On Monday Global Integrity is convening a workshop called ‘Government Monitoring and Accountability Tools and Techniques’ at the OpenGov Hub to exchange ideas between international and domestic practitioners on government monitoring and accountability tools and techniques. We were inspired by the success of the State Integrity Investigation earlier this year and wanted to bring together international and domestic US practitioners in a single room to see what magic might emerge.
Innovative ways of amplifying government transparency have been developed internationally that might be useful here in the US, particularly at the state and local levels. Similarly, tools and techniques used in the United States can be helpful to international NGOS. Despite an extensive history of working on these issues, there have been very few opportunities for collaboration between domestic and international groups. The goal of the workshop is to bridge that gap and provide a solid platform for a robust exchange of ideas to support government monitoring and transparency advocacy efforts.
Over two days, participants will break into working groups to discuss key government transparency and accountability themes:
· Lobbying: How do we advance the lobbying reform agenda?
· Budgets: How do we make government budgets more user friendly?
· Money & Politics: Given the necessity of money in politics, how do we manage its influence?
· Citizen engagement: How do we widen engagement and participation on reform efforts among citizens with low expectations of progress?
· Technology: What is the role of technology in strengthening government monitoring efforts?
· Research: What is the role of research and how do we use available information more effectively?
The workshop is designed to be a forum for frank and open exchange rather than chock-full of overly structured panel discussions, which seem to have become an unfortunate staple at recent open government conferences. Through the working groups participants will share experiences on different approaches to reform as well as lessons learned from past failures.
We’re not Pollyannaish in thinking that a two-day confab will ignite an enduring “community of practice” or otherwise lead to instant collaboration. We simply hope that the two days of exchanges between experts will further our collective understanding of the strategies, tools, techniques, and constituencies that need to be mobilized to further the reform agenda. And we think that’s reason enough to bring such smart folks together.
— Abhinav Bahl