Gartner Blog Network

When Open Government Is Still A Myth

by Andrea Di Maio  |  May 10, 2011  |  3 Comments

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

Category: web-20-in-government  

Tags: open-government  

Andrea Di Maio
Managing VP
15 years at Gartner
28 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 strategies, Web 2.0, open government, cloud computing, the business value of IT, smart cities, and the impact of technology on the future of government Read Full Bio

Thoughts on When Open Government Is Still A Myth

  1. […] Gartner analyst Andrea Di Maio writes a short, but to the point, post about the challenges still facing government: I could not help myself thinking that despite the […]

  2. Harry says:

    This is an interesting point of view, I argue that there is a gap between information transparency and the usage of the information. In other words we first have to face the false organisational flow by redesigning effective process towards good information delivery. If we not succeed, then we’ ll have the myth of transparency.
    On the other hand I believe that anyone want to be informed, will be. I think the problem sometimes lies on the fact they are not intrested to know what is going on about their agencies. So we have some outsiders with better information, but the information is there and you could find it if you wanted. Additionally there are situations that government deliberately obscures its actions in order to not concluding on false assessments.

  3. Andy says:

    This story has a depressingly familiar ring to it – when will the UK Government learn that you don’t create or implement a successful strategy by doing it behind closed doors and keeping it secret from your stakeholders! Trust me, there is no lack of appetite across the public sector at large to know what is going on ‘at the centre’ or even to be an active part of those discussions; but often it’s a done deal before it sees the light of day.

    As for better co-operation, goverment agencies don’t need a new governance model – they just need to get on and do it. This obsession with governance at the expense of delivery (and the continuing confusion between the two) is something that desperately needs addressing in the UK public sector.

    Let’s have a little less governance and a little more action (as well as openness) and then perhaps we might actually make some real progress!

Comments are closed

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.