Making Government Operations More Open

Government-wide Leadership, Implementation, and Enforcement on Transparency

For too long, access to information about government activities has risen and fallen with the whims of elected and appointed leaders. Agencies’ commitments to transparency vary widely. There is little sharing of best practices and virtually no Executive Branch oversight of the implementation of transparency policies. In order for the situation to improve, there must be one office designated to oversee these issues on a government-wide basis. Whether called the Office of the Chief Transparency Officer or given another title, that office should be granted the authority to issue implementing guidelines to make the Open Government Directive a reality and should have a leadership and coordinating role with respect to the other components of the government that are charged with transparency responsibilities, including the General Services Administration, the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Justice (and its Office of Information Policy), the National Archives and Records Administration (and its Office of Government Information Services), and the agencies’ Chief FOIA Officers. Ultimately, however, for this office to have an impact, it must be granted authority to direct improvements for agencies that fail to meet the President’s goals.

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Idea No. 561