Today the Obama Administration issued a report on its efforts to create a new level of openness in Government. The report provides a detailed overview of an impressive list of substantive changes in the openness of the Executive Branch the Administration has achieved in a relatively short period.
According to Patrice McDermott, Director of OpenTheGovernment.org, "We are pleased to see the Administration undertaking this kind of review because it gives us an all opportunity to reflect on what goals have been met and what challenges we agree remain. We hope our advocacy and the Administration’s actions will result in an even more impressive report in the future."
The report focuses on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Open Government Directive, Data.gov, spending transparency, White House transparency, and efforts to limit the use of security restrictions to keep information secret. Many of these topics are discussed in our recently-released Progress Report on Openness and Secrecy in the Obama Administration (part of the 2011 Secrecy Report). Our report highlights Administration’s commitments that are developing in both promising and troubling directions.
Admirably, the White House freely acknowledges that there is much to be done to meet the "unprecedented level of transparency" the President committed to creating on his first day in office. The report outlines the Administration’s plans to build on its openness initiatives over the next few years, including the Administration’s launch of the Open Government Partnership (OGP).
As we’ve discussed previously, the (OGP) is an initiative that will bring together partners from many countries and sectors to support governments’ efforts to become more transparent, accountable, and participatory. Participating countries – including the US- will be creating National Action Plans, developed with public consultation and feedback, that include concrete commitments. The OGP creates a unique opportunity for the Administration to reinforce the openness work that has been going on the last few years, and to push the openness agenda more widely.