The Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Open Government Plan makes some progress in making the office more open, participatory, and collaborative, but is missing several elements required by the OGD and fails to provide sufficient information and many other criteria. The OMB plan does an excellent job of explaining current activities to be transparent, participatory and collaborative. However, OMB’s plans to improve these issue areas remain overly vague, with almost no listed milestones or schedule for specific actions. OMB’s plan also does fails to include any information about how the plan was developed, what outreach was done to gather input and ideas, and how it will inform the public about its progress.
OMB could improve the plan by including sections describing: OMB’s key audiences, outreach done to gather input on the plan, and the vehicles the office intends to use to keep the public and key audiences informed of progress. Also, OMB’s plan would fulfill the requirement to provide a high-value inventory by providing a links to where the data sets can be found, preferably a central repository. Similarly, OMB should provide greater detail on how the agency will proceed on proposals for improving transparency, participation and collaboration, including some specific milestones and deliverables, against which the public will be able to judge their performance.
On a more innovative front, OMB should seek to set a new standard in transparency of deliberative processes. Currently the plan seems to use the deliberative nature of some work as a free pass to avoid transparency. Much of the important decisions, throughout government, are made during deliberative processes of creating policy, making rules and settling disagreements. And while the entire process cannot be open to the public, increasing the level of transparency will make agencies and offices more accountable for the decisions they make or influence.
If you any think part of the agency's plan is impressive, or you have concrete suggestions on how the agency could improve its plan, please share your ideas with us using the form at the bottom of the page.