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Executive Branchers Draw White House a Road Map to Participatory Government

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, April 9 2009

So much of the focus in open government circles of late has been on political transparency, but staffers from 23 different federal agencies (EPA, CDC, DOE, FEMA, NIH, FERC, Park Service, and more) recently gathered in Washington DC to brainstorm on that lower-profile aspect of open government: tackling the challenge of engaging the American people in their democracy. The conference convened by AmericaSpeaks, Demos, Harvard's Ash Institute, and others produced a 51-page report that lists seven solid suggestions from how to get from where we are today to a more participatory future:

  1. Develop a high-level, inter-agency governance structure for implementing the Open Government Directive.
  2. Establish systems that will support government-wide adoption of participation and collaboration practices.
  3. Demonstrate the value of participation through highly visible Presidential initiatives.
  4. Respond to the barrier that public and stakeholder participation are not valued inside agencies.
  5. Ensure that participation and collaboration activities are adequately funded.
  6. Address institutional barriers that reward the status quo.
  7. Address existing rules and regulations that impede participation and collaboration.

Details on each recommendation are in the report (pdf).