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Open Government Needs Public Trust

The piece below comes from the Gov. 2.0 Watch blog, a project of our organizational partners at the Davenport Institute. The reflections shared on building trust in government as a critical component of public engagement and open government initiatives are good food for thought, and we encourage you to read more below or find the original post here.

DavenportInst-logoIn the wake of recent scandals involving California lawmakers, this CA Fwd interview with Leon Panetta is a needed reminder of the importance of integrity in public service. Ed Coghlan comments:

Three months into 2014 and three California State Senators have had brushes with the law. Needless to say, public confidence in elected officials is shaken.

It’s understandable, but like any setback in life, it’s also an opportunity to reflect and change for the better.

Now is the time for our elected officials to enact immediate and meaningful reform in response to alleged state-level corruption that has gotten national media attention. Only then will public trust in government be on the road to recovery.

CA Fwd is attempting to “catalyze a conversation on rebuilding public confidence in government,” and released a roadmap called The Path Toward Trust in April. More information is available here.

The Huffington Post published a related article last month by Gavin Newsom and Zachary Bookman, highlighting successes in the “Open Government movement” in Palo Alto, Bell, San Francisco, and the California State Lands Commission, that they argue have helped to increase public trust and civic engagement:

As a sector, government typically embraces technology well-behind the consumer curve. This leads to disheartening stories, like veterans waiting months or years for disability claims due to outdated technology or the troubled rollout of the Healthcare.gov website. This is changing.

Cities and states are now the driving force in a national movement to harness technology to share a wealth of government information and data. Many forward thinking local governments now provide effective tools to the public to make sense of all this data.

New platforms can transform data from legacy systems into meaningful visualizations. Instant, web-based access to this information not only saves time and money, but also helps government make faster and better decisions. This allows them to serve their communities and builds trust with citizens.

You can find the original version of this post at http://publicpolicy.pepperdine.edu/davenport-institute/gov20watch/index.php/2014/04/public-trust-open-government.

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Roshan Bliss
An inclusiveness trainer and group process facilitator, Roshan Bliss serves as NCDD's Youth Engagement Coordinator and Blog Curator. Combining his belief that decisions are better when everyone is involved with his passion for empowering young people, his work focuses on increasing the involvement of youth and students in public conversations.

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