[LINK] eGovernment

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Thu Jan 21 00:10:02 AEDT 2010

US Gov Agencies to use Ideascale software for online forums

By ELISE CASTELLI | Last Updated: January 19, 2010 

Cabinet-level departments and large agencies plan to launch online 
discussion forums by Feb. 6 using IdeaScale software.

The deal was announced Tuesday by the General Services Administration, 
which arranged it. Access to the forum technology will be free to 

President Obama ordered agencies to create online forums by Feb. 6 to 
solicit the public's opinions on what information the government should 
make more publicly accessible, as part of his Open Government initiative.

A GSA spokeswoman said the agency decided upon using IdeaScale after 
comparing no-cost dialogue tools. 

Ideascale won out because it provided features, such as allowing citizens 
to submit their own ideas as well as voting on others' ideas, and because 
it already had a proven track record at the White House and the Federal 
Communications Commission. 

Twenty-one agencies — including all Cabinet-level departments and most of 
the largest non-Cabinet level agencies — have signed up so far to use the 
tool, said David McClure, GSA's associate administrator for the Office of 
Citizen Services and Communications.

Using the same technology at many agencies is ideal, McClure said, 
because then citizens can participate in multiple forums without having 
to relearn how to use the forums for each agency.

GSA will initially provide the back-end support for the software, such as 
technical assistance and training, leaving agency administrators more 
time to run and moderate the online dialogue, McClure said. If agencies 
wish to continue using the forums to discuss other topics besides Open 
Government, they can, but they must take over those back-end support 
duties, McClure said.

"We view this as the beginning salvo of the public dialogues agencies 
will conduct on a regular basis," McClure said.


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