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United States

Tracking OGP Implementation (US0080)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: United States Action Plan 2015-2017

Action Plan Cycle: 2015

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: The Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

OGP

IRM Review

IRM Report: United States End-of-Term IRM Report 2015-2017, United States Mid-Term Report 2015-2017

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

The Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy will work with an existing interagency open government group made up of individuals from across the Executive Branch to develop guidelines for Federal agencies as they update their Open Government Plans in 2016. These guidelines will require agencies to publish annual progress reports describing implementation progress and will include updating agencies’ Open Government web pages. The Administration will solicit input from civil society organizations for the updated guidance.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 28. Track Implementation of Open Government Plans

Commitment Text:

Track Agency Progress of Open Government Plan Implementation

The Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy will work with an existing interagency open government group made up of individuals from across the Executive Branch to develop guidelines for Federal agencies as they update their Open Government Plans in 2016. These guidelines will require agencies to publish annual progress reports describing implementation progress and will include updating agencies’ Open Government web pages. The Administration will solicit input from civil society organizations for the updated guidance.

Responsible Institutions: Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Science and Technology Policy

Supporting Institutions: Civil society organizations

Start Date: Not Specified End Date: Not Specified

Commitment Aim

This commitment aimed to leverage an interagency open government group to develop guidelines for agencies working on agency-specific Open Government Plans in 2016, specifically by requiring agencies to update their open government webpages and publishing progress reports annually.

Status

Midterm: Limited

At the midterm, the government had made limited progress on this commitment, as the government did not issue the Guidelines referenced under the commitment until July 2016.[1]

End of term: Complete

This commitment is complete at the end of term.

On 14 July 2016, the government issued “Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies” (hereafter M-16-16).[2] The memorandum comprises the guidelines described in the commitment text, and requires federal agencies to update their open government webpages to include their open government plans no later than 16 September 2016. The memorandum also requires that agencies “publish progress reports… at least annually,” with agencies soliciting “public input and feedback” on their open government plans. The memorandum applies to all federal agencies subject to the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, which includes 15 federal cabinet agencies and nine federal non-cabinet agencies.[3] As far as civic engagement, a request for comments on the guidance was sent out previously to civil society organizations via the US Open Government Google Group in January 2016.[4]

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Did Not Change

Civic Participation: Marginal

At the agency-level, compliance with the new guidelines has been inconsistent. With respect to the online publication of agencies’ open government plans, a Sunlight Foundation study[5] found that eight out of 15 federal cabinet agencies had not published them as of 16 September 2016, as required under the 2009 Open Government Directive and the 2016 Memorandum. By the end of 2016, an updated study by the Sunlight Foundation found that plans were available for 13 of out of 15 agencies, with plans outstanding for the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Department of the Interior.[6] At the close of the end-of-term evaluation period, neither department had posted its open government plan online.[7] Per this same study, all nine non-cabinet agencies had published their 2016 open government plans online by the end of 2016.[8] However, given that these plans represent an updating of agencies’ intentions and practices with respect to open government on a bi-annual basis—a requirement that agencies have largely compiled with in the past—the progress in publishing the plans does not constitute a change in government practice as it relates to access to information.

Progress reports documenting implementation progress for federal agencies’ 2016 open government plans, as required under M-16-16, were not publicly available for any federal cabinet agencies at the end of term. However, as all agencies’ current plans date from September or October 2016,[9] any such reports are not required to be released until after the close of the end-of-term reporting period. The improved tracking of the implementation of open government plans—the main intended outcome of this commitment—will therefore take place after the period of this action plan.

With respect to civic participation, this commitment marginally opened government with respect to civic participation. As noted in the US Open Government Google Group, four government agencies—the Department of State, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Archives, and NASA—all solicited inputs for potential inclusion in their open government plans via online fora,[10] representing an opportunity for civil society to engage with government. Relatedly, during an Open Government Consultation Session held on 23 August 2016, the government provided civil society organizations with an opportunity to provide recommendations pertaining to federal agencies open government plans through a series of “lighting talks.”[11]

However, the IRM researcher did not observe evidence of any further engagement with civil society beyond the aforementioned calls for comments and lightning talks, with the former covering a small number of agencies and the latter perceived as rushed and insufficiently interactive[12] by at least one civil society participant. Moreover, a related study by the Sunlight Foundation indicated that only three out of 15 federal cabinet agencies (the Departments of State, Health and Human Services, and Transportation) actually provided a draft plan for public comment,[13] further highlighting the limited magnitude of civic participation under this commitment.

Carried Forward?

