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Making Government Accountable for Openness

The release of Open Government Plans marks another step in instilling the values of transparency, participation and collaboration throughout the Federal Government.

Yesterday, all cabinet agencies, and others including my home, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, reported to the American people detailed plans on how they would demonstrate the President’s vision for a Washington that works -- a government that is more transparent, participatory and collaborative.

We began this journey on the President’s first full day in office when he signed a Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government. By December, following an unprecedented dialogue with the American people in crafting recommendations, Peter Orszag, OMB Director, issued an Open Government Directive directing agencies to reflect the President’s vision in their own words.

The Directive demanded action measured in weeks, not years. It tasked me, along with my colleague, Federal CIO Vivek Kundra, with holding agencies accountable through the publication of an online dashboard. While today marks the final set of deliverables formally outlined in the Directive, Vivek and I view it as the beginning of our journey to instill these values into the culture of Washington.

Here’s our plan to do so:

First, Vivek and I, along with others in the White House, will assess agency Open Government plans against the criteria contained within the Open Government Directive and will publish our findings on the dashboard.

The results of this assessment will be released by no later than May 1st.  Watch this blog for interim updates as we proceed with the evaluation.

Second, we also invite you to be a part of the feedback process to the agencies.  We hope and trust that independent experts, stakeholders and the American people will review and comment on the plans, including how they can improve as they are revised moving forward  Please share your thoughts on each agency’s Open Government Plan by visiting the agency websites and providing your comments. Each agency designed their plan to reflect its approach to openness and they and we will actively seek your input as we deliver on the President’s promise to change the way Washington works.

Third, we and our colleagues will review agency nominations for achievement of leading practices to celebrate outstanding efforts that will inspire others through a “race to the top” among government agencies in the practice of openness.

As background, a group of agency leaders within the Open Government Working Group, led by Todd Park, the Chief Technology Officer for the Department of Health and Human Services, after consultation with outside experts, developed an aspirational set of Open Government Leading Practices. They focused on four major categories:

  • Leadership, Governance and Culture Change
  • Transparency
  • Participation and Collaboration
  • Flagship Initiative

By April 19th, agencies will be eligible to nominate specific initiatives within their plan for recognition under Leading Practices. By May 1st, we will recognize agencies on the Open Government Dashboard

Thanks, in advance, for your participation. You can always send us e-mail at