuring that participation is well-informed?
- What are some examples of success stories involving strong public participation, as well as less-than-successful efforts, and what lessons can be drawn from them?
Please send your thoughts to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the web form provided, by January 3, 2012. We will consider your ideas and input as we continue to implement the U.S. National Action Plan and develop this best practices guidance on public participation.
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