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To Be or Not To Be (Transparent): This Is The Question

by Andrea Di Maio  |  August 17, 2010  |  1 Comment

Last week the White House announced the Leading Practices Award for Federal Agencies that did best on their Open Government Plans, according to the leading practices criteria, which were suggested earlier by the White House to improve plans.

I won’t comment about whether the updated open government score card is either sufficiently accurate or meaningful, as I did so when it was first released and this touched some sensitivities in those who had been furiously working toward improving their plans to comply with evaluation criteria. An article on NextGov points to an independent review that would be challenging some of the assessment.

I am not as much interested in rankings and official assessments, as I am in another comment that appears in the same article:

Links next to the award winners simply take users to the agencies’ open government plans. “It is odd. They don’t indicate why those agencies got the awards in the various categories, nor do they take you to the spot in their plans that earned the agency the award,” said Patrice McDermott, director of, a transparency group that organized the outside audit.

“I have no idea how the awards were judged,” Bass (director of OMB watch) said. “That’s kind of ironic for a transparency initiative. They’ve got to get more serious.”

Indeed, isn’t it ironic that the assessment process for open government progress is not … open? But, as I said, I am not going to comment any further, not to get myself in trouble.

On the positive side, one of the leading practices is that “…the plan includes a performance measures framework for open government initiatives that is aligned with the agency’s overall performance framework and enables specific open government activities to be assessed”. As I said in the past. open government will become real only when it becomes part of the normal course of business: this is one way to make that happen.

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Category: open-government-data  

Tags: open-government  open-government-directive  

Andrea Di Maio
Managing VP
19 years at Gartner
33 years IT industry

Andrea Di Maio is a managing vice president for public sector in Gartner Research, covering government and education. His personal research focus is on digital government strategies, open government, the business value of IT, smart cities, and the impact of technology on the future of government Read Full Bio

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