Tips for Government Transparency

People often ask me how to make government more transparent?  What steps can I take?  Here is my advice.

  • Allow your employees at all levels to tell the story of your government and of their specific agency.  Middle level employees are becoming more credible than your senior executives in the eyes of the public.  Not only does this form of outreach function as free publicity about your organization, but it allows these individuals to tell the story of the organization from their perspective.

    Image courtesy of Alan Cleaver

  • Develop processes that ask the question: How can we be more transparent in this situation?  Sometimes the answer will be easy, sometimes it won’t.  But, it is better to make decisions based off of a logical assessment of a situation instead of an emotional response.
  • Ensure your Community Managers are trained on how to engage people in conversation with the objective of creating trust relationships.
  • Council Community Managers and train first line managers in transparency in how we manage our online communities.  Ensure this ideal is reflected in all decision making regarding the taking down of content, banning of community members, etc.
  • Write transparency based performance metrics into all social media strategies
  • Recognize personnel who excel or meet all of their transparency metrics through an award or bonus system.

There are probably a number of other options, but these are items I have been actively championing in my agency.  Since I started working on these issues over 5 years ago, they have started to take root, but we still have a ways to go.

If you are interested in more information on my thoughts about transparency, check out my previous post on the topic.

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