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“Why Has There Been So Much Talk About Creating a More Open Government?”

What is Open Government?

Graphic of OpenGov Logo.Transparency. Participation. Collaboration. You have heard the buzz, but really... what does it all mean? What is Open Government? And why is it causing such a stir?

In a nutshell, “open government” is the political principle which holds that the business of government and state administration should be opened at all levels to effective public scrutiny and oversight.

Open Government Directive

The Open Government Directive— issued only recently, on December 8, 2009- promises to make government more proactively transparent, as well as participatory and collaborative. The directive is targeted at all Federal departments and agencies, and outlines four main steps for creating a more open government: publish government information online; improve the quality of government information; create and institutionalize a culture of open government; and create an enabling policy framework for open government.

Obviously, modern technology will play a vital role in expanding the public's access to information by making it available online in open formats.

Treasury's Open Government Efforts

In response to the White House's Open Government Directive, on April 7, 2010, 29 departments and agencies published detailed plans describing how they will comply with the three core open government principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration in carrying out their missions.

The Department of the Treasury's Open Government Plan details how Treasury will take immediate, specific steps to open its operations to the public. The document, which reflects extensive public and employee engagement, even includes several comments submitted to Treasury by the public concerning how Treasury can be more open.

Treasury is utilizing IdeaScale— GSA's public dialog tool which allows agencies to provide citizens a forum to share ideas, give feedback, and engage in Web‐based discussions with their government- on its Open Government Web site (www.treas.gov/open) for public engagement and feedback concerning Treasury's Open Government Plan, and will continue to utilize this type of tool for on‐going public input.

All are invited to visit Treasury's idea sharing page and submit comments, see what others are saying, and ask questions about the Department's Open Government Plan. Don't be shy. Feel free to join the conversation!

Tell Treasury what you think of Treasury's Open Government Plan.

Of course, it almost goes without saying— almost- that nothing in the Administration's Open Government policies or memoranda is inconsistent with, or lessens in any way, an agency's obligations to protect classified and other sensitive information.

Learn more about Treasury's Open Government Initiative at the Department's Open Government page at www.treas.gov/open.

Other Open Government Resources

An online storefront for Federal agencies to quickly browse and purchase cloud-based IT services, for productivity, collaboration, and efficiency. Cloud computing is the next generation of IT in which data and applications will be housed centrally and accessible anywhere and anytime by various devices (this is opposed to the current model where applications and most data is housed on individual devices).

Data.gov is a citizen-friendly platform that provides access to Federal datasets (non-sensitive Government data and tools) in a variety of formats.

Federal IT Dashboard
The IT Dashboard gives the public and agency leaders visibility into the operations and performance of Federal IT investments, and the ability to provide direct feedback to those accountable.

Open Government Dashboard
Version 1.0 of the Dashboard tracks agency progress on the milestones set out in the Open Government Directive. It makes it easy for the American people to visually track progress on the deadlines to date. The Dashboard also links to each agency's Open Government Web page.

Open Government Progress Report to the American People
This progress report identifies ways the Obama Administration is “changing the way Washington works.”

Visit Treasury's Open Government Web page.

USAspending.gov provides information to the public about how the Federal government is spending its money. The data is largely from the Federal Procurement Data System, which contains information about Federal contracts, and the Federal Assistance Award Data System, which contains information about Federal financial assistance such as grants, loans, insurance, and direct subsidies like Social Security.

Visit the White House's Open Government Web page.

Page last reviewed/updated: 08/19/2014

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