By SUZANNE DERSHOWITZ
On April 9, federal agencies across the government released updates of their Open Government Plans, a key component of President Obama's Open Government Initiative. With delegates from 53 countries converging last week in Brazil for the first annual meeting of the global Open Government Partnership (OGP), now is a good time to take stock of the renewed commitments in the updated plans and evaluate the government's progress on the road to implementation. Overall, the results have been mixed.
When the initial Open Government plans were released over two years ago in response to the White House Open Government Directive (OGD), OpenTheGovernment.org and its partners (including POGO) conducted a comprehensive review and audit with agency rankings. POGO evaluated the Open Government Plans of the Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Energy (DOE), Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). We will be particularly interested in taking a closer look at these agencies’ updated plans.
The Open Government Plans were to serve as “living documents” to be updated every two years as part of an ongoing dialogue. In the updated plans, agencies were supposed to develop initiatives and provide concrete timelines for building openness, participation, and collaboration into their standard operating procedures.
So how do the Open Government Plans 2.0 stack up? What real steps have agencies made toward implementation?