On December 6, 2013, Present Obama announced 23 new or expanded open-government commitments as part of the administration’s second Open Government National Action Plan. A key provision of the plan is a commitment to modernize the management of government records.
“The backbone of a transparent and accountable government is strong records management that documents the decisions and actions of the Federal Government,” the plan states. “When records are well managed, agencies can use them to assess the impact of programs, reduce redundant efforts, save money, and share knowledge within and across their organizations.”
The plan calls on the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to “work with Federal agencies to implement new guidance that addresses the automated electronic management of email records, as well as the Presidential Directive to manage both permanent and temporary email records in an accessible electronic format by the end of 2016.” NARA is also tasked with “collaborating with industry to establish voluntary data and metadata standards to make it easier for individuals to search publicly-available government records.”
In September 2011, the United States released its first Open Government National Action Plan which, according to a December 6 White House blog posting, established a series of ambitious goals to create a more open government. “The United States has continued to implement and improve upon the open-government commitments set forth in the first Plan, along with many more efforts underway across government, including implementing individual Federal agency Open Government Plans,” the blog posting stated. “The second Plan builds on these efforts.”
In addition to improving the management of government records, the second National Action Plan contains significant commitments to modernize and improve the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This includes the creation of a centralized, online FOIA service, the development of government-wide FOIA regulations, improved FOIA training, and the establishment of a FOIA Modernization Advisory Committee.
The plan also seeks to expand open data to the public by reforming how federal agencies manage government data as a strategic asset. This includes launching a new version of the Data.gov website to make it easier to discover, understand, and use open government data and expanding access to agriculture and nutrition data to help farmers and communities. The second National Action Plan can be viewed by clicking HERE.