Global Open Government Partnership gets mixed forecasts

As the United States prepares to co-launch a global partnership for government transparency, advocates weigh in with suggestions for priorities while critics warn of risks.

Senior government officials from the United States and Brazil, the co-chairing countries, will officially start the Open Government Partnership at a United Nations event Sept. 20. Each of the eight countries that are initial partners is expected to unveil an open-government plan. More countries are thought to be seeking membership.

The partnership has drawn increasing attention, with transparency being touted as a way to reduce corruption, increase trust in government and lower costs. The partnership seeks to support a broad range of innovative practices offered by governments around the world.

“For the U.S. as well as the other participants, the Open Government Partnership has been an impetus to action for transparency,” wrote Gavin Baker, federal information policy analyst at OMB Watch, in a blog entry posted Sept. 1. “The national plan to be released in September is an important opportunity for the [Obama] administration to expand on its progress in strengthening open government in order to empower Americans and build a better democracy.”


Related story:

Clinton kicks off open-government partnership


OMB Watch submitted suggestions for the forthcoming plan, which included improving federal websites and Data.gov with common data formats and identifiers, strengthening records management, and increasing disclosure.

Meanwhile, there's been some pushback. Andrea Di Maio, a vice president at Gartner Research, said the countries involved are at different levels in terms of their open-government priorities, making common goals unclear.

“Even looking at the two co-chairs — U.S. and Brazil — differences are striking in terms of pace of growth, level of development, attitude toward IT sourcing,” Di Maio wrote in a Sept. 6 blog entry.

He also warned against the global partnership being used to advance vendor or country agendas.

The risk “is that leading countries tend to showcase their approaches, which are almost automatically taken as best practices,” Di Maio wrote. “But what is a best practice for a federal agency in the U.S. or a large city in the U.K. may be either irrelevant or even counterproductive in a place like Moldova or Albania, just to name two.”

Also, some of the pressure to adopt open-government practices is coming from technology vendors for commercial reasons, he added.

“Of course, it is early to say whether and how the joint governance mechanism in the Open Government Partnership will prevent such risks, but it is important for all participants to be acutely aware of those,” he said.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

The 2015 Federal 100

Meet 100 women and men who are doing great things in federal IT.

Featured

  • Shutterstock image (by venimo): e-learning concept image, digital content and online webinar icons.

    Can MOOCs make the grade for federal training?

    Massive open online courses can offer specialized IT instruction on a flexible schedule and on the cheap. That may not always mesh with government's preference for structure and certification, however.

  • Shutterstock image (by edel): graduation cap and diploma.

    Cybersecurity: 6 schools with the right stuff

    The federal government craves more cybersecurity professionals. These six schools are helping meet that demand.

  • Rick Holgate

    Holgate to depart ATF

    Former ACT president will take a job with Gartner, follow his spouse to Vienna, Austria.

  • Are VA techies slacking off on Yammer?

    A new IG report cites security and productivity concerns associated with employees' use of the popular online collaboration tool.

  • Shutterstock image: digital fingerprint, cyber crime.

    Exclusive: The OPM breach details you haven't seen

    An official timeline of the Office of Personnel Management breach obtained by FCW pinpoints the hackers’ calibrated extraction of data, and the government's step-by-step response.

  • Stephen Warren

    Deputy CIO Warren exits VA

    The onetime acting CIO at Veterans Affairs will be taking over CIO duties at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

  • Shutterstock image: monitoring factors of healthcare.

    DOD awards massive health records contract

    Leidos, Accenture and Cerner pull off an unexpected win of the multi-billion-dollar Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization contract, beating out the presumptive health-records leader.

  • Sweating the OPM data breach -- Illustration by Dragutin Cvijanovic

    Sweating the stolen data

    Millions of background-check records were compromised, OPM now says. Here's the jaw-dropping range of personal data that was exposed.

  • FCW magazine

    Let's talk about Alliant 2

    The General Services Administration is going to great lengths to gather feedback on its IT services GWAC. Will it make for a better acquisition vehicle?

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above