Vol. 74, No. 15
Monday, January 26, 2009
Memorandum of January 21, 2009
Transparency and Open Government
Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies
My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of open-
ness 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 effec-
tiveness 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 tech-
nologies 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 Gov-
ernment’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 policy-
making 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 Ameri-
cans in the work of their Government. Executive departments and agencies
should use innovative tools, methods,