US Government launches the Open Government Directive
Friday, December 11th, 2009

And the next generation in government-public collaboration.

This week, the White House released its Open Government Directive – a bold initiative to change the way US government agencies share information with and involve the public.

It’s a big and welcome step forward in creating a more citizen-centred and participatory government that embraces new technologies.

The Open Government Directive is based on three core values:

  • Transparency. Government should provide citizens with information about what their government is doing so that government can be held accountable.
  • Participation. Government should actively solicit expertise from outside Washington so that it makes policies with the benefit of the best information.
  • Collaboration. Government officials should work together with one another and with citizens as part of doing their job of solving national problems.

During the Directive’s official launch, White House staff practiced what they preach. They broadcast the launch live on as well as in a custom-built Facebook application. The public could post comments and questions via Facebook Twitter and the White House site. You can read more here.

The launch of open government, done in an open way.

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But what will the Open Government Directive really do?

Over the next 120 days, federal agencies are required to develop their own dedicated webpages to foster and support greater transparency and public participation, as well as a formal plan for how it will incorporate public participation and collaboration into what it does.

We think this will lead to more sustainable, and therefore more effective, policy decisions and directions.

So, it’s an exciting time to be helping governments and citizens connect and work together!

– Ellis Westwood –

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  1. Rick Jordan says:

    Great information, I think this is really a ground breaking initiative. I’m a little concerned about the reciprocity between the government agencies and citizen groups. Do you feel that most Americans are ready for this level of government?

  2. Ellis Westwood says:

    Great question, Rick. We think the public’s been ready for this new type of government for a while. In the face of declining voter turnout in elections and decreased public trust in government, the Open Government Directive will help strengthen democracy by developing new relationships between government and citizens, and engage the public more in helping to make the policy decisions that affect us.

    Our biggest concern is about meeting raised expectations. How will government agencies respond to the Directive? How will they engage the public? Will this engagement be genuine or just to “say they’ve done it”?

    What do you think?