5.2 Other Initiatives
GSA continues to expand open government by building and sharing new platforms that other agencies and countries can use. The following initiatives support the U.S. National Action Plan by sharing resources across countries, creating a more effective government and providing greater accountability. These initiatives feature technical platforms that support the administration’s strategic initiative for Federal performance reporting and open source sharing.
Performance.gov Enhancement. The Office of Management and Budget began working with agencies to develop a plan for modernizing performance reporting at the beginning of the administration, and the Performance Improvement Council identified this as its top strategic priority in 2010. As a first step, OMB and GSA developed a beta version of Performance.gov in fiscal year 2010 focusing on agency priority goals. The site allows performance information to be communicated in a format that users can more easily organize for multiple purposes. Going forward, to meet Government Performance and Results Act Modernization Act requirements, OMB plans to work with GSA and other agencies to put in place a more robust platform that helps agencies meet their reporting requirements under the act in a way that is efficient and useful. The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010, signed into law Jan. 4, 2011, put in statute a variety of reforms being pursued by the administration to modernize the Federal Government’s nearly two-decade performance management framework. To further administration progress, Congress included transparency provisions in the Act, which require the following:
- Develop and deploy a single Federal website that complies with the act and provides performance information for Federal and agency priority goals;
- Develop a consolidated list of Federal Government programs for inclusion on the site; and
- Consolidate all core agency strategic plan information and annual performance reports on this website in a “searchable and machine readable format.”
Performance.gov, managed by GSA, provides the public access to Federal performance information. It improves access to and understanding of this information through a central site and in a consistent manner. We make available new performance information on the site and highlight insights into the commitments of the government to data-driven performance decision-making. We invite the public to offer suggestions for improving Federal performance management and the Performance.gov site itself. The performance information itself undergoes congressional consultation as required by the GPRA Modernization Act. Increased consistency in performance information facilitates the identification of best practices and opportunities for shared goal establishment. The Federal program list will provide:
- Insights into the work agencies do;
- Enhanced understanding by the public of what the government does, and
- Insights into the complexities of the Federal Government to employees.
Open Government Platform. In July 2011, as part of the continuing U.S./India Strategic Dialogue, the two countries committed to jointly develop an open source “Data.gov” platform by early 2012. Leveraging the high technology strengths and institutional expertise of both countries, the “open source” platform is intended to provide public access to government information via a user-friendly website and to streamline delivery of e-government applications to the public. To view the announcement, visit "Open Source" Platform.
The U.S. and India began working on the project, initially called “Data.gov-in-a-Box” to combine the capabilities of both the U.S. Data.gov site and India’s document portal into an open-source package that would be available to any level of government throughout the world, free of charge and intellectual property constraints. Teams from the GSA's Data.gov Program Management Office and India’s National Informatics Centre, India’s premier agency for information technology, began working together in the summer of 2011 to develop Data.gov-in-a-Box. The kickoff was a weeklong knowledge exchange in Washington, D.C.
The U.S. and India teams divided the work on the project, renamed the Open Government Platform to reflect its broad scope. The U.S. team developed the code for the Data Management System. The system provides the tools and capabilities for an automated process for publishing data in the platform. The India team developed the code for the website and communities, based in large part on the existing Data.gov but with significant enhancements. The U.S. team completed the code for the system in November 2011 and immediately made the code available publicly on GitHub with additional information on Data.gov. The India team developed the code for the website and communities, and the U.S. and India teams integrated and tested the platform package, with the launch in March 2012. Discussions are ongoing to identify interested countries for the initial launch of the Open Government Platform. Once the platform is complete, any government around the world, at any level of government, will be able to use it to quickly launch its own open government platform to provide access to government data, documents and improve services to the public. In addition, the United States has committed to using the platform for its own Data.gov site.
The Open Government Platform project is part of the U.S. National Action Plan, as one of its commitments to the open government partnership, a new multilateral initiative aimed at securing concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower the public, fight corruption and harness new technologies. The platform also fully supports the president’s memorandum on transparency and open government, as it will make government more transparent, participatory and collaborative. By providing the platform as a complete, open-source package, governments across the world and within the United States, at any level, will be able to quickly launch their own open government sites to provide more transparency and improve services to the public. The communities module of the platform package will also make it easier for greater participation and collaboration by government agencies and the public around specific topics addressing key challenges such as health, education and energy. For more information, visit Open Government Platform. This initiative is also featured in the U.S. National Action Plan.