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Symposium 2012

Solution for Fostering Open Government Initiatives in Public Services

The Challenge

The provision of effective and efficient public services—such as health care, education and criminal justice—is a key task for government. In recent years, the financial crisis, digital technolo ...

The provision of effective and efficient public services—such as health care, education and criminal justice—is a key task for government. In recent years, the financial crisis, digital technologies and other big trends have complicated efforts in these areas and intensified calls for large-scale reform.

Establish international standards, quantifiable goals and an independent review mechanism to measure progress on open government.

Although open government initiatives enjoy broad support among decision-makers and the public, there is little evidence on which policies have an impact in achieving greater openness. As a result, governments lack information about which measures to foster, which to scale down and how do (re)allocate resources accordingly. Without an assessment of the impact of their policies, governments run the risk of failing to exploit the full potential of open government initiatives.

Open government initiatives need measurable goals and an independent review mechanism to help determine their degree of openness. Goal setting and review do not come without costs. But they can have an important influence on policy, indicating how to close loopholes, remove anomalies and ensure that regulation and legislation function in a way that supports open government objectives.

Ideally, the goals and review mechanism should not only be set and implemented on a national basis: rather, this should be an international endeavor. International standards and procedures would allow governments to compare results with their peers. Thus, they would provide incentives for governments to improve and refine their standards of accountability and transparency.

Individual countries, such as the United Kingdom, and the Open Government Partnership (OGP) have already made progress in this direction. The OGP and the OECD are potential partners in devising goals and designing a review mechanism. The former brings together more than 50 governments to compare countries' open government initiatives, while the latter offers knowledge about how to develop viable indicators and monitoring tools to improve countries’ steps toward open government.

    Related Solutions

    Solution
    Symposium 2012

    Extend open government initiatives to the legislative branch.

    Extend open government initiatives to the legislative branch.

    Extend open government initiatives to the legislative branch.

    Polity