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Department of Commerce Open Government Plan Version 3.0 Published

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Guest blog post by Dr. Catrina Purvis, Chief Privacy Officer and Director of Open Government

On January 21, 2009, President Obama issued the first executive memorandum of his Administration, entitled “Transparency and Open Government.”  This memorandum established three guiding principles for the conduct of government activities.  Government should be transparent.  Government should be participatory.  Government should be collaborative.

The Department of Commerce (the Department) is fully committed to these principles, and we are pleased to present the 2014 Department of Commerce Open Government Plan, version 3.0 (the Plan).  The Plan is updated annually, and this release represents its fifth publication.  It builds on the Department’s long history of information dissemination and the adoption of new tools and technology to facilitate a more transparent and accessible agency.  The Department will continue to encourage and strive for increased participation and collaboration among its employees, with other government agencies and the American people. 

This year’s Plan provides an overview of the Department’s new 2014-2018 Strategic Plan, describes Department program and functional areas which are critical to Open Government, features three “flagship” Open Government initiatives, and highlights Open Government happenings of ongoing initiatives and activities across the Department’s Bureaus and Operating Units (BOUs). It is available on the Department’s Open Government website at www.commerce.gov/open.

We invite the American public to join in as the Department moves toward becoming a more open and effective provider of government services and information. Please feel free to provide feedback by submitting comments to open@doc.gov.

Commerce Publishes Open Government Plan Version 2.0

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In response to the White House's Open Government Directive, Commerce created and released a Department-wide plan for Open Government on April 7, 2010.  Commerce has previously published two versions, 1.0 and 1.5 of the plan that can be found in the plan archive. Commerce is continually working to improve transparency, participation and collaboration. Many of these efforts are identified in the Commerce Open Government Plan Version 2.0 released April 5, 2012.

As outlined in the Directive itself, our Open Government Plan will serve as a "public roadmap that details how [Commerce] will incorporate the principles of the president’s January 21, 2009, Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government into the core mission objectives of [the Department]."

In version 2.0 Commerce talks about 43 programs and initiatives. Previously these programs and initiatives were listed in a single table with the descriptions following laid out under the operating unit responsible for completion. In the new plan, the single table has been separated into tables of initiatives by operating unit with status and estimate/actual completion dates. The operating units have also been added into the table of contents so you can link directly to an operating unit to find its initiatives.

Comments Encouraged

Throughout the process, Commerce's Open Government Team has taken ideas and suggestions from employees and the public. Many of the changes in Commerce initiatives and programs have been generated through this open partnership. As Commerce moves forward in the support of American businesses, it is vital that this communication of ideas continues to grow.  To help Commerce keep the conversation fluid, email your ideas and suggestion to open@doc.gov.


Evaluating Commerce's Open Government Plan Version 1.1

The Commerce Open Government team was recently asked to assess just how well we answered the core questions of the Open Government Directive with the Open Government Plan we released earlier this month.
The table below establishes “grades” for each of the major components of our Open Government Plan and the overall result.  These grades were decided by looking at the 30 distinct questions/requirements laid out in the Directive itself and determining whether our plan fully satisfied (Green), partially satisfied (Yellow) or failed to address (Red).  You can see the full-evaluation by clicking the “Read More” link below.

Overall, we think the Commerce Department, like most other Federal Agencies tasked with responding, has partially satisfied the requirements for the Open Government plans and we're working quickly to address those parts that aren't quite there or could be better. You will notice that we have the previous and current versions on our Open Gov Web site.  We are doing this to allow public viewing of where we started leading to where we are now.  Our previous versions are under the Open Gov Plan history area.  We'll continue to make changes, as soon as they're completed, we'll put them up on this site and make sure you know about them.  Please use the feedback section to give us your comments on the plan.

While we would have liked to be green in all areas and fully satisfied every requirement for our Open Government Plan, we know the plan we publish is a living document this is version 1.1 release it has some updates to the previous version.  As we move forward we are working with all of our partners in both internal Commerce Bureaus and external partners to ensure the Commerce Plan grows and meets the public needs for information sharing.

Overall Grades for Commerce Open Government Plan

Formulating the Plan in the Open

Green

Transparency Component

Yellow

Participation Component

Green

Collaboration Component

Yellow

Flagship Initiatives Component

Yellow

Overall Rating

Yellow

Click "Read More" below to see our complete evaluation.

Evaluating Commerce's Open Government Plan, version 1.0

The Commerce Open Government team was recently asked to assess just how well we answered the core questions of the Open Government Directive with the Open Government Plan we released earlier this month.

The table below establishes “grades” for each of the major components of our Open Government Plan and the overall result.  These grades were decided by looking at the 30 distinct questions/requirements laid out in the Directive itself and determining whether our plan fully satisfied (Green), partially satisfied (Yellow) or failed to address (Red).  You can see the full-evaluation by clicking the “Read More” link below.

Overall, we think the Commerce Department, like most other Federal Agencies tasked with responding, has partially satisfied the requirements for the Open Government plans and we're working quickly to address those parts that aren't quite there or could be better.  We'll make these changes over the next few weeks and, as soon as they're completed, we'll put them up on this site and make sure you know about them.

While we would have liked to have fully satisfied every requirement for our Open Government Plan from the start (like our friends at HHS, DOT and NASA), we also knew the plan we published on April 7 was a 1.0 release.  In the weeks ahead, we'll do everything we can to make the report we were proud to unveil earlier this month an even stronger.

Overall Grades for Commerce Open Government Plan

Formulating the Plan in the Open

Green

Transparency Component

Yellow

Participation Component

Green

Collaboration Component

Yellow

Flagship Initiatives Component

Yellow

Overall Rating

Yellow

Click "Read More" below to see our complete evaluation.

Secretary Gary Locke: Our Open Government Plan

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One of the most troubling things I’ve noticed in politics over the last few years has been the American public's growing disconnect from its government.

It’s understandable. Too often, all they hear is the usual noise – who’s up, who’s down, who’s in, who’s out. That’s what gets covered. That’s what makes headlines.

For Americans, business as usual in Washington has reinforced the belief that the government benefits the special interests and the well-connected at the expense of the American people. They seek information that can be difficult to find and see taxpayer dollars disappearing without a trace and lobbyists wielding undue influence.

Since the day he entered office, President Obama has been determined to change the old ways of Washington.

As part of that effort, he’s made an unprecedented commitment to opening the government to the people it serves. These initiatives will have a lasting impact, permanently breaking down barriers between the American people and the government they pay for.

Today, federal departments and agencies are putting forward concrete plans for making operations and data more transparent, and expanding opportunities for citizen participation, collaboration, and oversight. These steps will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness across the government.

I’m tremendously proud of the work the Open Government Team has put into creating this first iteration of the Commerce Department’s Open Government Plan. It establishes clear goals and benchmarks for success, and lays the foundation for continued work on increasing openness, participation and collaboration at Commerce in the months and years to come.

But open government is not the work of any single office.

The entire Obama administration is moving forward to translate the values of openness into lasting improvements in the way government makes decisions, solves problems and addresses national challenges. It’s a commitment we all share, one that will deepen the American people’s understanding of how their institutions work and their tax dollars are spent.

Gary Locke is the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce