HD14 - Commonwealth Data Point Transparency Best Practices - December 1, 2010

Executive Summary:
Overall, Commonwealth Data Point contains a majority of the best practices that we identified during our review, and incorporates additional features beyond existing best practices.

Government Technology’s Digital States Survey in 2010 ranked Virginia as second best in the United States for state government technology practices. This Survey cited Commonwealth Data Point as a major reason for the ranking. Contributing to this ranking was the website’s ability to track government credit card transactions, population levels in prisons and schools, and government work force levels.

Our review identified three basic categories for grouping transparency best practices. These categories are Comprehensiveness, Accessibility, and Search-ability. Each of these categories includes detailed recommendations or already existing transparency initiatives found in a majority of state database websites. We did not include practices that appeared to be specific to a particular state or do not exist across the board in our sources.

Commonwealth Data Point does not include salary information, copies of contracts, performance measures reporting, and tax subsidy data. Best practices would dictate that this information be included; however, these features are currently impractical either because the Commonwealth’s legacy accounting system would not support them or legislative changes would be necessary to provide the information.