How We Developed Our Open Government Plan
How does one develop a coherent Open Government Plan in a place this big and diverse?
First, we decided that our approach needed to be interdisciplinary. The advancement of transparency, participation, and collaboration requires policy, legal, technology, public affairs, financial, and operations leadership. We therefore created an HHS Open Government Steering Group comprised of all of these disciplines, co-chaired by HHS’s Chief Technology Officer and Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, to oversee the formulation of our Open Government Plan.
Second, it was obvious that our approach needed to coordinate thinking and action across all of the many agencies and offices of HHS. We chose to make this happen by using established cross-HHS councils, with representation from all of our offices and divisions, and which were perfectly positioned to help advance key aspects of Open Government:
- The HHS Data Council and Chief Information Officer (CIO) Council, which focused on the transparency section of our plan
- The recently formed HHS Innovation Council, which formulated the participation and collaboration section of the plan
With the help of these Councils and key leaders across HHS’s divisions, we identified an array of “open government innovators” across the department – who are truly the folks taking the lead on advancing transparency, participation, and collaboration at HHS. It is these innovators who represent the heart and soul of the Open Government movement at HHS and whose energy and ideas inform and drive this plan.
Third, we felt like there was much to be gained from collaboration with our fellow departments across the federal government. We benefited greatly from participation in a government-wide Open Government Steering Committee convened by the White House and from a volunteer workgroup of agencies including HHS, the Department of Transportation, the Department of the Treasury, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Labor, the General Services Administration, the National Archives and Records Administration, and others, which hammered out a set of Open Government “leading practices” to help guide our thinking.
Finally, we felt that it was vital to gather public input regarding how we should shape our plan. On February 6, along with other federal departments, we debuted our HHS Open Government website – www.hhs.gov/open. Among other things, our website posted an outline of our plan and invited folks to share their ideas regarding how we could advance transparency, participation, and collaboration at HHS. We blogged about specific Open Government topics, posing questions to the public and responding to public input. And through our interagency volunteer workgroup focused on open government “leading practices,” we received significant input from Open Government advocates that did much to shape our plan.
Congratulations HHS on getting an overall green flag according to the Initial Assessment of Open Government Plans! (Source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/open/around)
Helo, my Name is Iris Ina GallenmÃ¼ller. IÂ´m Living in Erfurt, Thuringia This is a very good Plan. I want to introduce a Total Quality Management Systems in Germany (TQM) But it`s ver difficult. Regards Iris Ina GallenmÃ¼ller European Quality Systems Manager
I like how you have leveraged a broad range of existing work and new technology, using a range of Department talent, in the spirit of openness. I hope that you get public participation to keep the effort moving forward.
I like that one can comment on the sections/sub-sections, but the outline page has a "Tell us what you think" box but I couldn't see how to comment on that page or the report as a whole. Among the things that I noted were that a page viewer can see easily how to download sections but the pdf for the whole report is off on the right side and might be missed for a while. I for one started reading sections before realizing that I could get the whole report from that page.
Having a policy in print is great. However, there can be a huge difference between "policy for public consumption" & the real "unofficial" organizational culture. Organizational culture is what counts & is driven from the very top. Therefore, if HHS has this great Open Government policy but it's representatives continue to evade questions, mince words, equivocate, ignore/withhold context in the media, then an Open Government policy is worthless.