Open Gov: Who's late out of the gate?

A handful of agencies, including the departments of State and Veterans Affairs, are lagging behind the pack in releasing their open government plans.

businesspeople running track

It has been more than six weeks since the deadline for agencies to submit their 2014 open government plans has come and gone. Yet half a dozen agencies -- including the Office of Management and Budget and the departments of State and Veterans Affairs -- have still not released their outlines.

Three smaller agencies -- the Agency for International Development, Council on Environmental Quality and Office of National Drug Control Policy -- also have yet to release their 2014 plans.

The Open Government Directive established by the White House in 2010 requires agencies to submit biannual open government plans to the White House. The 2014 deadline was June 1.

As of July 8, 2014, when the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington published a list of agencies that were in compliance, the Small Business Administration and the Health and Human Services Department had also failed to release their plans. HHS posted its on July 10, and SBA followed on July 15.

More from FCW

A brief history of open data
From eight simple principles to today's vast ecosystem, here's what's happening -- and how to take full advantage.

The State Department said it too is close.

"The U.S. Department of State is committed to submitting an Open Government Plan which is thorough, informative, and complete," a State Department official told FCW. "We are currently working to ensure that this year's submission meets or exceeds all these expectations, and will have our formal submission ready to go in the near future."

OMB is a two-time offender, having failed to release any plan at all in 2012. OMB officials declined to comment for this story.

OMB indicated in May that it would file one this year, but that it would be late, according to Amy Bennett, assistant director at OpenTheGovernment.org. That notice came during the last in a series of three meetings put together by the White House that brought in open government groups such as CREW, the Sunlight Foundation and OpenTheGovernment.org. The first two meetings had representatives from various federal agencies, and the third brought in components from the Executive Office of the President to meet with the groups.

"This year there was a real effort to re-engage agencies and make sure civil society was a part of the creation process," Bennett said. "The White House made a commitment to improving agency implementation of the plans. Part of that was issuing new guidelines and reminding agencies that they need to pay attention to their stakeholders."

'The bare minimum'

So why should anyone care if an agency misses a deadline?

"Agency open government plans are one of the most visible examples of the White House's commitment to transparency," said Daniel Schuman, policy director at CREW. Failure to meet the deadline "suggests not all agencies are as dedicated" to the idea of transparency, he said, adding that the failures by some to meet the deadline might deserve additional White House attention.

We really can make some important progress if the agencies bring in people from the outside.

"But more importantly, while some agencies made a real effort to think creatively about addressing open government issues, too many are merely doing the bare minimum," Schuman said. "We will treat these plans as a good starting point, but we expect more from our government in terms of transparency and accountability."

More from FCW

A brief history of open data
From eight simple principles to today's vast ecosystem, here's what's happening -- and how to take full advantage.

The Justice Department is one of the agencies that made a real effort, according to Bennett. While DOJ is often criticized by those calling for more transparency, Bennett said this year DOJ incorporated input from OpenTheGovernment.org into its plan.

Bennett and others from the group discussed their priorities with Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West, and were pleased to see many of their concerns addressed in the DOJ plan.

"It's going to be interesting over the next few years," Bennett said. "We really can make some important progress if the agencies bring in people from the outside."

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.