ACT Government's open government steps - a cart-horse issue? | acidlabs Studios
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ACT Government’s open government steps – a cart-horse issue?

ACT Government’s open government steps – a cart-horse issue?

So, the ACT Government is finally making moves to open up and participate with its community and enacting some open government programs. We’ve already had the first Virtual Community Cabinet, which seemed to go okay (though I remain doubtful that Twitter is the right venue for this kind of thing). And this week, the Chief Minister, Katy Gallagher launched her blog (though I note the media release fails to have active links – a basic misstep).

Something good that’s already happening is the Time to Talk site, inviting community input on ACT Government activities. It’s even inviting discussion about the proposed open government site that will be developed.

But do we have a cart-horse issue here?

The concept documents are certainly fine as they stand. My concern is that a concept document for a website doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of what’s needed. There seems to be a great deal missing from the ACT Government’s open government activities:

  • open licensing of all these materials as CC-BY as recommended by the Government 2.0 Taskforce with respect to the production of public sector information
  • a more detailed plan about how the ACT Government intends, at both the political and public servant level, to engage with its constituency directly
  • who will engage, when, under what circumstances and via what channels?
  • what is the defined minimum threshold for responses? Will we see a very official approach, or will politicians, staffers and bureaucrats be encouraged (as they should) to engage in conversations with the community as a part of open government activities that sit along the official-professional-personal spectrum?
  • have bureaucratic barriers to public servant particpation been removed and are all public servants empowered to actively engage with the community online?
  • have technical barriers to access social tools such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and others been removed for ACT public servants so that their engagement with the community is facilitated rather than hindered?
  • are ACT government staff – politicians, staffers and bureaucrats being adequately trained in the cultural, technical and socio-technical changes needed to open up the ACT Government adequately to more participatory methods of working?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited by all this activity. I just want to understand better what the plan is, how it will work and when it will be acted upon.

Stephen Collins
trib@acidlabs.org
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