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Establishing An Open Data Policy In Your Local Government

The City of Philadelphia through an Executive Order issued by Mayor Nutter, recently adopted an Open Data Policy, which can serve as a template for other communities. The Philadelphia Open Data Policy includes the following items:

– A commitment to openness and transparency in government;

– Establishment of an Open Data Working Group consisting of department heads to focus on transparency, accountability, participation, and collaboration within City government;

– With assistance from the Open Data Working Group, hiring or designating an individual to serve as Chief Data Officer;

– Appointing a nine member citizen Data Governance Advisory Board;

– Development of an Open Government Plan that will detail, including specific actions and timelines, the steps that the City will take to incorporate the principles of open government into its daily activities;

– Establishment of an Open Government Portal that will serve as the source for Citywide and departmental activities with respect to this open government initiative;

– Requires each City department and agency to develop a schedule for making information available to the public and updating it on a regular basis;

– Requires each City department to create a catalog of its public information. The catalog shall be made accessible through the Open Government Portal;

– The Open Government Portal shall include a mechanism for the public to give feedback on and assess the quality of published information, provide input about what information should be a priority for publication, and provide input on the City’s Open Government Plan;

– The City’s progress toward meeting the open government goals set forth shall be evaluated after six months, again after one year and annually thereafter. The evaluation shall be released on the Open Government Portal, and shall include criteria to be developed by the Advisory Board.

Elected leaders and citizen activists who believe in the importance of open government and providing information to the public must push for their local municipality to implement an Open Data Policy like Philadelphia’s.


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Chris Cairns

How many governance boards and government CXO’s can we come up with? I do think that this serves as a good template, but only time will tell how effective the construct is. I like the idea of public rating the quality of the information presented.