In the development of a more open and transparent government, there are two phases of transparency that can be measured to get at the overall effectiveness of the open government directive.
The first option is to look at I deem is the actual transparency. How this blog defines actual transparency is: the tangible data that is placed on the gov/open web pages. This can be easily measured by tracking the number of uploads. In fact, we do this currently by listing out the number of uploaded data points for each agency. But what does this data dump really tell us? I say that it doesn’t really tell us much. It is “data for data’s sake”. There is no way to measure the quality or usefulness of the data. How do we know if all the hard work and effort was put to good use? Every government agency or private organization has data relevant to their internal needs, but might not be necessarily beneficial to the citizen. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s very important that we practice this exercise. It aids in the cultural change that needs to take place within the government. Also, it is very difficult to understand what data is relevant to citizens until actual data has been placed publicly. The actual transparency is only the first step to becoming a transparent and efficient government. We must now focus our effort on the perception of transparency.
Perception of transparency by citizens is really what matters. Engaging in collaboration and participation will lead the general public to meaningful uses and insights into the government data. As part of the actual transparency process, give the public the data, let them utilize the data and find value from your efforts. The General Public finding value in the data points will lead to the impression that the government has become more transparent. Improving the perceived transparency will lead to increased trust with the government. Instilling greater trust in the Agencies will hopefully lead to more engagement and online task completion. Improved engagement will allow our government to continually improve due to the visitor feedback. Increasing the use of online websites to complete tasks will hopefully lead to greater cost savings across the government (a great example of the power of the internet is the recent cost savings by the IRS using online tax refund process). This is how I see the open government initiative benefiting.
I started my own blog, where my recent posts can also be found here…
This bitly directs you to the original posting on my blog as well.