January 26, 2009
(Volume 74, Number 15)] [Presidential Documents] [Page 4685-4686]
Memorandum of January 21, 2009
Transparency and Open Government
Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies
by President Barrack
My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level
of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the
public trust and establish a system of transparency, public
participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our
democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.
Government should be transparent. Transparency promotes
accountability and provides information for citizens about what
their Government is doing. Information maintained by the Federal
Government is a national asset. My Administration will take
appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose
information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and
use. Executive departments and agencies should harness new
technologies to put information about their operations and
decisions online and readily available to the public. Executive
departments and agencies should also solicit public feedback to
identify information of greatest use to the public.
Government should be participatory. Public engagement enhances the
Government's effectiveness and improves the quality of its
decisions. Knowledge is widely dispersed in society, and public
officials benefit from having access to that dispersed knowledge.
Executive departments and agencies should offer Americans
increased opportunities to participate in policymaking and to
provide their Government with the benefits of their collective
expertise and information. Executive departments and agencies
should also solicit public input on how we can increase and
improve opportunities for public participation in Government.
Government should be collaborative. Collaboration actively engages
Americans in the work of their Government. Executive departments
and agencies should use innovative tools, methods, and systems to
cooperate among themselves, across all levels of Government, and
with nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals in the
private sector. Executive departments and agencies should solicit
public feedback to assess and improve their level of collaboration
and to identify new opportunities for cooperation.
I direct the Chief Technology Officer, in coordination with the
Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the
Administrator of General Services, to coordinate the development
by appropriate executive departments and agencies, within 120
days, of recommendations for an Open Government Directive, to be
issued by the Director of OMB, that instructs executive
departments and agencies to take specific actions implementing the
principles set forth in this memorandum. The independent agencies
should comply with the Open Government Directive.
This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right
or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in
equity by a party against the United States, its departments,
agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any
This memorandum shall be published in the Federal Register.
THE WHITE HOUSE,
Washington, January 21, 2009