Kundra, Chopra say most open-government plans need more work

Transportation, NASA and HHS get 'green flag' on transparency plans

The Health and Human Services and Transportation departments and NASA are the only three government organizations with plans that met all the requirements of the Obama administration's open-government directive, according to the first assessment of all agencies' road maps.

Agencies and departments released their transparency road maps earlier this month and administration officials have been working with those organizations to evaluate them against the directive, released last December.

Although administration officials found the open government plans of Transportation, HHS and NASA achieved the requirements and took steps that might serve as models for other agencies, governmentwide the situation was more mixed.

All cabinet departments and major agencies submitted plans that “make significant strides towards open government as called for in the directive,” Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra and Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra wrote on the White House blog. However, the officials said the initial assessments show the government still has “much more work to do as we transition our overall efforts towards effective agency implementation.”

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Agencies release transparency road maps

Open-government groups set to score agencies' transparency plans

Officials scored the open government plans against a checklist of 30 criteria laid out in the directive. A green score for the plan means that an agency met all the criteria. Meanwhile, a yellow score indicates progress has been made but more work needs to be done to improve the plan.

Departments and agencies were also scored on the process in which they formulated the plan, and the transparency, participation, collaboration and flagship transparency program aspects of their plans.

The administration released the results in a dashboard that’s checkered with green and yellow. None of the organizations received a red for failing to meet expectations.

“There are important lessons to be learned not only from the government’s self-evaluation efforts, but also from the reviews and recommendations that we’re receiving from outside groups and individuals,” the officials wrote. “Some of the constructive criticisms are already being incorporated, while others are sparking new thoughts and approaches to how agencies are pressing forward with their initiatives.”

OpenTheGovernment.org, a coalition of outside advocates and experts, has also been scoring the road maps against the directive’s requirements and plans to release its evaluations April 30. Amy Bennett, a program associate with the group, called the dashboard is a great accountability tool.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader comments

Tue, May 4, 2010 Gary Portland, OR

"Open Government" efforts are a waste of time and money. The very things people want to see are the very things the government wants to hide. The rest is already available for the asking.

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