Open Government must address financial reporting problems

As I noted in yesterday’s review of 2010 predictions, 2010 was the year of open data. Great strides were made throughout the world and in the United States we saw Data.gov thrive and San Francisco pass an open data law. Focus on sharing government-maintained data has led to information transparency at a level beyond what we have seen in the past.

For this reason it is especially disappointing to see that the US Federal Government still does not really know where we’re spending our money. Worse yet, no one seems to really care outside of the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which is responsible for answering the question. In fact, we have to look to Canada to find a journalist, David Akin, who writes:

Isn’t this kind of a core thing reporters report about if they cover federal politics? Attention Americans: Your auditor cannot audit trillions of dollars worth of tax collection and spending because your federal government’s books are an absolute mess — again!!!

Open Government must be about far more than open data set, the use of social media and collaborative technologies. Open Government must provide solutions to the core challenges of efficiently operating a government, from resource management to organizational development to budgetary planning and oversight.

Yes, 2010 was the year of open data. 2011 must be the year that open government is used to identify and begin to resolve the core problems of government operations. This can be done. We know the problem. We have the people. We have the tools. Will we have the necessary leadership, fearless leadership, to get it done?


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