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What is Transparency 2017-05-10T16:32:04+00:00
ClerkBase: Hosted Transparency Solutions

What is transparency?

“Transparency: d.: characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices.”

 

Merriam-Webster

Simply defined, transparency is the public’s oversight of its public agencies. Achieving a transparent environment is as simple as A-B-C.

A. Accessibility
People should have access to the decision-making processes of public agencies. In order to be fully informed, citizens should also have access to all supporting documents involved in those decisions. For example, an environmental impact report on the building of a new gas station.

B. Background
In order to fully understand the current issues, people must be able to view them in relation to previous actions. For example, a public hearing on whether to allow a business to open at a certain location can be researched to see what, if any, other businesses have existed in that space, and what their impact was on the community.

C. Contribution
People should have the ability to provide ideas and feedback to their representatives. For example, requests for traffic lights and pot-hole repair.

Most public agencies have devised some method of achieving these goals. The people can go to the record-keeper’s office to request copies of upcoming agendas, supporting documents, and/or previous minutes. There’s often a fee involved, and a long wait while the records keeper finds and copies the information.

Accessibility

Today many agencies have their public documents available online. However, finding them in a sea of other documents can be complicated and time-consuming.

That’s where the ClerkBase service comes in. We host agendas and minutes for government agencies, to allow easy Accessibility, and just as importantly, easy search. All without creating extra work for staff. In fact, many of our clients find that we actually free up time by taking hosting work off their hands.

We believe that it’s not enough to have information available online, you have to be able to find it. Our Smart Search is the industry-leading solution for accurate and intuitive results.

OpenGOVideo, our video streaming/hosting solution, allows people to watch the actual meeting from any location with an internet connection – either live or after the fact. This provides a more detailed account of the meeting than minutes do.

Background

The longer a public agency has been around, the most history there is. And the more history there is, the more information has to be waded through to find what we’re looking for.

Hosting historical information on ClerkBase lets agency staff and constituents work both forward, to upcoming meetings, and backward, through the history that led to the question at hand.

Once again Smart Search comes into play. You can look for every instance of a word or phrase, across multiple boards, and back as far as your online records will take you. You can also narrow your search to a specific time period or board. Smart Search is flexible and easy to use.

Contribution

Public agencies exist to serve their constituents, so a vital part of any public agency’s operation requires feedback.

But beyond that, there are many more constituents than there are public servants. They live in and want the best for their community, and while they may not hold public office, they may have the expertise an agency needs to find a solution to a problem or to prevent problems in the first place. Public agencies’ brain trusts increase exponentially with constituent engagement.

When ClerkBase says that we’re “Building Trust Through Transparency,” we mean it in more ways than one.

The bottom line:

Citizens have both a right and an obligation to participate in the public agencies that make policy decisions that impact themselves and their property. To do so, they need access to information. Why not make it easy?

ClerkBase has the solution. Contact us for more information on how to build trust through transparency.

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