The Nitty Gritty of Government Compliance and Transparency

In this fast-paced world of on-demand movies, dating, food, transportation, and information, it’s no surprise that citizens are demanding faster, more digital data from their state and local agencies. And while providing citizens with easier access to data is important to agencies, compliance and transparency make it harder to give the people what they want.

Finding the right balance between rapidly changing data and a small budget and team is tricky. However, it is possible to meet compliance standards and improve your transparency efforts at the same time. With a more automated compliance process, better storage, new document workflows, a dedicated staff and better security control, transparency and citizen trust won’t be too far away for your agency.

During a session at GovLoop’s State & Local Virtual Innovator’s Summit, The Insider Secrets to Understanding Gov Compliance, Michael Gandy with LexisNexis spoke on the importance of compliance without complications, how to better respond to citizen expectations for service and how your agency can go full-on digital.

Gandy emphasized that a digital-first perspective helps to:

  • Improve transparency between the government and citizens
  • Increase efficiencies and agencies’ ability to do more with less
  • Enable agencies to meet new mandates like open data and respond to citizens faster

However, it really is “all about trust,” Gandy noted. Citizen trust in the government is at an all-time low, according to a recent PEW research report, with only 19 percent of citizens saying they trust the federal government to do what is right. Trust is a huge obstacle to overcome, especially because citizens would like to have the same type of ease they experience with consumer companies when dealing with the government.

But government is a compliance-focused entity, not a profit-driven company, Gandy said. With citizens at the center of government, it has been noted that transparency is the answer to the trust issue. Citizens want and deserve to know what their government is doing, and a more automated process of receiving data can enable that.

Unfortunately, the current workflow process for handling public sector requests is cluttered, time-consuming and slow. It requires both junior and senior staffers to dedicate a lot of hours to make sure the compliance standards are being met at every stage of the process.

But, if agencies were to implement a more automated workflow process, compliance and transparency could both be satisfied. Technology solutions do exist today to handle large volumes of data. In fact, the requests and types of data agencies are working with are exactly what LexisNexis does best to automate workflow, determine what the challenges are and then develop solutions to meet those challenges.

LexisNexis possesses tools that are able to take millions of documents at a time and process them down to just 10 percent of the original dataset. The LexisNexis program does this, and then loads the data into a review tool to allow agencies to manage the document from start to finish and track through the entire process, ensuring no highly sensitive information is being released to the public.

The government today faces a slew of challenges, from trust issues to compliance and risk management. But what can help is a well-executed solution that enables agencies to manage their time better, meet their goals and become more efficient and transparent.

To learn more about LexisNexis and ways to improve your agencies compliance and transparency, click here for the full slideshow from this training.


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Dovell Bonnett

Trust is a key concern. So is security. Here are a few points to also consider: Encrypt all documents. Classify all documents, Put the different classifications onto different servers where the most sensitive info has the most barriers and monitors. Use Multi-factor Authentication to open a file so there is an audit trail.

I’m all for speeding up the audit train, but make security a part of the process.