At Open Evidence, one of our main activities is tools that allow tracking of policy progress, for instance of the Digital Agenda for Europe, eGovernment Action Plan, the Startup Manifesto, the Innovation Union, the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs. Here, people in charge of each action are allowed to update data on its progress.

One problem we experienced, when you giver users full control, is that there are many changes to the original plan so that it becomes impossible to actually detect delays.

This is not an exception, but the rule in bureaucratic organisations. For instance, I just detected a beautiful graph from Linders, D., & Wilson, S. C. (2011). What is open government?: one year after the directive. 12th Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research (dg.o 2011), 262–271. doi:10.1145/2037556.2037599.

It compares the performance of the Open Government plans before and after the update of the action plan.

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 12.25.53

This shows clearly that updating the plan levelled out the differences between “good” and “bad” performers.

We should provide tools that monitor not only the performance against plan, but the changes in the plan itself across time.