At the time of writing, the US government had not published its fourth national action plan, so it is unclear if this commitment will be carried forward. Federal agencies should nevertheless make attempts to comply with the M-16-16 in order to offer the public a fuller view of agencies’ open government activities. In light of the limited opportunities for civil society to engage with government agencies on the development of their open government plans, the federal government should further aim to broaden opportunities for inputs by members of civil society (both in-person and online), and develop a public-facing online platform that contains a centralized listing of all opportunities for public commenting on agencies’ open government plans. Further advancements could also include real-time reporting on agencies’ implementation of their open government plans, representing an improvement in access to information regarding agencies’ progress on this front.


[1] For government confirmation, see Open Government Partnership. “United States of America Midterm Self-Assessment Report for the Open Government Partnership: Third Open Government National Action Plan, 2015–2017.” p.30. September 2016. https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/USA_NAP3_self-assessment-report_20160916.pdf. Consulted 2 October 2017.

[2] Scott, Tony and Megan Smith. Executive Office of the President; Office of Management and Budget. 14 July 2016. “Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies.” M-16-16. https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/memoranda/2016/m-16-16.pdf. . Consulted 17 September 2017.

[3] For a discussion of this act in the context of agencies’ requirements to publish open government plans, see Howard, Alex. “Federal Agencies Subject to CFO Act Near Full Compliance with Open Government Directive.” Sunlight Foundation. 4 January 2017. https://sunlightfoundation.com/2017/01/04/federal-agencies-subject-to-cfo-act-near-full-compliance-with-open-government-directive/. Consulted 17 September 2017. For the text of the act, see “Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990.” HR5697. https://www.congress.gov/bill/101st-congress/house-bill/5687. Consulted 17 September 2017.

[4] US Open Government Google Group, 8 January 2016, https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/us-open-government/7hy0hN4gR_M.

[5] Howard, Alex. “Half of US Cabinet agencies fail to comply with Open Government Directive.” Sunlight Foundation.16 September 2016. https://sunlightfoundation.com/2016/09/16/half-of-u-s-cabinet-agencies-fail-to-comply-with-open-government-directive/. Consulted 17 September 2017.

[6] Howard, Alex. “Federal Agencies Subject to CFO Act Near Full Compliance with Open Government Directive.” Sunlight Foundation. 4 January 2017. https://sunlightfoundation.com/2017/01/04/federal-agencies-subject-to-cfo-act-near-full-compliance-with-open-government-directive/. Consulted 17 September 2017.

[7] The most recent available plan for the Department of Veteran Affairs dates from 2010. See US Department of Veteran Affairs “Open Government.” https://www.va.gov/open/. Consulted 17 September 2017.The most recent plan for the Department of Veteran Affairs dates from June 2014. See US Department of the Interior “Open Government Initiative.” https://www.doi.gov/open. Consulted 27 September 2017.

[8] These agencies include the Agency for International Development, the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, and the Social Security Administration. For the complete list and plan tabulation, see Howard, Alex. “Federal Agencies Subject to CFO Act Near Full Compliance with Open Government Directive.” Sunlight Foundation. 4 January 2017. https://sunlightfoundation.com/2017/01/04/federal-agencies-subject-to-cfo-act-near-full-compliance-with-open-government-directive/. Consulted 17 September 2017.

[9] The months indicated here derive from the IRM Researcher’s review of agencies’ 2016 open government plans on an agency-by-agency basis.

[10] US Open Government Google Group. “Public Participation Regarding Open Government Plan Updates: Which Agencies are Consulting?” 22 August 2016. https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/us-open-government/_zTju6CB1sc. Consulted 17 March 2018.

[11] US Open Government Google Group. “RE: Open Gov Plan Consultation Session.” 24 August 2016. https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/us-open-government/q9GAPmEyUQY. Consulted 17 March 2018.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Howard, Alex. “Federal Agencies Subject to CFO Act Near Full Compliance with Open Government Directive.” Sunlight Foundation. 4 January 2017. https://sunlightfoundation.com/2017/01/04/federal-agencies-subject-to-cfo-act-near-full-compliance-with-open-government-directive/. Consulted 17 September 2017.


