There is no single definition of open government; rather there seems to be as many flavours of open government as there are of government in itself. This makes sense as open government must always take as its starting point the local context of government. On the other hand, on a more general level there is agreement that open government is about making government more open, accountable, and responsive.
Often open government efforts focus primarily on one of two general objectives: strengthening democracy or stimulating and supporting innovation.
Some may argue that the term open government refers to a specific approach to strengthening democracy, where stimulating and supporting innovation is a secondary thing, and that the reverse – a specific approach to stimulating and supporting innovation where the strengthening of democracy is a secondary thing, should be referred to as government 2.0. The idea behind the term government 2.0 is that government may take advantage of web 2.0 technologies and principles, such as social media, sharing technology and content, creative collaboration and user generated content, in order enable innovation and value creation.
Taken together, open government and government 2.0 encompass endeavours such as
- Increasing access to information about governmental activities, transparency and accountability
- Making public sector data available for all as a digital resource – innovation
- Inviting, supporting and leveraging civic dialogue and participation – dialogue
- Implementing the highest standards of integrity throughout public administrations – integrity
- Increasing access to new technology and media for openness and accountability, dialogue and accountability
- Making public sector digital infrastructure available as a platform, innovation and collaboration
Open Government can help ensure that public services and information delivered in the best possible manner in a timely and effective way, it can stimulate and support innovation and value creation throughout society and it can help strengthen transparency, participation, collaboration and cohesion. A key driver is the utilisation of new technologies and media which allows government to make information and technology available to citizens and businesses and helps increase, widen and strengthen both formal and informal collaboration between the public sector and civil society.
It is essential to understand that open government is a practice, it needs to be done not just talked about, and that it is a process which requires ongoing and sustained commitment. To achieve results, governments must acknowledge this and act accordingly.
Our senior consultants have extensive experience with open government and government 2.0 from policy and strategy level to project and community level.
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