Government Agencies Lauded For Transparency Efforts

U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra honored nine agencies for their achievement in mapping out transparency plans that go "above and beyond" Obama's directive.

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U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra has praised several agencies for taking the lead in improving their transparency plans to meet the goals of the Obama's administrations Open Government Directive.

The administration has updated an online dashboard tracking the progress of agencies' Open Government Plans to reflect progress made since each one published transparency plans in April, according to a blog post by Chopra and Cass R. Sunstein, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

Several months ago, all federal agencies and departments were required to submit plans for how they would use technology to become more transparent and better engage with the American public over the next two years. When they did, many were criticized for needing considerable improvement.

In the blog post, Chopra and Sunstein admitted as much. They said that while agencies were off to a "good start," the administration found that "much more work was necessary to ensure effective implementation of these ambitious plans to make operations and data more transparent and expand opportunities for citizen participation, collaboration, and oversight."

The dashboard was set up to provide a scorecard for how agencies fared with getting their plans up to speed. It rates agencies with "green" for having met expectations for their plans; "yellow" for making progress toward expectations; and "red" for failing to meet expectations.

A current update of agency plans shows 18 out of 29 many agencies rated "all green" on the online dashboard, which shows significant improvement from when plans were submitted, according to the post.

Moreover, Chopra and Sunstein said that agencies that still are rated "yellow" for some aspects of their plans are well on their way to meeting expectations with recent revisions and improvements.

To honor some agencies that have gone "above and beyond" the requirements of the directive with plans that have displayed what peers considered "the best and most innovative" transparency strategies, the White House has awarded several Leading Practices Awards in areas that correspond to Open Government Directive goals.

The Department of Transportation has won an award for leadership, governance and culture change, while the Department of Health and Human Services was honored for its transparency.

Several agencies -- the Department of the Treasury, Environmental Protection Agency and NASA -- were recognized for participation and collaboration.

Agencies with particularly strong flagship initiatives -- which are new transparency projects clearly outlined from concept to completion -- also were honored. They are the Department of the Interior Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, NASA and the Office of Personnel Management.

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