Agencies passed another important milestone of the Open Government Directive (OGD) on February 6 with the release of their Open Government Web pages, located at http://www.[agency].gov/open. These Web pages will be an integral part of creating the culture of open government that is the driving force behind the Directive.
By visiting an agency’s Open Government Web page, members of the public can follow the agency’s progress on the Directive and provide specific ideas (through online public dialogue sites) about how the agency can promote openness. Agencies must consider these public comments when developing their Open Government Plans, which will describe how they will improve transparency and integrate public participation and collaboration into their activities. The Plans, which are the cornerstone of the OGD, must be posted on each agency’s Open Government Web page for public comment by April 7.
February 6 also marked the deadline for the new Open Government Dashboard, where the White House will track and assess agencies’ progress in meeting the OGD deadlines. AALL and other open government groups are working with the White House to develop metrics to measure how well agencies are meeting their goals. On February 18, we signed on to an email to Todd Park, Chief Technology Officer at the Department of Health and Human Services, in response to “bonus criteria” he presented for scoring agency Open Government Plans. We had a number of suggestions for the basic content of agency Web sites, including that every agency should be required to have a comprehensive, well-maintained, and searchable archive of documents, including those that have been removed from the Web site. The email also suggested minimum criteria with which to judge agencies’ progress.
AALL has published a new Issue Brief that tracks and analyzes the progress agencies have made on the OGD so far. We will keep this Issue Brief updated as agencies continue meet the OGD’s ambitious goals.
[Posted by Emily Feldman]