Sunshine Group Seeks Input on Evaluation Plan

By Anne Lowe

OPEN GOVERNMENT – A group that is preparing to audit the openness of federal agencies is seeking public reactions to its proposal.


OpenTheGovernment.org is planning an evaluation of the effectiveness of President Obama’s Open Government Initiative and has put together a draft of what information it will audit. The complete proposal is available on its website and is open for public input through Oct. 4.

Director Patrice McDermott said in the announcement that the group is “anxious to see” how the President’s plan has been implemented by federal agencies so far.

Development of the evaluation was led by faculty from the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies at Miami University of Ohio and the Center for Library and Information Innovation at the University of Maryland. The evaluation framework measures each agency examined according to the availability of information identified by the nongovernment openness community as critical for accountability, progress in implementation of the agency’s open government plan, and the accessibility of information on the agency’s website.

“We welcome feedback from anyone with an interest in making sure our government is open and accountable, including agency personnel, Administration officials, good government advocates, and others,” Dr. McDermott said. “We will consider and respond to the relevant feedback we receive.”

OpenTheGovernment.org’s project was launched with an audit of the Open Government Plans agencies were required to develop by April 7, 2010, under the Open Government Directive (OGD). Initial results of the audit were released in May, and updated results were released at the end of June. To complete the evaluations, OpenTheGovernment.org relies on a group of volunteers with experience working with agencies and evaluating information policies from nonprofit groups, academia, and other organizations that serve the public interest– propose an evaluation framework that measures agencies according to the availability of information critical for accountability, progress against the open government plan, and how accessible information is on the agency website.

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