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Public satisfaction with online agency transparency down

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Public satisfaction with the transparency of online government information has gone down, according to the most recent results of a quarterly survey of visitors to federal websites conducted by ForeSee Results of Ann Arbor, Mich.

Based on responses from almost 58,000 volunteer participants who pointed their browsers, during the second quarter of this year, to 27 particular federal websites, satisfaction with the online thoroughness and accessibility of information merits a score of 75 on a scale of 100.

That score is 1.2 percent less than the score of 76 (based on satisfaction scores garnered from 24 government websites) the federal government earned during the first quarter of this year, according to ForeSee's numbers.

Regular visitors to federal websites no doubt are familiar with the ForeSee survey box that invites users to rate their perceptions of the content on a ten point scale.

The transparency results matter because when citizens find an agency website highly transparent (e.g., rating it a score of 80 or higher) they are 50 percent more likely than those who find a website not so transparent (e.g., giving a rating of 70 or lower) to participate in expressing their thoughts with that agency, writes ForeSee Chief Executive Officer Larry Freed in an analysis of the results. Further, high transparency ratings results in 56 percent higher trust levels in government agencies among high raters as compared to low raters.

The Office of Management earlier this month updated its own ratings of transparency in government agencies through its open government traffic light scorecard, giving most agencies a green rating, a significant change from OMB ratings in April when the dominant color was yellow. A link on the current scorecard to the earlier version currently leads to a page not found error message.

UPDATE: After being asked by FierceGovernmentIT on Sept. 1 for a hard copy of the earlier ratings, OMB responded by fixing the link so that it now leads to the earlier version.

For more:
- download the ForeSee Q2 2010 e-government transparency index (reg req)
- see the ForeSee Q2 2010 ratings for 27 participating agency websites
- see the current OMB traffic light scorecard on government transparency
- read an August 12 blog post from Aneesh Chopra and Cass Sunstein on the new scorecard

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