A key factor to enabling collaboration across federal, state and local governments -- and enabling reuse of associated regulatory and spending data to improve government operations -- is to get accurate and timely reports from the field in a format that is highly reusable on the web. This is a massive challenge, with tens of thousands of state and local government entities alone among the universe of potential organizations required to report regulatory or spending activity to the federal government.
The good news is that the federal government has tackled such reporting situations before -- in partnership with state and local governments -- and can adapt successful models to enable efficient and effective data collection and dissemination.
The federal government could build upon the successes of existing federal information exchange programs, such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s Central Data Exchange (CDX). The idea is to adapt free open source data exchange tools that the government already uses for other mission purposes to aggregate and publish the regulatory and spending data across multiple missions.
For example, EPA's CDX (http://xml.coverpages.org/epa-cdx.html) applies this approach with the help of open source gateway technology that helps states report data required by environmental regulations. This approach can be adjusted at relatively low cost to help collect and disseminate information on programs that span federal, state and local jurisdictions.
For additional information this idea in correlation to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, see the following:
National Dialogue on the Recovery Act: http://www.thenationaldialogue.org/ideas/adapt-successful-federal-data-exchange-programs-to-arra-recipient-reporting
Tackling Recovery Act Transparency: http://collaborativegov.org/MyBlog/tackling-transparency.html
Coverage from the DorobekInsider.com
Cracking the Tough Nut of Recovery Act Reporting