United States's Commitments

  1. Federal Data Strategy

    US0105, 2019, E-Government

  2. Grants Accountability

    US0106, 2019, E-Government

  3. Public Access to Federally Funded Research

    US0107, 2019, E-Government

  4. Workforce Data Standards

    US0108, 2019, E-Government

  5. Chief Data Officers

    US0109, 2019, Capacity Building

  6. Open Data for Public Health

    US0110, 2019, E-Government

  7. Enterprise Objective

    US0111, 2019, Capacity Building

  8. Developing Future Action Plans

    US0112, 2019, OGP

  9. Reconstitution of the USA.gov

    US0053, 2015, E-Government

  10. Accessibility of Government Information Online

    US0054, 2015, Marginalized Communities

  11. Access to Educational Resources

    US0055, 2015, Open Data

  12. Public Listing of Every Address in the US

    US0056, 2015, Open Data

  13. Informed Decisions About Higher Education.

    US0057, 2015, Open Data

  14. New Authentication Tools to Protect Individual Privacy and Ensure That Personal Records Go Only to the Intended Recipients.

    US0058, 2015, Public Service Delivery

  15. Transparency of Open311

    US0059, 2015, E-Government

  16. Support Medicine Research Throught Opening up Relevant Data of the Field

    US0060, 2015, Health

  17. Access to Workforce Data

    US0061, 2015, Open Data

  18. Using Evidence and Concrete Data to Improve Public Service Delivery

    US0062, 2015, Capacity Building

  19. Expand Use of the Federal Infrastructure Permitting Dashboard

    US0063, 2015,

  20. Consolidation of Import and Export Systems

    US0064, 2015, E-Government

  21. Improving Government Records

    US0065, 2015, Open Data

  22. Starred commitment Ammendments to FOIA

    US0066, 2015, Open Data

  23. Streamline the Declassification Process

    US0067, 2015, Capacity Building

  24. Implement the Controlled Unclassified Information Program

    US0068, 2015, Open Data

  25. Transparency of Privacy Programs and Practices

    US0069, 2015, Capacity Building

  26. Transparency of Federal Use of Investigative Technologies

    US0070, 2015, E-Government

  27. Increase Transparency of the Intelligence Community

    US0071, 2015, Capacity Building

  28. Open Science Through Open Data

    US0072, 2015, Open Data

  29. Open Data Portal

    US0073, 2015, E-Government

  30. Increase Transparency of Trade Policy and Negotiations

    US0074, 2015, E-Government

  31. Develop a Machine Readable Government Organizational Chart

    US0075, 2015, E-Government

  32. Improving Public Participation

    US0076, 2015, Public Participation

  33. Expand Public Participation in the Development of Regulations

    US0077, 2015, Public Participation

  34. Civic Engagement in Decision-Making Processes

    US0078, 2015, Public Participation

  35. Open Mapping

    US0079, 2015, E-Government

  36. Tracking OGP Implementation

    US0080, 2015, OGP

  37. Strengthening Whistleblower Protection

    US0081, 2015, Capacity Building

  38. Transparency of Legal Entities

    US0082, 2015, Beneficial Ownership

  39. Extractive Industries Transparency

    US0083, 2015, Extractive Industries

  40. Spending Transparency

    US0084, 2015, E-Government

  41. Enhance the Use of U.S. Foreign Assistance Information

    US0085, 2015, Aid

  42. Participatory Budgets and Responsive Spending

    US0086, 2015, Participation in Budget Processes

  43. Expand Access to Justice to Promote Federal Programs

    US0087, 2015, E-Government

  44. Build Safer Communities with Police Open Data

    US0088, 2015, E-Government

  45. Open Federal Data to Benefit Local Communities

    US0089, 2015, E-Government

  46. Support the Municipal Data Network

    US0090, 2015, E-Government

  47. Foster Data Ecosystems

    US0091, 2015, Capacity Building

  48. Extend Digital, Data-Driven Government to Federal Government’S Support for Communities

    US0092, 2015, Capacity Building

  49. Promote Implementation of SDGs

    US0093, 2015, Open Data

  50. Starred commitment Promote Open Climate Data

    US0094, 2015, E-Government

  51. Air Quality Data Available

    US0095, 2015, E-Government

  52. Promote Food Security and Data Sharing for Agriculture and Nutrition

    US0096, 2015, Capacity Building

  53. Promote Data Sharing About Global Preparedness for Epidemic Threats

    US0097, 2015, Capacity Building

  54. Promote Global Interconnectivity

    US0098, 2015, Aid

  55. Open Contracting

    US0099, 2015, Capacity Building

  56. Harness the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development

    US0100, 2015, OGP

  57. Open Government to Support Global Sustainable Development

    US0101, 2015, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  58. Open Collaboration Onf the Arctic

