White House Throws Open the Doors of Government

by Sean Moulton, 12/8/2009

As you probably know, the Obama administration released the Open Government Directive this morning.  OMB Watch applauds this latest effort to create a more open and accountable government.

In this season of gift giving, the results appear to be well worth the wait.  The president called for progress on three main principles – transparency, participation, and collaboration and the directive delivers on all three with specific requirements and deadlines for all agencies.  The directive was comprised of four main components centered on very simple but important themes – publishing information; creating a culture of openness; improving data quality; and updating policies to allow for greater openness.  

We are especially pleased to how many of the issues and concerns raised by the right-to-know community in the report called Moving Toward a 21st Century Right to Know Agenda. Among the 70 detailed recommendations in the report were requests for creating incentives for openness, interagency coordination, and publication of high-priority data that is currently unavailable – all of which are addressed in the new directive.

However, the proof is in the pudding.  Implementation over the next few months will reveal how much new transparency we will actually receive from this process.  This first step, the instructions to the agencies, has gone well, now our work must focus on ensuring the next step, implementation by agencies, goes equally well and produces substantive change.

Photo by flickr user seagers, used under a Creative Commons license.

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