Friday, May 7, 2010

In with the New Open Government Plan, Not Out with the Old

We are excited that several agencies are living up to their commitments to treat their open government plans as "first drafts" and "living documents." At the same time, we encourage agencies to act in the spirit of open government by maintaining publicly accessible older versions of their plans on their open government webpages. Access to older versions of the plan is crucial for holding the agency accountable for any changes it makes, and for making sure the agency gets the credit it deserves for making specific improvements.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has offered agencies a model for how to handle this issue. As we pointed out in our Audit Results, the DOT produced an updated plan between the time we conducted our evaluation and released our results that directly address many of the weaknesses in the original plan pointed out by the agency's self-assessment, and our evaluation. When DOT posted Version 1.1, they posted a clear outline of all the changes made to the original plan. Also, the version of the plan is clearly marked at the top of the plan, and DOT provides a link to archived versions of older versions.

We look forward to seeing new - and old - versions of plans from more agencies in the future.

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