There’s an open government policy boom, and now’s the time for tech communities to weigh in.
That’s one of the themes Alisha Green, a policy associate at the Sunlight Foundation, will address this month at Technical.ly’s Rise conference.
The two-day event will bring together civic tech leaders from the five markets we cover across the Northeast Corridor, to trade ideas and share their experience on topics like open government, community organizing and public-private partnerships. Learn more about Rise
Green will be discussing the “best practices for crafting and implementing open data policy,” which, she said, is “achievable for governments with any size budget,” as long as they are dedicated.
Open government is becoming a thing nationwide. Today, 47 local governments have adopted an open government policy — a number that’s nearly tripled since last year. In D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray issued a plan to overhaul the government’s policy in July.
“It’s encouraging,” said Green, “that there are people within the D.C. government who clearly want to advance open data and the broader concept of open government.”
But snags tend to appear in the implementation process
— and that’s where more work needs to be done, said Green. Not just in D.C., but throughout the country. “We believe that the strengths of any open data policy is in its implementation,” she said.
And though tech communities are great champions of open government, Green also cautioned that the torch should be shared with others. “Community groups, researchers and resident associations,” she said, “are understanding that open data can have an impact on their every day lives.”
One good example, perhaps, is the Sunlight Foundation itself.
Originally created to improve transparency at the federal level, the Dupont Circle-based nonprofit has become a key advocate for open government at the municipal level. In 2013, Sunlight received a $2.1 million grant from Google.org to conduct further research on the issue.
Sunlight has also been an advocate closer to home, weighing in on the roll-out of the mayor’s July directive. Green suggested in a blog post that the policy was still lacking in at least 11 ways — and potentially more. It did not, for instance, ensure a continuous access to data, require agencies to file electronically or extend the open policy to all public information.
Want to find out more about open government and other topics that matter to the tech community? Rise will be taking place in Philly from Oct. 22-24. Other featured D.C. speakers include Code for DC
co-organizer Matt Bailey
and Jess Solomon
, the director of Art in Praxis