Design, Technology, and Innovation Projects

Austin’s commitment to open government

As part of our participation in the international Open Government Partnership, the City of Austin co-creates – with the Austin community – commitments to promote transparency, community engagement, accountability, and technology innovation. We joined this partnership and launched our first set of commitments in 2016 and are currently preparing for a new set of open government commitments for 2018-2020.

Commitment areas for 2019-2021 announced

In summer 2018, we talked with community groups about what commitments we might make for 2019-2021. New partners came forward from both city departments and community organizations to sponsor four fantastic commitments:

  1. Community climate resilience
  2. Public participation in city anti-displacement efforts
  3. Including the homeless in court contracting
  4. Public safety data analysis

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About the Open Government Partnership and Austin’s previous commitments

The Open Government Partnership is an international organization of countries that aim to improve government accountability, transparency, community engagement, and technology practices. The City of Austin joined this partnership in 2016 as one of its first local government members – and the only local government in the United States in this network.

We committed to five projects for 2017:

  1. Creating shared reasoning around homelessness
  2. Developing an equity assessment tool
  3. Redesigning how we coordinate on open government issues within the City government
  4. Improving public meetings
  5. Creating an online project tracker

Austin’s 2016-2017 Open Government Partnership Action Plan

More information on our first set of commitments in 2016-2017

In December 2017 we hosted an Open Government Showcase, which included talks on these projects as well as other open government efforts the City of Austin has made recently.

An independent researcher named by the Open Government Partnership reviewed the five commitments throughout the process. The full report will be available for public comment in May 2018. In the meantime, you can read a summary of the report here.

In 2018, the Open Government Partnership invited Austin to continue our participation by making a new round of 3-5 commitments to advance open government principles for the next two years.

What is an open government commitment?

A commitment is a statement of how Austin will promote open government values. These values include improving access to information, helping residents play a role in their government, enhancing accountability, and using new technologies. We will co-create and co-deliver on our commitments with the Austin community.

A good open government commitment:

  • Is relevant – it meets a real need that people in Austin experience and believe is important
  • Is impactful – it has the potential to make change for those people and address the real problem
  • Is measurable – we can track progress and know what success looks like
  • Is feasible – it is something we have the skills, resources, and capacity to do

An open government commitment also promotes at least one of these values:

  • Transparency – Austin residents understand how their government works
  • Public engagement: Austin residents can take part in how their government works
  • Accountability: Austin residents can hold the government to account for its policy and services
  • Technology innovation: Austin residents are able to use modern tools that increase access to information and enable more meaningful participation