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Meeting with White House officials this Friday

I was invited by Nicholas Fraser of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to have two NCDD representatives attend a one-hour discussion in DC this Friday with White House officials and 6 or 7 additional stakeholder groups.  The invitation described the meeting as an opportunity for White House officials “to hear your thoughts on a proposed US National Plan per the Open Government Partnership.”

OGP is a new global, multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. OGP is overseen by a multi-stakeholder International Steering Committee, comprised of governments including the U.S., the U.K., Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, The Philippines, and South Africa, and leading civil society institutions.

The invitation continued…

“This will be a chance for us to listen and hear your input on a US National Plan to meet the  four core open government principles as laid out by the Partnership:  transparency, citizen participation, accountability, and technology and innovation.”

I have invited NCDD Board member Lucas Cioffi and Wayne Burke (director of the Open Forum Foundation, an NCDD org member) to attend as NCDD’s representatives. From my invitation, it looks like Archon Fung (Harvard’s JFK School) was the only other invitee from the D&D community. Others were mainly from the transparency community — groups like the Sunlight Foundation and RevenueWatch.

In the interest of transparency and participation, I wanted to announce that NCDD will be attending and that Lucas and Wayne will be sharing their reflections and learnings from the meeting via the NCDD blog.  I also wanted to invite those of you who are following Open Gov developments to comment here on the NCDD blog about what YOU might contribute if you were attending this meeting (the post’s home is www.ncdd.org/5468).  What advice would you share with White House officials about the progress of the Open Gov movement and the potential of the Open Gov Partnership?

One document that could provide some good food-for-thought is the OGP roadmap, which lays out the requirements for all participating countries’ public consultations.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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  1. The OGP roadmap lays out specific requirements with regard to public participation.

    Back in the Spring of 2009, a group of organizations led by NCDD, IAP2 and the Co-Intelligence Institute developed the Core Principles for Public Engagement (see: https://ncdd.org/pep/). It’s hard to tell to what extent these recommendations were ever fully embraced by the administration, but they still apply today.

    This latest Open Government initiative is a good opportunity to once again present the work we all did two years ago. Maybe this time around there will be more of an effort to get the public participation pieces right.

    Look forward to hearing how the meeting went.

  2. Thank you for the reminder to use the PEP principles, Tim! And you have a nice post up on the Intellitics blog at http://www.intellitics.com/blog/2011/07/19/open-government-partnership/ about the OGP that people should check out as well.

  3. Thanks Sandy for putting this multi-national effort on our radar screen. We’ll look forward to seeing what they come up with.

  4. Although I am pleasantly surprised to discover another contingent of Open Government advocates, I am concerned that their “roadmap” is attempting is too ambitious in its timetable.

    In the U.S., President Obama explained his OpenGov principles & policy in January 2009 in his Presidential Memorandum on Transparent and Open Government. Later that year (11 months), the White House issued the Open Government Directive with specific instructions for implementing the President policy.

    But it is the opposite in the OpenGov Partnership’s “roadmap”. First a country must write an “Action Plan” (with public consultation by latter half of September!) and only THEN adopt a “Declaration of Principles” (that is not yet drafted).


    I’m afraid that someone “higher-up” is pushing the OMB bureaucrats to deliver the “Action Plan” by the time of the U.N. meeting in September. With such a short timeframe, there would be NO “public consultation” on the Action Plan as specified in the OGP’s “roadmap”.

    That time would be better spent drafting a much shorter document (e.g., like Obama’s 1-pager): the OGP’s “Declaration of Principles”.

  5. Lucas Cioffi says:

    Thanks for the ideas, everyone. I will hand out copies of the Public Engagement Principles NCDD designed two years ago, I’ll express the concern that full-scale public engagement must be well-planned and that September provides even less time than they used for public engagement during the original (smaller) Open Government Directive, and I will bring up the central point that public participation is as critical to opengov as transparency is. I’ll take notes and report back on the NCDD blog.

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