Governments are vast repositories of information. Increasingly, citizens are looking to governments to liberate these information holdings – to make them accessible in as seamless and convenient a way as they expect services to be available electronically. Many have suggested that the liberation of information is the next wave of the GOL revolution. As information holdings are made accessible through Internet portals, opportunities arise to engage citizens in discussions and dialogue.
At the same time, technology can provide the means whereby program information can be compiled, collected and organized in ways that will facilitate more effective evaluation of programs, better coordination of programs delivering related services, and a means of measuring program effectiveness as measured against societal objectives. It offers a different way of assessing results in an open and transparent way.
This kind of integration potential also holds promise for transforming the whole of government into a learning organization. It can bring departments together around common societal themes in ways not imagined possible a few years ago.
Further issues to explore include identifying the issues that need to be addressed in liberating government information and possible limits to the role of government in facilitating this objective, as well as how ICT is being used today to foster new ways of measuring programs and adjusting program evaluation to link to societal objectives. Questions arise as to the limits or barriers to moving to a more holistic way of assessing and evaluating programs and which ones require political-level intervention.