An initial focus of the Open Government Federal Advisory Committee will be to advise GSA on the sixth iteration of the open government plan.

An initial focus of the Open Government Federal Advisory Committee will be to advise GSA on the sixth iteration of the open government plan. Douglas Rissing / Getty Images

GSA unveils advisory committee for transparency initiatives

The committee will help foster new goals and initiatives under the Biden administration’s open government plan.

The General Services Administration detailed the creation of its new advisory committee for improving governmental transparency efforts in a post to the Federal Register on Friday. 

The advisory committee’s creation comes after the Biden administration in late 2022 released its version of the open government plan, which aims to improve access to government information, increase public engagement and update the delivery of federal services.

That plan — the fifth iteration of an initiative that dates back to the Obama administration — includes broad goals like expanding access to federally-funded research as well as specific actions, such as a multi-year effort by the National Archives and Records Administration to improve its catalog of federal records and create a better user experience for its main website and others. 

The new Open Government Federal Advisory Committee will counsel GSA on programs to “increase public access to government data and records, to advance equity in open government efforts, to engage the public in the regulatory process and to improve the delivery of government services and benefits through expert advice,” according to an April 2024 statement from the agency. 

An initial focus of the committee will be to advise GSA on the next iteration of the open government plan, according to the notice in the Federal Register. Among the initiatives in the open government plan that fall under GSA’s purview are developing pilot programs to help increase public engagement in developing policy and program implementation, sustainability and federal procurement transparency goals. 

The Obama administration issued three open government plans, in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Former President Donald Trump published one in 2019

The advisory committee will include representatives from federal agencies, state and local government, industry and academia. 

“Strengthening the partnership between GSA and civil society bolsters our democracy by enhancing our collective understanding and efforts in shaping a more open government,” GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan said in a statement. “This new Federal Advisory Committee is a testament to GSA’s commitment to work within and across the U.S. government, while holding ourselves to the open government principles of transparency, accountability and engagement alongside civil society stakeholders.”

According to GSA's April 26 notice of intent to form the committee, the body will be comprised of 10 to 20 members appointed by the GSA administrator from among nominated individuals.