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Created

May 24, 2010

Transparency and the Role of Federal Executives

Last week, the Government Business Council held a round table event in Washington DC based on their recent research report titled Transparency and the Role of Federal Executives. The report shares the results of a survey of 300+ federal government executives on their perspectives on open government. Some highlights of the findings:

  • Federal executives are generally supportive of shifts towards greater transparency. A significant portion of respondents (47 percent) believe that their agency should be sharing more information with the public. A majority of federal executives surveyed (55 percent) are also supportive of increased public involvement in their agencies.
  • Federal executives report that transparency initiatives are undertaken to fulfill administration requirements and improve an agency’s public image. They also believe achieving transparency includes sharing mission-related data, project findings, analyzed and summarized data, and policy rationale. Raw data dumps are not sufficient in fulfilling the goals of open government.
  • When agencies craft and disseminate information, security and accuracy of information are their top concerns. Less than a quarter of respondents identify making services and information easy to interact with as a priority.
  • Federal executives believe leadership on transparency should come from outside their agency. Strong majorities identify Congress (71 percent) and the President (66 percent) as those responsible for taking action to increase transparency. Far fewer believe that federal managers and employees are responsible.
  • While 63 percent of respondents feel they have a personal responsibility to increase transparency, more than half do not feel they are actually able to do so. Three-quarters of respondents say they have not been given the tools and training they need.
  • There are significant obstacles to transparency and almost half of respondents believe unclear policies on what individuals can do are hindering progress. Many also believe that cultural resistance and concerns over the flow of information hinder transparency initiatives. Very few respondents believe that a lack of technological tools is preventing them from being transparent.
  • Most federal executives feel that clearer guidance and instructions along with information on best practices would allow them to make their agency more transparent.

To download the full report, visit the Government Business Council site.