The Leading Practices were designed to highlight examples where agencies have risen above the expectations set by the White House, and proactively attained a higher standard of transparency. (I participated in helping to establish the leading practices standards.)
The winners are a collection of some of the best transparency work being done at federal agencies, with HHS taking the slot for transparency (quite deservingly). These winners are a nice counterpart to the White House page on Open Government Highlights.
As I wrote when the Leading Practices were first announced, though, there is a bittersweet element to this congratulatory platform. As the White House rightly points to the great work some agencies are undertaking, we can’t help but wonder whether there is an analagous effort being undertaken with agencies who are struggling with (or blowing off) the Directive’s requirements.
While we can hardly expect the White House or OMB to publicly chastise any laggard agencies, we do have to wonder how much of a private stick exists to go along with this public carrot.