The Government 2.0 Taskforce is being formed against a backdrop of increased interest by governments worldwide in the potential uses of public sector information and online engagement.
President Obama made online engagement a theme of his election campaign and has indicated his desire to take a simular approach to government itself. In the United Kingdom the Brown Government’s Power of Information Taskforce has recommended sweeping reforms to how the civil service publishes, manages and engages with information. There are similar developments in other jurisdictions.
The Taskforce will not be the government’s very first encounter with government 2.0 – indeed this initiative commences just as the Federal government is winding up a six month trial of online consultation (see for example here and here). But it will be the first attempt to deal with these issues in a systematic way.
The Taskforce is made up of policy and technical experts and entrepreneurs from government, business, academia, and cultural institutions.
Its work falls into two streams. The first relates to increasing the openness of government through making public sector information more widely available to promote transparency, innovation and value adding to government information.
The second stream is concerned with encouraging online engagement with the aim of drawing in the information, knowledge, perspectives, resources and even, where possible, the active collaboration of anyone wishing to contribute to public life.
Importantly, the Taskforce will not just provide advice. It will be able to fund initiatives and incentives which may achieve or demonstrate how to accomplish government 2.0 objectives.
The Government 2.0 Taskforce (‘Taskforce’) will advise and assist the Government to:
- make government information more accessible and usable — to establish a pro-disclosure culture around non-sensitive public sector information;
- make government more consultative, participatory and transparent — to maximise the extent to which government utilises the views, knowledge and resources of the general community;
- build a culture of online innovation within Government — to ensure that government is receptive to the possibilities created by new collaborative technologies and uses them to advance its ambition to continually improve the way it operates;
- promote collaboration across agencies with respect to online and information initiatives — to ensure that efficiencies, innovations, knowledge and enthusiasm are shared on a platform of open standards; and
- identify and/or trial initiatives that may achieve or demonstrate how to accomplish the above objectives.
The Taskforce will advise Government on structural barriers that prevent, and policies to promote, greater information disclosure, digital innovation and online engagement including the division of responsibilities for, and overall coordination of, these issues within government.
The Taskforce will work with the public, private, cultural and not for profit sectors to fund and develop seed projects that demonstrate the potential of proactive information disclosure and digital engagement for government. More information can be found on the Taskforce’s Project Fund page.
In particular the Taskforce will also identify policies and frameworks to assist the Information Commissioner and other agencies in:
- developing and managing a whole of government information publication scheme to encourage greater disclosure of public sector information;
- extending opportunities for the reuse of government information, and considering the terms of that use, to maximise the beneficial flow of that information and facilitate productive applications of government information to the greatest possible extent;
- encouraging effective online innovation, consultation and engagement by government, including by drawing on the lessons of the Government’s online consultation trials and any initiatives undertaken by the Taskforce.
The Taskforce will meet regularly, consulting in an open and transparent manner and use online solutions for its engagement wherever possible.
The Taskforce will provide a final report on its activities to the Minister for Finance and Deregulation and the Cabinet Secretary by the end of 2009. The Taskforce will disband on completion of its final report.
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