Administration names Open Gov working group

The group is working on the issues of transparency and participation by the federal government.

The Obama administration has named 34 senior administration officials to lead its Open Government Working Group.

The officials represent different agencies and include chief information officers, chief operations officers, chief management officers and numerous other job titles, according to a Feb. 5 Open Government Blog post on WhiteHouse.gov.

The group is working on the issues of transparency, accountability, participation and collaboration by the federal government. More specifically, the group’s job is to develop best practices and find innovative ideas to push openness and accountability while interacting more with the public. The group also will help agencies carry out the government's mandates for transparency in their spending data, according to the blog.

To track their own spending, 36 agencies designated Senior Accountable Officials (SAOs) to be responsible for the quality and objectivity of their agency's federal spending information. They also are tasked with making sure their information conforms to the Office of Management and Budget’s guidance on information quality and that their agency has adequate processes to make the information meet those standards, the blog states.

The Open Government Directive, which the Obama administration unveiled in December 2009, pushes agencies to unlock their information and post it online. The directive requires agencies to take immediate steps to achieve specific milestones. For instance, every federal agency must publish at least three high-value datasets online for the public to see. They also have to launch an open-government Web page and draw up plans on how the agency will improve both its transparency efforts and public participation.

The directive is based on President Barack Obama's demand to make the government less secretive.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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