Draft Gov 2.0 Taskforce report says agencies "must do better"

Draft report opened for comment before final submission to the Federal Government

The Government 2.0 Taskforce has released a draft report into its use of Web 2.0 technologies and is seeking comment before submitting a finalised report to the Federal Government.

Entitled Engage: Getting on with Government 2.0, the report is available in four formats (Word, HTML, PDF and on the Taskforce's consultation page using CommentPress) and is licensed under Creative Commons.

The draft report notes the Federal Government agencies "must do better" to achieve the Government 2.0 goals and said agencies have not pursued "Government 2.0 in a co-ordinated way that reflects a whole of government position".

"The Taskforce recommends some important policy improvements that need to be made," it reads. "However the greatest barrier to Government 2.0 is cultural. Leadership on the issue of more open disclosure and engagement is the key driver of cultural change."

The report's findings follow comments from Gartner analyst Andrea Di Maio, who told journalists at the recent Gartner Symposium in Sydney that governments would have to learn to cede more control to citizens if they wanted to pay more than lip service to the idea of a more open, citizen-driven approach to information sharing.

It also follows reports that despite kicking off a blog in July with much fanfare, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had only managed four posts.

The Government 2.0 Taskforce Draft Report 2009 recommendations include:

  • Making a Declaration on Open Government.
  • Nominating a lead agency to take responsibility for Government 2.0 policy with a steering group also to be established.
  • Making major agencies: Identify barriers that inhibit online engagement and develop plans to reduce their impact; nominate specific projects "aimed at enhancing policy making and delivery through the use of social networking and ‘crowd sourcing’ tools and techniques"; and identify ways to increase online tools for collaboration – all within 12 months.
  • Making all public inquiry submissions "posted online in a form that is searchable and able to be re-used."
  • Public Sector Information (PSI) should be free, based on open standards, easily discoverable, understandable, machine-readable, and freely reusable. It should also be licensed under the Creative Commons BY standard with reports and other data already published transferred to the creative commons license.
  • When withholding the release of PSI, agencies should: Exhaust options to "protect privacy and confidentiality before seeking an exemption"; make PSI discoverable and accessible via a central portal like data.gov.au; and "proactively identify and release, without request, data that might reasonably be considered as holding value to external parties".
  • A proposed new Australian Government Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) should require agencies to "report their performance in the release of PSI in their annual reports".
  • To protect the personal information of individuals and the commercial-in-confidence information of businesses guidance on the de-identification of PSI should be developed.
  • "Australian policymakers facilitate recognition of info-philanthropy as an eligible activity to qualify for deductible gift recipient status"
  • More detail on the recommendations can be found in the report.

    Comments on the report are being received before 5pm on Wednesday December 16 on the HTML version, the consultation page using CommentPress, and via email.

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