For the past three weeks I’ve been taking part in something call Local Gov Chat on twitter. It’s a twitter based moderated conversation on the subject of Local Government and various tech and cultural issues.
One of the questions that came up this afternoon was an interesting one:
“What is the difference between openness and transparency?”
In a lot of the discussion around gov2.0 and local government the two terms tend to be used interchangably. However I think that while similar they actually describe two different approaches.
To my mind transparency is what you get when the government tells you what’s going on. This can happen via the release of data, procedural openness, and a policy environment that encourages the delivery of information into the hands of the community. However it’s like looking through a window. You’re on one side consuming the data and information and the government is on the other side delivering it.
Openness is what you get when the government moves out from behind the window and sits down with you and starts talking about what it’s been serving up. A good example of this is a government that releases, say all the data about traffic in a certain region, including black spots, usage of roads and so on, after which they then consult (genuinely) with the community, seeking to involve that community in creating the solutions for the problems that exist.
Of course everyone probably has their own definition, but to me, that’s the one that makes sense.
Originally posted here: http://collaborynth.com.au/blog/difference-between-transparency-and-open