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Office of Management and Budget, OMB Memorandum M-10-06, Open Government Directive (Dec. 8, 2009) (full-text).


This memorandum requires a series of concrete steps to implement the system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration called for in the President’s Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government (Jan. 21, 2009). It requires federal executive departments and agencies to take the following steps toward the goal of creating a more open government:

  • Publish government information online.
To increase accountability, promote informed participation by the public, and create economic opportunity, each agency shall take prompt steps to expand access to information by making it available online in open formats. With respect to information, the presumption shall be in favor of openness (to the extent permitted by law and subject to valid privacy, confidentiality, security, or other restrictions).
  • Improve the quality of government information.
To improve the quality of government information available to the public, senior leaders should make certain that the information conforms to OMB guidance on information quality and that adequate systems and processes are in place within the agencies to promote such conformity.
  • Create and institutionalize a culture of open government.
To create an unprecedented and sustained level of openness and accountability in every agency, senior leaders should strive to incorporate the values of transparency, participation, and collaboration into the ongoing work of their agency. Achieving a more open government will require the various professional disciplines within the Government — such as policy, legal, procurement, finance, and technology operations — to work together to define and to develop open government solutions. Integration of various disciplines facilitates organization-wide and lasting change in the way that Government works.
  • Create an enabling policy framework for open government.
Emerging technologies open new forms of communication between a government and the people. It is important that policies evolve to realize the potential of technology for open government.

The Directive also required each agency to develop and publish its own Open Government Plan, and to create an Open Government webpage to house information about how each agency will promote transparency and participation. The Directive furthermore prescribed the minimum contents of agency Open Government Plans. For example, it required agencies to describe in detail how their Open Government Plans will: improve transparency, identify and publish “high-value” information, increase opportunities for public participation and feedback, and use new technology platforms to foster collaboration between agency personnel and those outside of government. It also instructed agencies to develop new “flagship” initiatives to advance openness principles, and to specify how such new initiatives could be improved over time.

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