Key Area to Consider in Open Government Planning: Communication Channels

Importance of Communication Channels in Open Government Planning

When we talk about open government an important aspect to consider is the communication channels we will use to create a more open dialogue between Agencies and the public. As new open government and web 2.0 tools are stood up, Agencies have the opportunity to reach out to the public more effectively than ever before. By leveraging existing and new ways of communicating with the public, open government can drive innovation through collaboration.

Some possible communication channels include:

  • Blogs
  • Twitter
  • Wikis
  • Facebook
  • Flicker

Because open government should enable Agencies to understand citizens’ demand for services more clearly and be more responsive to their needs, engaging a representative from the Office of Public Affairs will help to ensure that the collaboration between the Agency and the public is effective and that the Agency’s key messages are efficiently reaching the correct people. (See previous blog series on Open Government Partner Approach: Office of Public Affairs)

Linkages with the Open Government Directive

Communication channels and the Office of Public Affairs will be vital in meeting many of the reporting and planning requirements of the Open Government Directive.

The Open Government Directive requires that Agencies:

  • “[C]reate an Open Government Webpage located at http://www.[agency].gov/open to serve as the gateway for agency activities related to the Open Government Directive."

Additionally, each Agency’s plan is required to include:

  • Descriptions of and links to appropriate websites where the public can engage in existing participatory processes of your Agency
  • Describe how the Agency will foster the public’s use of information to increase public knowledge and promote public scrutiny of agency services
  • Explain in detail how the agency will improve participation, including steps agencies will take to revise its current practices to increase opportunities for public participation in and feedback on the agency’s core mission activities
  • Explain in detail how the Agency will improve collaboration, including steps the agency will take to revise its current practices to further cooperation with other Federal and non-Federal governmental agencies, the public, and non-profit and private entities in fulfilling the agency’s core mission activities