Last week, representatives from the U.S. and more than 70 other countries gathered together in Paris for the fourth Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit. The U.S. joined seven other nations in 2011 to launch this global partnership to advance the ideals of open and participatory 21st century government. The OGP is a multilateral initiative that works to secure commitments from governments around the world to promote transparency and accountability, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. In total, 75 countries have endorsed the Open Government Declaration, and have made over 2,500 commitments to make their governments more open and accountable.
The U.S. has shown its commitment to the partnership through the U.S. Open Government National Action Plans, which promote the OGP’s principles of transparency, facilitating access to government services for the public, and citizen engagement. 18F has worked together with several agencies to advance the partnership’s goals through a number of projects:
The DATA Act: In 2014, President Obama signed The DATA Act, which mandates a common data standard that includes awards-level information (specifics about the program or project being funded, who and where the money is going to, etc.), and information about the Department of the Treasury account that the award was paid out of. 18F has been helping Treasury implement the DATA Act, which will lead to much greater insight into federal spending and an improved USASpending.gov.
eRegulations: This platform is an open source collaboration with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Technology Transformation Service (TTS) to make federal regulations easy to read, search, and understand. We’ve already helped the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Environmental Protection Agency get regulations on the platform, and we’re piloting a way to improve the notice and comment process so the public can more easily interact with government.
USEITI: The Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) is a global standard for the management and accountability of natural resources. The U.S. committed to join EITI as part of the 2011 and 2013 Open Government Partnership National Action Plans. For this reason, The Department of Interior’s Office of Natural Resource Revenues and 18F worked together to build useiti.doi.gov. The site provides interactive data about production, revenue, and the economic impact of extractive industries in each state.
College Scorecard: The College Scorecard is an interactive site that allows families to access data about colleges and universities so they can make informed decisions when contemplating higher education. It provides easy access to 19 years of data from 7,000 institutions on affordability, graduation rates, and how much students earn after graduation. This is the first time the Department of Education has made their outcomes data available to the public. 18F partnered with the U.S. Digital Service and the Department of Education to deliver this project in only three months.
The Public Participation Playbook: In 2014, 18F collaborated with a group of government agencies to create a guide for government managers to receive feedback from the public on improvements and metrics in policies, regulations, and other programs. It empowers citizens by giving them an opportunity to be involved in the creation and design of government initiatives.
Beyond these specific projects, 18F has also been a champion for working in the open, open data that’s easily reused by the public, and building projects that are easily adapted and reused by the public and other governments. For example, analytics.usa.gov both provides the public with increased transparency into traffic to federal websites and has inspiried 11 other governments to launch their own analytics dashboard. Because the code for the platform was open and easily reusable, it allowed other governments to quickly and cheaply provide a more transparent experience to the public. We believe increased reuse of government tools, data, and code will have a huge impact on open government and the OGP principles.
In addition, the Technology Transformative Service’s Office of Products and Programs and the Presidential Innovation Fellows have supported agencies’ implementation of the OGP principles. Some examples include: data.gov, open policing data, Blue Button health data, Green Button energy data, the Opportunity Project, CITYSDK, the digital registry, challenge.gov, citizenscience.gov, and the Federal Source Code Policy, among others.
Learn more about the U.S.’s participation in the OGP, and more than 60 federal projects that have contributed to cost savings, opportunities for private businesses, improved civic services, more informed policymaking, new scientific discoveries, increased transparency and accountability, and expanded public participation in government.