Last week I had a conversation with a government agency about the content of the whole-of-government strategy and the new governance arrangements that should lead to more effective cooperation among agencies. During the meeting I said that I had received in confidence a draft copy of a diagram showing which agencies would be in charge of which elements of the strategy. To my surprise people attending the meeting said that they had not seen such a diagram and asked me whether I could hand a copy over to them. Of course I did not, as I had received it in confidence, but I was naively convinced that other agencies would be aware of it.
I could not help myself thinking that despite the continued calls for openness and transparency, information does not flow as seamlessly as it should even inside government. This is nothing new: how many times did government employees hear about a political decision or a relevant event that took place somewhere else in government – but often even in their own agency – from somebody outside government? What is somewhat disconcerting is exactly this: does not matter how much open government and open data is pushed, transparency remains a myth