Skip Navigation
United States

Expand Access to Justice to Promote Federal Programs (US0087)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: United States Action Plan 2015-2017

Action Plan Cycle: 2015

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: The White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

E-Government

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: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Equal access to justice helps lift individuals and families out of poverty, or helps to keep them securely in the middle class, and bolsters the public’s faith in the justice system. The White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable, which currently includes 20 Federal offices and is co-led by the White House Domestic Policy Council and the Department of Justice, works to raise awareness about the profound impact that legal aid programs can have in advancing efforts to promote access to health and housing, education and employment, family stability, and public safety. These agencies work diligently to determine which programs that help the vulnerable and underserved could be more effective and efficient, and produce better outcomes for the public when legal services are among the supportive services provided. On September 24, 2015, President Obama issued a memorandum intended to institutionalize this Roundtable, expand the participating agencies, and include consideration of equal access to justice for low-income people in both the civil and criminal justice systems. The Roundtable will seek input from civil society, and will annually report on the progress of this work.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 35. Expand Access to Justice

Commitment Text:

Expand Access to Justice to Promote Federal Programs

Equal access to justice helps lift individuals and families out of poverty, or helps to keep them securely in the middle class, and bolsters the public’s faith in the justice system. The White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable, which currently includes 20 Federal offices and is co-led by the White House Domestic Policy Council and the Department of Justice, works to raise awareness about the profound impact that legal aid programs can have in advancing efforts to promote access to health and housing, education and employment, family stability, and public safety. These agencies work diligently to determine which programs that help the vulnerable and underserved could be more effective and efficient, and produce better outcomes for the public when legal services are among the supportive services provided. On September 24, 2015, President Obama issued a memorandum intended to institutionalize this Roundtable, expand the participating agencies, and include consideration of equal access to justice for low-income people in both the civil and criminal justice systems. The Roundtable will seek input from civil society, and will annually report on the progress of this work.

Responsible Institutions: White House Domestic Policy Council (DPC), Department of Justice (DOJ)

Supporting Institutions: 21 Federal partners that make up the White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable (WH-LAIR)

Start Date: Not Specified End Date: Not Specified

Commitment Aim

This commitment aimed to institutionalize the White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable[1] and expand the number of participating agencies. It further aimed for the roundtable to seek civil society input and report annually on its progress.

Status

Midterm: Substantial

At the midterm, the government had made substantial progress on this commitment. In February 2016, the roundtable held its initial meeting and engaged with civil society via a series of presentations; 22 agencies participated in the roundtable as of March 2016.[2] An initial annual report remained outstanding at the close of the midterm reporting period.

End of term: Complete

Progress on this commitment is complete at the end of term. On 30 November 2016, the roundtable (via the Department of Justice) released its inaugural annual report titled “Expanding Access to Justice, Strengthening Federal Programs.”[3] The report describes how legal aid can be used to advance a variety of federal priorities, such as keeping children in school and families at work. Appendix B of the report briefly describes the roundtable’s history of engagement with civil society. From June 2016 through the close of the end-of-term reporting period, this included a Civil Society Consultation on Access to Justice Indicators and Data Collection event organized in September 2016 in conjunction with Columbia University, Fordham University, and the Open Society Foundation.[4] The report notes that the event was attended by dozens of organizations. A list of event presentations[5] obtained separately corroborates this statement, indicating that various universities and civil society organizations working on legal aid (e.g. the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, National Employment Law Project, Center for Court Innovation, etc.) attended the workshop. Collectively, these activities represent a substantial advancement in progress relative to the midterm, resulting in the completion of this commitment.

Did It Open Government?

Civic Participation: Marginal

This commitment marginally opened government with respect to civic participation by giving civil society a new opportunity to engage with the roundtable on issues pertinent to legal aid on several separate occasions. However, as the roundtable’s engagement with civil society over the course of the reporting period constituted a series of one-off engagements as opposed to the development of a more institutionalized consultation mechanism,[6] the commitment cannot be said to have opened government more substantially.

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. The roundtable should nevertheless continue to engage meaningfully with civil society and ideally institutionalize a mechanism to facilitate more routine engagement with civil society stakeholders going forward.


[1] WhiteHouse Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable. “Homepage.” https://www.justice.gov/lair. Consulted 26 June 2017.

[2] Department of Justice, “Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz Convene Inaugural White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable.” 3 March 2016. https://bit.ly/2vVew18. See also 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.37. September 2016. https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/USA_NAP3_self-assessment-report_20160916.pdf. Consulted 2 October 2017.

[3] White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable. “Annual Report: Expanding Access to Justice, Strengthening Federal Programs.” November 2016 . https://www.justice.gov/atj/page/file/913981/download. Consulted 22 September 2017. For discussion of the report, see Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs. “White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable Issues First Annual Report to the President.” 30 November 2016. https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/white-house-legal-aid-interagency-roundtable-issues-first-annual-report-president. Consulted 22 September 2017.

[4] Ibid. Appendix B.

[5] Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute and the

National Center for Access to Justice at Fordham Law School. “Recommended Access to Justice Indicators for Implementation of Goal 16 of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in the United States Developed for the ‘Civil Society Consultation with White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable on Goal 16 Access to Justice Indicators and Data.’” 15 September 2016. http://ncforaj.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/NCAJ-CHRI-9-15-16-Recommended-AtJ-National-Indicators-12-1-16-final.pdf. Consulted 22 September 2016.

[6] At the time of writing, the roundtable’s website does not provide any indication of ongoing engagements involving civil society stakeholders, informing the assessment here. See White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable. “Homepage.” https://www.justice.gov/lair. Consulted 29 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