    US0102, 2015, Environment and Climate

  59. Support Capacity Building for Extractives Transparency

    US0103, 2015, Capacity Building

  60. Support Responsible Investment and Business Practices for Companies

    US0104, 2015, Private Sector

  61. Improve Public Participation in Government

    US0027, 2013, Capacity Building

  62. Modernize Management of Government Records

    US0028, 2013, Records Management

  63. Modernize the Freedom of Information Act

    US0029, 2013, Capacity Building

  64. Transform the Security Classification System

    US0030, 2013, Records Management

  65. Implement the Controlled Unclassified Information Program

    US0031, 2013, Security

  66. Increase Transparency of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Activities

    US0032, 2013, E-Government

  67. Make Privacy Compliance Information More Accessible

    US0033, 2013, E-Government

  68. Support and Improve Agency Implementation of Open Government Plans

    US0034, 2013, OGP

  69. Strengthen and Expand Whistleblower Protections for Government Personnel

    US0035, 2013, Capacity Building

  70. Increase Transparency of Legal Entities Formed in the United States

    US0036, 2013, Legislation & Regulation

  71. Starred commitment Implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

    US0037, 2013, Environment and Climate

  72. Make Fossil Fuel Subsidies More Transparent

    US0038, 2013, Extractive Industries

  73. Starred commitment Increase Transparency in Spending

    US0039, 2013, Fiscal Transparency

  74. Increase Transparency of Foreign Assistance

    US0040, 2013, Aid

  75. Continue to Improve Performance.Gov

    US0041, 2013, E-Government

  76. Consolidate Import and Export Systems to Curb Corruption

    US0042, 2013, Private Sector

  77. Promote Public Participation in Community Spending Decisions

    US0043, 2013, Infrastructure & Transport

  78. Expand Visa Sanctions to Combat Corruption

    US0044, 2013, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  79. Further Expand Public Participation in the Development of Regulations

    US0045, 2013, Capacity Building

  80. Open Data to the Public

    US0046, 2013, E-Government

  81. Continue to Pilot Expert Networking Platforms

    US0047, 2013, Public Participation

  82. Reform Government Websites

    US0048, 2013, E-Government

  83. Promote Innovation Through Collaboration and Harness the Ingenuity of the American Public

    US0049, 2013, Capacity Building

  84. Promote Open Education to Increase Awareness and Engagement

    US0050, 2013, E-Government

  85. Deliver Government Services More Effectively Through Information Technology

    US0051, 2013, E-Government

  86. Increase Transparency in Spending

    US0052, 2013, E-Government

  87. Reform Records Management

    US0001, 2011, Records Management

  88. Lead a Multi-Agency Effort

    US0002, 2011, Capacity Building

  89. Monitor Agency Implementation of Plans

    US0003, 2011, OGP

  90. Provide Enforcement and Compliance Data Online

    US0004, 2011, Environment and Climate

  91. Advocate for Legislation Requiring Meaningful Disclosure

    US0005, 2011, Legislation & Regulation

  92. Apply Lessons from Recovery Act to Increate Spending Transparency

    US0006, 2011, Fiscal Transparency

  93. Government-Wide Reporting Requirements for Foreign Aid

    US0007, 2011, Aid

  94. Use Performanc.Gov to Improve Government Performance and Accountability

    US0008, 2011, Public Service Delivery

  95. Overhaul the Public Participation Interface on Regulations.Gov

    US0009, 2011, Legislation & Regulation

  96. Launch Expertnet

    US0010, 2011, E-Government

  97. Launch International Space Apps Competition

    US0011, 2011, E-Government

  98. Launch “We the People”

    US0012, 2011,

  99. Open Source “We the People”

    US0013, 2011,

  100. Develop Best Practices and Metrics for Public Participation

    US0014, 2011, Capacity Building

  101. Professionalize the FOIA Administration

    US0015, 2011, Right to Information

  102. Harness the Power of Technology

    US0016, 2011, Right to Information

  103. Advocate for Legislation on Whistleblower Protection

    US0017, 2011, E-Government

  104. Explore Executive Authority to Protect Whistleblowers

    US0018, 2011, Legislation & Regulation

  105. Implement the EITI

    US0019, 2011, Extractive Industries

  106. Partnership to Build on Recent Progress

    US0020, 2011, Extractive Industries

  107. Promote Data.Gov to Spur Innovation Through Open Sourcing

    US0021, 2011, Open Data

  108. Data.Gov: Foster Communities on Data.Gov

    US0022, 2011, Education

  109. Begin Online National Dialogue with the American Public

    US0023, 2011, Public Participation

  110. Update Government-Wide Policies for Websites

    US0024, 2011,

  111. Promote Smart Disclosure to Ensure Timely Release of Information

    US0025, 2011, Capacity Building

  112. Publish Guidelines on Scientific Data

    US0026, 2011, Capacity Building