The Open Austin Policy Team works with local governments and public agencies, in support of open government and civic technologies.
In every City of Austin election since 2011, Open Austin submitted a policy questionnaire to all the candidates. We ask for their response on a variety of open government and important civic tech issues. We do not endorse candidates, but we do encourage voters to be informed on candidate positions.
- 2016 Austin City Council Candidate Questionnaire
- 2014 Austin City Council Candidate Questionnaire
- 2012 Austin City Council Candidate Questionnaire
- 2011 Austin City Council Candidate Questionnaire
Documents and Activity
Here’s some of the activity that’s occurred during our advocacy for open government.
2016 Advocacy Agenda
Open Austin members brainstormed a list of priorities for using data to improve public services, mostly at the city level.
Open Data Initiative 2.0 - Apr 8, 2015
The city launched its open data initiative with the creation of its new website and open data portal. To increase department participation and open data availability, city management relaunched the effort with the Open Data Initiative 2.0.
- Open Data Initiative 2.0 - Memo from City Manager to department heads announcing the Open Data Initiative 2.0
- Open Data Participation Plan - 90 plan to implement the Open Data Initiative 2.0
Open Government Briefing Guide - Aug 27, 2014
As part of our outreach effort for the 2014 City of Austin municipal election, we produced a briefing guide and distributed it to all the candidates for mayor and city council. The briefing guide summarized some of the key policies and initiatives related to open government and open data efforts in Austin.
- Open Government Briefing Guide (1.8MB PDF document)
Innovation Office Goals - Oct 9, 2013
We’ve proposed that the City of Austin create an Office of Civic Innovation, and the City is moving forward on this effort.
In an attempt to clarify the expectations for this office, the Community Technology and Telecommunications Commission adopted a recommendation for items to be included in the mission and goals for the office.
Open Government Audit - Aug 28, 2013
The City of Austin Auditor conducted a performance audit of the Open Government Initiative and presented their findings to the City Council Audit and Finance Committee. A key finding of the report was:
The lack of a defined strategy is impacting the City’s ability to successfully implement the Open Government initiative, as directed by Council resolution.
We attended the committee meeting and expressed our concerns about the state of the Open Government Initiative, focussing on the lack of community engagement in the Civic Innovation Office effort.
- Report: AustinGO Website Governance and Management Audit
- Presentation by City Auditor: AustinGO Website Governance and Management Audit
- Presentation by City Staff: AustinGo Webside Governance and Management Audit
- Presentation by Open Austin: Open Gov Initiative Community Perspective
- Video: Audit and Finance Committee, Aug 28, 2013, agenda item 4
Draft Open Government Directive - Aug 26, 2013
Just days before the report on the performance audit of the Open Government Initiative, the City Manager released a draft Open Government Directive. It’s expected that the final directive will be forthcoming once the open Civic Innovation Officer is hired. This directive was developed by city staff, working with the Open Government Working Group setup by the City of Austin Community Technology and Telecommunications Commission, and includes our input.
Innovation Office Proposal - Aug 30, 2012
The Austin City Council held a Budget Hearing on August 30, 2012 to receive citizen input on the FY2013 budget. At the hearing, we proposed creating a Civic Innovation Office to provide leadership for the city’s Open Government Initiative. The City Council approved adding $250K funds to the FY2013 budget to pilot a new innovation office.
- Civic Innovation Office Proposal by Open Austin
Open Government Resolution - Dec 8, 2011
On December 8, 2011, the Austin City Council adopted an Open Government Resolution, which called for the City Manager to propose an Open Government Framework, including implementation plans and budgets. We provided input to the resolution and strongly support its adoption.
- City of Austin Open Data Portal (data.austintexas.gov) - Provides datasets published by the City, as well as reporting and visualization tools that operate on these datasets.
- City of Austin GIS (Geographic Information Systems) - Downloadable GIS datasets, plus links to various maps and viewers.
- Capital Metro Geospatial Data - GIS datasets published by the local transit authority.
- CAPCOG Data, Maps, and Reports - Published by the Capital Area Council of Governments
- TNRIS Maps & Data - Published by the Texas Natural Resources Information System, part of the Texas Water Development Board.
City of Austin
- Austin Government Online (AustinGO) - Updates from the City of Austin “AustinGO” team.
- @atxgo - AustinGO2.0 Twitter feed
- Code for America / Austin - In 2012, Austin participated in a Code for America fellowship.