To promote open government, students at the Honors College Think Tank on Transparency and Privacy at the University of Utah recently studied 16 local governments in Utah to determine best practices for keeping local government open. The results of the study will be officially released at a press conference on Wednesday, April 11th. Their work was supported by organizations such as the Sunlight Foundation, which promotes open government by ranking Internet transparency. The students released a list of five best-practices which they encourage all local governments to adopt. The list is as follows:
1. Local governments should establish a dedicated open government webpage, providing a searchable repository for all public information, accessible in three clicks or less.
2. Online information needs to be collected, generated and maintained in a digital form and made available on the open government webpage in a timely way.
3. All electronic communications made with government supplied equipment, including emails and instant messages, should be considered public records.
4. Elected officials and senior administrators should post their schedules publicly, maintain open settings on social networking sites and commit to a culture of transparency.
5. Governmental bodies should make all public meetings as open as possible by posting agendas and meeting materials in advance, streaming live meeting audio or video, posting recordings within 48 hours and allowing remote participation.