Today, the United States released their third Open Government National Action Plan (see also our previous posts here and here).

Once again, the plan includes a number of items related to public participation, one of the three open government pillars contained in the original memorandum and directive back in 2009:

U.S. Public Participation Playbook (page 11)

Improve and Report on Implementation of the U.S. Public Participation Playbook. In 2015, the Administration launched the U.S. Public Participation Playbook, a template providing best practices, resources, and performance metrics to encourage public participation in government decision-making. The United States will update and improve the U.S. Public Participation Playbook based on feedback from agencies, civil society, and the public, and begin publicly sharing how the playbook’s resources are implemented in order to improve public participation in government.

Public participation in policymaking (page 11)

Encourage Public Participation in Policymaking. Providing opportunities for citizens to participate in government policymaking processes allows diverse stakeholders to contribute to decision-making, leading to more meaningful and effective policies. Several agencies, including the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Justice, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, successfully engage with and obtain views from stakeholders outside of government during the policymaking process. The Office of Management and Budget will share with U.S. agencies its processes for soliciting informal public comments on proposed policies and will assist interested agencies in implementing this approach.

Federal rulemaking (pag 11)

2. Expand Public Participation in the Development of Regulations

Public participation in Federal rulemaking is important, providing individuals who are affected by Federal regulations with an opportunity to comment and have their voices heard. Rulemaking covers the full spectrum of public policy issues, including energy, education, homeland security, agriculture, food safety, environmental protection, health care, tax administration, and transportation safety. In order to make regulations easier to read and navigate, the Administration will expand the open source pilot developed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to additional agencies. By leveraging the Regulations.gov website, application programming interfaces, and the Federal Docket Management System, the Administration will develop and pilot applications to make commenting on proposed rulemakings easier and will find ways to promote commenting opportunities.

Participatory budgeting (page 16)

3. Empower Americans through Participatory Budgets and Responsive Spending

Participatory budgeting promotes the public’s participation in spending taxpayer dollars by engaging citizens in a community to help decide how to allocate public funds. To advance participatory budgeting in the United States, the White House will work with communities, non-profits, civic technologists, and foundation partners to develop new commitments that will expand the use of participatory budgeting in the United States. As a first step, the White House will convene an action-oriented Participatory Budgeting Workshop in 2015 to garner commitments that support community decision-making for certain projects using public funds

Other items include the opening of the software code behind the We the People e-petition platform (page 11) and expanding civil society participation in the open government efforts (page 11).