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Executive Summary

The third installment of our open government plan outlines several forward-looking goals and highlights the work that all of our Operating and Staff Divisions anticipate conducting to build on past successes.  It also includes all of the elements required by the Office of Management and Budget Open Government Directive issued after the President’s Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government on January 21, 2009.[1] The aspects of government transparency, collaboration, and participation have many meanings and applications in our large organization, with a very broadly and diversely defined mission of serving the public.  Our planning approach embraces diversity of opinion, promotes dialogue across the organization, and seeks solutions through open innovation practices across our OPDIVs and STAFFDIVs.  To accomplish this we use a variety of ways to seek input from within the organization and leverage that to engage the public.  In an organization of this size, it is impossible to capture every program and activity that embraces open government practices.  Instead, in this plan, we draw upon best practices, key examples of new concepts, and multiple networking and committee structures embedded in the HHS organizational framework.

New features addressed in this plan include our work to promote proactive disclosures of information, our reporting mechanisms for privacy compliance, our efforts to enhance workforce knowledge of whistleblower protections, and how we are advancing our digital services strategy that uses public feedback to enhance our virtual connections with Americans. 

This year, seven new “flagship” initiatives open broad new vistas of transparency, participation, and collaboration to the public.  Common among them is the embrace of new technology platforms, high level of consumer engagement in the processes, and the high impact that these efforts are deemed to provide in improving health, health care, and services to the public.  In addition, the plan highlights connections to new administrative guidance on open data, the expanded HHS public access policy to publications developed from federally-sponsored research programs, and other mandated activities across HHS that relate to open government practices.

We also issued a new strategic plan[2] this year, which outlines our general, strategic vision for HHS. In this plan, we integrated open government principles to provide new opportunities for applying focus and accountability.  This plan includes new elements of engaging the workforce to reinforce the elements of the plan and to empower employees to bring innovative solutions into the discussion and action.  While aspects of open government principles permeate throughout the entire plan, Strategic Goal 4: Ensure Efficiency, Transparency, Accountability, and Effectiveness of HHS Programs focuses specifically on our open government activities and demonstrates the commitment to them for the foreseeable future.

Since the publication of our second open government plan in 2012, we advanced many important programmatic areas that underscore our commitment to the spirit of open government. While the landmark work involved in implementing the Affordable Care Act may be the most recognizable example of open government in the past two years, with improved transparency about the costs and options for health insurance and the tools and resources to acquire it, and millions of more citizens now participating in our health care system, HHS has many other initiatives that have met the marks established in our last plan.  For example, within the Office of the Secretary, the IDEA Lab was developed to establish new pathways and programs that equip the workforce with new workflow processes, new methods, and communication and analytic tools that will help accelerate the adoption of open government principles. Through specific projects and activities, we plan to test alternative approaches to improve communications, fiscal reporting, oversight, and other management activities.  While some of these methods may not succeed with the first attempt, this work better equips us with information about our organization to make a more informed effort at finding solutions in the future.  We will also be sharing with our employees and stakeholders the results of open government projects at the department, so that others can learn the work and apply them to their own situations and challenges. In addition, we’ll be emphasizing the use of goals and metrics in projects that will allow us to know where we are making progress and learn where new approaches and greater effort is needed. 
 


[2] Department of Health and Human Services Strategic Plan for 2014-2018.  http://www.hhs.gov/strategic-plan/priorities.html
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