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Open Government Blog

accomplishments

The Office of Management and Budget recently requested a self-evaluation of each Executive Branch agency’s Open Government efforts. Some of the areas evaluated are publishing government information on our website, improving the quality of the information we provide, and ways we encourage participation with citizens. In 2010 we conducted our first self assessment. We are happy to report we have continued to make significant progress on all three tenets of openness: transparency, collaboration, and participation. Our recent activities include:

  • Hiring a dedicated records officer who has been systematically implementing improvements to records management at OPM.
  • Exploring social media for interacting with the public. We have Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube accounts, all accessible from our homepage. We were particularly pleased to receive kudos on a recent earthquake-related Facebook post: "Thanks for keeping us informed! You guys are doing a great job in using social media to keep feds informed."
  • Expanding online training for OPM employees with integrated social media tools, one of which allows users to share comments on books in our online library.
  • Using a crowdsourcing tool to get ideas from employees on how to improve our work and environment here at OPM.

Of course we will continue to work with our employees, our customers and other federal agencies on ways we can improve. In the next few weeks we’ll ask for your feedback on plain writing in our documents and then report back to you on our progress. We remain committed to working with and for you. Please feel free to leave your comments on how to make OPM more open here on our blog.


The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Open Government Team hosted 75 guests in an Open Government summit sponsored by the Open Forum Foundation on Friday, February 18, 2011.  The purpose of the event was to stimulate and document new thinking in the area of transparency. The summit was structured as a Focus Forum; a collaborative event that fostered innovative thinking and solutions on the topic of openness.  OPM, joined by other Federal agencies, academia, non-profit organizations and unions explored the benefits of taking ownership of transparency.

The summit provided an opportunity for participants to engage in collaborative discussions about Open Government best-practices, challenges, and innovations that span multiple agencies.  The collective knowledge gained from the discussions will be used to develop an inter-agency Guide to Owning Transparency that will be made available for use by all agencies. This information will assist agencies in taking concrete steps towards developing strategies to enable transparency, as subscribed in the White House Open Government Directive issued on December 8, 2009.  

It has been one year since the White House released the Open Government Directive, part of a greater initiative to make the Federal Government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative.

Through OPM’s Open Government Plan, we have made the commitment to working with stakeholders to meet their needs and making more information available to and usable by the public. We are engaging OPM employees, along with external stakeholders, in a more collaborative and transparent way to solve complex, agency-wide problems through clearly defining the problem, generating creative ideas, and finally recommending new solutions to the Executive Board.

Here are some of the highlights of what we have accomplished thus far:

  • We formed a governance structure with representation from throughout OPM and from external stakeholders. Participants from field offices and the union have played vital roles as members of our six Open Government teams. This structure has allowed us to use an inductive approach and incorporate ideas from other agencies, academia, and non-profit institutions by working together across internal and external boundaries. In this way, we collaborate to make meaningful change at OPM.
  • OPM was ranked among the top five agencies in OpenTheGovernment.org's first assessment of Open Government plans throughout the Executive Branch.
  • The Agency received a Leading Practices Award from the White House for our Flagship initiative to bring knowledge management and collaborative technologies to OPM.
  • We stood up OPM’s searchable Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) engine and are about to complete Phase II of this project. Through the FAQs, members of the public can find answers to their questions about Federal HR policies and procedures.

But we’re not done yet – in fact, we’re just getting started. We are moving forward with implementing OPM’s Open Government Plan and focusing on ways in which openness – and transparency in particular – can help us better do our jobs and fulfill our mission to recruit, retain, and honor a world-class workforce to serve the American people. To that end, in February, OPM will host an interagency Open Government summit during which will we not only showcase our successful and unique approach to Open Government, but also engage in yet more collaboration on challenges we face.

I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to the success of our Open Government initiative – those who have dedicated themselves throughout the year to leading and participating in OPM’s efforts, those who have responded to requests for information from the public and from the Open Government Forum, and others who have stepped in as their engagement was needed and demonstrated great flexibility in support of the teams. Openness must become part of the way each of us operates every day, recognizing that, as a result, our jobs will be made easier and our service to our customers better. As we move forward with implementation, I look forward to meeting with the Open Government Team in January to discuss next steps.

I congratulate everyone who has made our Open Government initiative successful, and encourage all of OPM to join our important journey towards more effective and transparent government.

John Berry
Director


 

Learn More

If you would like to learn more about the OpenOPM initiative, visit www.opm.gov/open.

 
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