Adding social context to low public transparency ratings for federal government

What does open government need to break through the awareness barrier? A new study of federal government transparency efforts released by NextGov and ForeSeeResults gave all entities in the survey low marks in court of public opinion. Here’s the executive summary:

“Nearly two years after a memorandum to the federal government calling for ambitious and sweeping open government initiatives, many are wondering if the goals of openness, democratic participation, and collaboration have taken root and, if so, how successful the efforts have been.

ForeSee Results, in partnership with Nextgov, designed a comprehensive survey to assess how citizens grade four government entities (the government overall, the White House, Congress, and federal agencies and departments) in terms of Open Government Initiative (OGI) principles like transparency and trust. The goals of the research were:

• To get a baseline, quantifiable measurement of citizen trust and perceptions of transparency against which future measurements can be benchmarked

• To compare key citizen-facing government entities

There were four key findings in the study:

  1. All measured entities received low scores when it comes to transparency, citizen satisfaction, and trust.
  2. The White House received the highest score as the most transparent of the four measured entities.
  3. There is a clear and proven relationship between transparency, satisfaction and trust.
  4. Congress has the lowest score of any of the four entities.

To get a sense of what the online community thought about the study, I fired up Twitter and collected the feedback I received after asking a few questions using Storify, a social media curation tool.

About Alex Howard

Alexander B. Howard is a DC-based a technology writer and editor. Previously, he was the Washington Correspondent at O'Reilly Media, where he covered the voices, technologies and issues that matter in the intersection of government, technology and society. If you're feeling social, you can follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook or circle him on Google Plus In addition to corresponding for the O’Reilly Radar, he has contributed to the Huffington Post, Govfresh, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, National Journal, The Atlantic, CBS News and Forbes. He graduated from Colby College with a bachelor's degree in biology and sociology. Currently, he is a resident of the District of Columbia, where he lives with his greyhound, wife, power tools, plants and growing collection of cast iron pans, many of which are frequently used to pursue his passion for good cooking.

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