United States Releases its Second Open Government National Action Plan

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on December 6, 2013

Among the highlights of the Second National Action Plan for United States Open Government 

  • “We the People”: The White House will introduce new improvements to the We the People online petitions platform aimed at making it easier to collect and submit signatures and increase public participation in using this platform. Improvements will enable the public to perform data analysis on the signatures and petitions submitted to We the People, as well as include a more streamlined process for signing petitions and a new Application Programming Interface (API) that will allow third-parties to collect and submit signatures from their own websites.
  • Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Modernization: The FOIA encourages accountability through transparency and represents an unwavering national commitment to open government principles. Improving FOIA administration is one of the most effective ways to make the U.S. Government more open and accountable. Today, we announced five commitments to further modernize FOIA processes, including launching a consolidated online FOIA service to improve customers’ experience, creating and making training resources available to FOIA professionals and other Federal employees, and developing common FOIA standards for agencies across government.
  • The Global Initiative on Fiscal Transparency (GIFT): The United States will join GIFT, an international network of governments and non-government organizations aimed at enhancing financial transparency, accountability, and stakeholder engagement. The U.S. Government will actively participate in the GIFT Working Group and seek opportunities to collaborate with stakeholders and champion greater fiscal openness and transparency in domestic and global spending.
  • Open Data to the Public: Over the past few years, government data has been used by journalists to uncover variations in hospital billings, by citizens to learn more about the social services provided by charities in their communities, and by entrepreneurs building new software tools to help farmers plan and manage their crops.  Building on the U.S. Government’s ongoing open data efforts, new commitments will make government data even more accessible and useful for the public, including by reforming how Federal agencies manage government data as a strategic asset, launching a new version of Data.gov to make it even easier to discover, understand, and use open government data, and expanding access to agriculture and nutrition data to help farmers and communities.
  • Participatory Budgeting: The United States will promote community-led participatory budgeting as a tool for enabling citizens to play a role in identifying, discussing, and prioritizing certain local public spending projects, and for giving citizens a voice in how taxpayer dollars are spent in their communities. This commitment will include steps by the U.S. Government to help raise awareness of the fact that participatory budgeting may be used for certain eligible Federal community development grant programs.”

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