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Open Government revolves around accountability and citizen engagement

This month marks the 6th Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit, taking place in Ottawa, Canada, from May 29-31st, 2019. This annual event brings together 79 member countries and 20 local governments to discuss the opportunities and challenges to make governments everywhere more responsive and accountable to citizen needs.

OpenText™ CEO & CTO Mark Barrenechea will be one of the global thought leaders taking part in a plenary session, speaking on the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. As an exclusive Platinum Sponsor of the summit, OpenText will additionally host a breakout session on Citizen Sentiment Analysis – featuring the MyOGP Tracker, which leverages AI and machine learning from OpenText Magellan. Learn more about how OpenText is supporting digital transformation in government.

Demand for transparency in government is growing as citizens demand greater accountability from their elected officials, driving government organizations to abide by transparency mandates that clearly demonstrate how their government is working for them. Not only does this practice of transparency keep government departments accountable, it also promotes a culture of trust between the government and the people it serves. Offering citizens access to documents, information, and tracking on key initiatives is one of the primary ways that government organizations can promote freedom of information, transparency, and maintain trust.

There are challenges in making citizens an active part of the political and democratic process. Technology, along with the efforts of many organizations, has provided an unprecedented ability to access and share information, enabling citizens to hold their governments accountable for their actions through the almost instantaneous access to information.

The work of public sector institutions is complex, often demanding close collaboration across departments, teams, federal, state/provincial and local government representatives. For example, determining the location of a stop sign will involve discussions between government leaders, community organizers, traffic engineers and public works experts. Adopting an educational curriculum is a multi-year process with many stakeholders.

Governments are complex, the decisions have a long-term – and often profound – impact on the lives of citizens, the economy and the culture of a country. So important are the decisions that it is vital all government organizations have robust, open and compliant information and data management policies and processes in place. It is no longer enough to simply know WHERE information has been stored and for how long. Increasingly governments and citizens must be provided with open access to the information and must use the data available to influence – and improve – the policy decisions of the future.

Open Government equals citizen engagement

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is an intergovernmental partnership launched by eight governments in 2011 to promote government transparency, accountability and responsiveness. The founding states are Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. As of 2019, more than 70 members – representing one-third of the world’s population – have endorsed the OGP Declaration. And among the priorities for the Open Government Partnership is increasing access to new technologies to promote openness and accountability.

To maintain and grow trust and transparency, government agencies must also demonstrate that they’re listening to their citizens and that they understand their most pressing concerns. With advances in social, mobile and AI technologies, not only can they listen more accurately, but they can also understand the sentiment and urgency of the collective citizen voice.

The city of Los Angeles recently released three free apps for its citizens: one to report broken street lighting, one to make non-emergency service requests and one to get early alerts about earthquakes. Though it may seem like the city is just following a trend to modernize, the apps are part of a much larger effort to spread awareness of the more than 1,100 datasets that the city has publicized for citizens to view, analyze and share. In other words, the city has officially embraced the open data movement.

“Open government is not only about the values of democracy, openness, and civic space, but about helping governments deliver better results for their citizens,” said Joseph Powell, Deputy CEO of the Open Government Partnership.

Enterprise Information Management (EIM) promotes transparency

Increasing the accuracy and reducing the time that it takes to process information requests has become increasingly important in governments around the world. In the United States, agencies collectively processed more than 823,000 FOIA requests in 2017, an 8.3 percent increase in 2016. According to a UK government release of annual statistics, the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) was only able to respond to 17% of freedom of information (FOI) requests in full last year, and the Department for International Trade (DIT) fairing only slightly better at 21%.

“People across the world are calling for more openness in government. Citizens are seeking public administrations that are more transparent, accountable and responsive, and are increasingly collaborating with public sector institutions to achieve these principles,” a report from The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) stated.

With OpenText, government organizations can deliver open data and transparency while mitigating compliance risks, controlling the entire content lifecycle and maintaining content integrity. Departments can also shorten the time taken to providing information by automating manual tasks, simplifying access, and improving content-centric collaboration among departments.

Improving process and information management enables:

  • Citizens to more easily submit requests
  • Government agencies to save time managing the requests and publishing the responses
  • Adherence to statutory requirements while lowering the risk of non-compliance and increasing citizen satisfaction and transparency.

OpenText Government Solutions

In addition to being the exclusive Platinum Sponsor of the OGP Global Summit in May 2019, OpenText has a long association with government and public sector organizations. For more information on how OpenText has enabled public institutions around the world to digitize processes and meet the challenges of fiscal austerity, transparent accountability and streamlined citizen services, please click here.

Also, during OpenText Enterprise World in Toronto this July, we’ll be running a dedicated Public Sector track, providing attendees with insight into the advanced technology solutions that OpenText has developed for the public sector. Specific in-depth session will explore the latest features in OpenText™ Extended ECM for Government, which enables users to manage content easily across their organizations, eliminating data silos and breathing a new digital life into information that might have previously been lost in boxes or filing cabinets. Join us at Enterprise World in Toronto and find out more about how Enterprise Information Management (EIM) can help to extract greater value and insights from your information and transform your government and citizen services.

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Brian Chidester

Brian Chidester is the Senior Industry Lead for Public Sector at OpenText. He is responsible for growing OpenText’s Public Sector practice while also ensuring the success of our public sector customers. Formerly, Brian served as the Industry Marketing Lead for Public Sector at Appian. He also has held product marketing roles with Monster Worldwide, Arrow ECS and IHS Markit, where he was awarded Best in Show - Lead Generation at the 2014 MarketingSherpa Email Awards. Mr. Chidester holds a B.S. in Communications Studies from Liberty University.

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