Bill launched a comprehensive plan to bring Philadelphia city government into the digital age through a package of initiatives termed “Open Government Philadelphia.”
"Open Government Philadelphia – both as a philosophical approach to how government should work and as a series of concrete actions – is aligned with the City’s current needs, its upcoming challenges, and, importantly, its available resources,” Bill explained. “The city is poised to spend $120 million on technology upgrades over the next six years. For this investment to yield the return we hope for and desperately need – i.e., innovation that increases city government’s effectiveness, while reducing its size and cost – we must proceed with purpose, foresight, and a bold vision.
“Open Government is designed to catalyze this dynamic change.”
Enacting the Open Government platform will move the city past business as usual and will precipitate needed workflow and systems changes. The Open Government platform consists of the following specific initiatives, all of which are the subject of either pending or forthcoming legislation:
Enacting a comprehensive open data policy
Posting the city’s check registry online
Enhancing the functionality/substance of the city’s contracts websites
Posting financial disclosure statements online
Creating an online directory of boards and commissions
Providing easy access to legislative voting records
Adopting outcome-based budgeting
Improving public access to budget information
Increasing access to public alerts
Sponsoring an annual apps competition
The Open Government approach requires technology, which City government clearly needs, but technology is not the only element. Open Government also includes improved decision-making and management, budgeting, citizen engagement, and more, much of which is described in Green’s Open Government policy paper and PowerPoint presentation. “We have a historic opportunity to use the smart implementation of technology, combined with a major infusion of capital funds, workflow analysis, and re-training to fundamentally alter how the City conducts its businesses, and helps others conduct theirs,” Green stated.
By design, Open Government platform was released during Philly Tech Week 2011 – a week-long series of events offering bright examples of the creativity, collaboration, innovation, and civic engagement that is characteristic of the City’s invaluable, vibrant technology community. “Philly Tech Week and the people it engages are showcasing many of the tenets and features of Open Government: transparency, improved decision-making, entrepreneurship, business development, and really cool ideas that engage citizens,” Green commented. “It’s time we took the best practices from this future-leaning sector of our local economy and brought them to City government. Citizens deserve no less and our future as a growing, vibrant City depends on it.”
Read Councilman Green's Open Government policy paper here.
A companion powerpoint is available here.