oversight

Report 2011-001-AEP - Management Advisory on EEOC's Open Government Activities

Published by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Office of Inspector General on 2011-07-15.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

               U.S. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION
                              Washington, D.C. 20507

Office of
Inspector General



                                             July 15, 2011


MEMORANDUM

TO:                 Diedre Flippen, Director
                    Office of Research, Information and Planning

FROM:               Milton A. Mayo, Jr.
                    Inspector General

SUBJECT:            Management Advisory on EEOC’s Open Government Activities
                    (OIG-2011-01-AEP)




C: Claudia Withers, Chief Operating Officer
                                MANAGEMENT ADVISORY
                     Status of the EEOC’s Open Government Activities
                                     BACKGROUND

On January 21, 2009, President Barack Obama issued the “Memorandum on Transparency and
Open Government,” instructing the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to
issue an Open Government Directive. On December 8, 2009, the OMB issued M10-06, known as
the “Open Government Directive” (OGD). It requires executive agencies to take specific actions
to implement the three principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration that form the
cornerstone of open government set forth by the President.

The OGD requires that, among other actions, executive departments and agencies take steps
toward creating a more open government by doing the following:

      publishing government information online
      improving the quality of government information
      creating and institutionalizing a culture of open government
      creating a policy framework to facilitate open government

Specifically, through expanding the publication of government information online, the OGD
promotes increased accountability, informed participation by the public, and creation of
economic opportunity. It directs each agency to “take prompt steps to expand access to
information by making it available online in open formats.” To improve the quality of
government information available to the public, senior leaders are to ensure that information
“conforms to OMB guidance on information quality and that adequate systems and processes are
in place within the agencies to promote such conformity.” To achieve the goal of an
“unprecedented and sustained level of openness and accountability in every agency,” senior
leaders are challenged to integrate the three guiding principles of open government into the
ongoing work of the agency. Finally, the OGD recognizes the impact of emerging technologies
on communication between the government and the people. Therefore, it stresses the importance
of developing policies to realize “the potential of technology for open government.”

To assist departments and agencies in achieving these goals, the OGD directs them to take
specific actions, including:

      develop an open government plan that describes the agency’s flagship open government
       initiative and details how the agency will incorporate the principles of transparency,
       participation, and collaboration into its core mission objectives (within 120 days)
      create an Open Government Web site (within 60 days)
      identify high-value data sets for publication (within 45 days)

Many large agencies, such as the Departments of Labor, the Interior, and the Treasury, finalized
Open Government Plans in fiscal year 2010. Other federal agencies, including some smaller ones
such as the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), the National Transportation Safety Board
(NTSB), and the EEOC, lack finalized Open Government Plans. An OMB official stated that
agencies unable to meet the deadlines should try to take the specified actions as soon as they are


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able. The following is a             link    to       useful   information   about   the   OGD:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/open.

                     OBJECTIVES, SCOPE, AND METHODOLOGY

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted this review of the EEOC’s Open Government
initiative to assess, generally, the Agency’s progress toward implementation of the OGD. This
was not a compliance review or a comprehensive performance assessment. Rather, it was
intended to broadly assess the Agency’s OGD activities to date and provide observations for its
consideration as it proceeds to full implementation of the OGD.

We reviewed Agency OGD planning documents (e.g., comments from Agency managers on a
Draft Open Government Plan) as well as the EEOC’s public Web site and its intranet, known as
“InSite.” In addition, we interviewed individuals responsible for Agency Open Government
policies and activities, and compared EEOC plans and activities with OGD goals. We also
examined OGD implementation by other Designated Federal Entities, including FLRA and
NTSB. The review was performed in accordance with Quality Standards for Inspections, issued
in January 2005 by the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency and the Executive
Council on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE and ECIE).

                                      OBSERVATIONS

EEOC Drafted a Functional Open Government Plan
In 2010, the EEOC formed an Open Government Workgroup to develop a draft Open
Government Plan. The Open Government Work group, led by the Director of the Office of
Research, Information, and Planning (ORIP), is composed of representatives from various
Headquarters offices and a field representative. In May 2010, the workgroup submitted a draft
Open Government Plan to the newly appointed Chair of the Agency (appointed April 2010).

The EEOC’s draft Open Government Plan describes activities and actions that meet key OGD
requirements, including:

      Flagship Initiative Requirement—EEOC plans to develop an online case-status program
      Transparency Requirement—EEOC plans to increase the amount of information
       available in machine-readable format
      Participation Requirement—EEOC plans to consider methods to increase dialogue with
       the public
      Collaboration Requirement—EEOC plans to explore ways to make information
       contained in its Office of Equal Opportunity reports and its policies available to other
       Federal agencies




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Additional Open Government Activities
In addition to developing a draft plan, EEOC took several actions to meet OGD requirements.
EEOC created an Open Government initiative web site on February 5, 2010. The web site,
(http://www.eeoc.gov/open/index.cfm), contains information on four topics: information and
data; Open Government Plan; evaluating EEOC progress; and feedback and input. The
information and data section contains links to EEOC data available at data.gov (www.data.gov),
a website that contains EEOC data sets described later in this document. The information and
data section also contains a link to other information and data, such as budget and performance
data, and meetings of the Commission.

The Open Government Plan section states that EEOC is currently working on its plan. The
evaluating progress section contains EEOC’s initial dashboard report on EEOC’s progress and
impact. The feedback and input sections contains a link to a form soliciting comments on
EEOC’s published information, publishing priorities, and the Open Government Plan.

Also, the Agency made the following information available via data.gov:

      useful data sets, including fiscal years 2007-2009 EEO-1 data (Job Patterns for Minorities
       and Women in Private Industry), and fiscal year 2009 EEO-4 data (Job Patterns for
       Minorities and Women in State and Local Government)
      fiscal year 2009 Report of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Its
       Administration of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), as directed in the OGD
       guidelines on transparency


                                 NEXT STEPS FOR EEOC

We believe EEOC should (1) maintain approval of an Open Government Plan as a high priority,
and (2) regularly communicate EEOC’s Open Government progress with all Agency staff.

If you have any questions, please contact Larkin Jennings at larkin.jennings@eeoc.gov or
202-663-4391.




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