The Local Open Government Directive


In early December, I went out to Denver to attend CityCamp Colorado, an unconference devoted to making Colorado’s governments on the local level (Denver, Arvada and Boulder were represented, among others) more open, transparent and accessible for their citizens.

It was an inspiring weekend, to say the least. Here at Sunlight, we’ve long been fans of CityCamp (and by long I mean one year and a day — CityCamp’s first birthday was yesterday), but this was the first time I’d personally seen local government officials, technology vendors, developers, bloggers and citizen activists take a full Saturday — during prime ski season, no less — to make their government more transparent and accessible.

Out of that gathering was born the idea for the Local Open Government Directive, a model based on the federal Open Government Directive modified to help local governments bring about openness and transparency. Over the last month, representatives from Colorado Smart Communities, CityCamp, Code for America, Civic Commons, the Sunlight Foundation and many other activists have been working together to create this document.

As with any open government initiative, this project is still a work in progress. We expect that it will continue to change as more governments adopt the principles and practices of open government and develop new best practices utilizing new technologies. In that spirit, the project will continue to be open to feedback and improvement. We also recognize that it’s a template that different communities facing different challenges will need to modify to fit their own needs. That said, we think this is an excellent start, and are proud to have been a part of the process.

The full document, including versions with and without collaborators’ comments, is available at:

As this document embodies one of Sunlight’s guiding principles — public information should be online in real time — we’ve created a space for supporters to sign on to support the project. We hope that you will endorse this initiative and share it with your community.