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.

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