Update to National Action Plan for Open Data Sets Government Goals for Next 2 Years

Published: December 18, 2013

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On December 5, 2013, the administration released its second open government plan, building on the initial National Action Plan efforts form 2011. The initiative touches on reforming aspects of technology use and implementation, a number of which will impact how government organization operate in the years ahead.

As part of the Open Government Partnership, the administration set 26 goals for modernizing and enhancing access to information as well as improving management of public resources. Since then, progress has been made across those 26 areas with 24 initial commitments completed. The Second Open Government National Action Plan for the United States of America outlines a roadmap for the next 2 years, listing various activities around building a more open and transparent government. Highlights of goals with particular relevance for federal agencies and government contractors include:

Modernize management of government records– the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will work with agencies to implement new guidance for the automated electronic management of email records and to progress the Presidential Directive to manage email records in an electronic format by the end of 2016.

Modernize the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) - Developing common regulations and practices for federal agencies as well as improving internal agency FOIA processes.

Transform the security classification system – The Classification Review Committee will collaborate with the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and Department of State to review and declassify historical data on nuclear activities.

Support and improve agency implementation of Open Government Plans – The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) will leverage existing open government organizations to develop guidelines for federal agencies as they update their Open Government Plans in the coming months, including new measures on proactive disclosures.

Increase transparency in spending – Making federal spending data easily available in open and machine-readable formats. Publishing additional federal contracting data to increase transparency and accountability of the federal procurement system.

Continue to improve – The government has improved the website by releasing progress updates on agency and cross-agency goals. In the coming year, additions will include new performance goals with implementation strategies and enhancements to website functionality.

Open data to the public – Extends commitments to make government data more accessible and useful for the public. These efforts will include steps to manage government data as a strategic asset by tasking agencies to develop and inventory of their data and list datasets that are public (or could be made public). A new version of will be launched to make data more accessible and useable by cataloging all federal agency datasets.

Reform  government websites – Continuing to implement the Digital Government Strategy, improvements will be made to websites to promote citizen-centric resources. As part of this effort, OMB will update policies for federal agency websites in 2014.

If past performance is any indication of how these goals will be approached by agencies and government organizations, we can expect incremental updates as more granular plans are set in place. With a little luck, coordinating details around progress toward these targets will get easier with practice.