Being eagerly awaited by many in the field, the Open Government Directive was released this morning: Open Government Directive (PDF, 84 KB)

Here’s a summary of snippets that deal with participation and engagement:

Participation allows members of the public to contribute ideas and expertise so that their government can make policies with the benefit of information that is widely dispersed in society.

[…]

3. Components of the plan

[…]

b. Participation: To create more informed and effective policies, the Federal Government should promote opportunities for the public to participate throughout the decision-making process.  Your agency’s Open Government Plan should explain in detail how your agency will improve participation, including steps your agency will take to revise its current practices to increase opportunities for public participation in and feedback on the agency’s core mission activities.  The specific details should include proposed changes to internal management and administrative policies to improve participation.

i. The Plan should include descriptions of and links to appropriate websites where the public can engage in existing participatory processes of your agency.

ii. The Plan should include proposals for new feedback mechanisms, including innovative tools and practices that create new and easier methods for public engagement.

[…]
e) Public and Agency Involvement: Your agency’s Open Government Plan should include, but not be limited to, the requirements set forth in this attachment.  Extensive public and employee engagement should take place during the formation of this plan, which should lead to the incorporation of relevant and useful ideas developed in that dialogue.  Public engagement should continue to be part of your agency’s periodic review and modification of its plan.  Your agency should respond to public feedback on a regular basis.

3. Components of the plan

b. Participation:  To create more informed and effective policies, the Federal
Government should promote opportunities for the public to participate
throughout the decision-making process.  Your agency’s Open Government
Plan should explain in detail how your agency will improve participation,
including steps your agency will take to revise its current practices to increase
opportunities for public participation in and feedback on the agency’s core
mission activities.  The specific details should include proposed changes to
internal management and administrative policies to improve participation.
i. The Plan should include descriptions of and links to appropriate
websites where the public can engage in existing participatory
processes of your agency.
ii. The Plan should include proposals for new feedback mechanisms,
including innovative tools and practices that create new and easier
methods for public engagement.
For what it’s worth, here’s how many times the key terms are mentioned in the Directive: transparency (21x), collaboration (16x), participation (14x) and engagement (3x).
Here’s the timeline:
  • Within 45 days: establish a working group that focuses on transparency, accountability, participation, and collaboration within the Federal Government. …
  • Within 60 days: create an Open Government Dashboard on www.whitehouse.gov/open.  The Open Government Dashboard (to include each agency’s Open Government Plan, aggregate statistics and visualizations)
  • Within 120 days: each agency shall develop and publish on its Open Government Webpage an Open Government Plan that will describe how it will improve transparency and integrate public participation and collaboration into its activities.
It’ll be up to the agencies to describe in more detail how they plan to embed public participation in their work.