Key Area to Consider in Open Government Planning: Pilots and Existing Programs

Importance of Pilots/Existing Programs in Open Government Planning:
The Open Gov Programs “pie piece” falls within the Technology side of the Open Government methodology and focuses on the tenets of transparency, collaboration and participation. It is this area that takes an inventory of any Open Gov related activities and technologies (e.g., social media tools) that are currently being used within the agency. Once an assessment is complete, this area should also encompass lessons learned and best practices, and can even start the planning process in determining the agency’s goals and priorities based on available resources. It is also a good idea to look outside of the agency to see what other agencies are doing particularly well. Existing programs (both internal and external) must be understood in order to leverage any collaboration and reuse opportunities.

Linkages with the Open Government Directive:
At a high level, the Open Government Directive (OGD) asks how the agency is engaging in participatory activities. Specifically:
· The OGD encourages that “agencies should proactively use modern technology to disseminate useful information” and make information available online to the public in open formats. As such, agencies are required within 60 days to create an Open Government Webpage “to serve as the gateway for agency activities related to the [OGD].” An agency’s Open Government webpage will serve as a communication vehicle with the public. Pilots or existing programs, such as the use of social media tools, can also facilitate the use of modern technology for sharing information with the public.
· A new OMB working group is to be established within 45 days “that focuses on transparency, accountability, participation, and collaboration within the Federal Government” to open an ongoing dialogue among agencies to share best practices on innovative ideas and coordinate efforts toward transparency. This working group will be a forum for agencies to communicate with each other about their current innovative initiatives and exchange ideas on how to launch or improve their pilots and programs.
· Finally, “within 120 days, each agency shall develop and publish on it Open Government Webpage and Open Government Plan” that describes in detail how transparency, public participation, and collaboration will be improved. The Open Government Plan is another place for agencies to highlight their pilots or existing programs as well as their plans for supporting and improving transparency, collaboration, and participation with other agencies, the public, and non-profit and private entities.