OpenGov Citizen Engagement Tool: Guidance for Agency Web and New Media Teams Using the GSA Tool

Agencies must provide a mechanism on their /open webpage (e.g., email, phone, online survey, etc.) to solicit ideas and comments from the public for purposes of Open Government. To help the 24 agencies subject to the CFO Act (PDF, 228 KB, 33 pages, September 2011) gather this feedback, GSA is offering an online dialog, powered by IdeaScale. At this time, the tool is only available to these 24 agencies.

On This Page:

About the Tool

GSA is offering an online dialog to the 24 CFO Act agencies, powered by IdeaScale.

Agencies will use this and other tools to collect feedback from February 6 until March 19, 2010.

Using the Tool

Promotion and Outreach

Policy Docs and Background Information

  • Cookie Waiver (PDF, 148 KB, 4 pages, January 2010) – GSA obtained a waiver from GSA's Acting Administrator to use persistent cookies for the log-in features of IdeaScale. Your agency does not need its own waiver to use the GSA–Administered tool. You may need a waiver if you take over administration of this tool and run it without GSA, depending on the status of the OMB cookie policy at that time.
  • Paperwork Reduction Act Emergency Clearance – GSA and OMB determined the solicitation of ideas and comments from the public for purposes of Open Government is generally exempt from Paperwork Reduction Act requirements and review. However, GSA submitted and OMB approved an emergency standard form clearance for the rating, ranking and flagging aspect of online citizen engagement tools used for purposes of Open Government. The collection of information requirements for Open Government Citizen Engagement Ratings, Rankings, and Flagging were approved on February 1, 2010 by OMB and assigned OMB control number 3090–0288.
  • Usability Testing Results of OpenGov Citizen Engagement Tool Homepage (PDF, 3 MB, 56 pages, January 2010) – In January 2010, GSA conducted usability testing of the homepage (just a picture /jpeg of the homepage was tested, as the site was not built yet). Over the course of one day, we conducted 41 individual rapid user tests – a combination of remote and in-person, both moderated and un-moderated. Many of these recommendations have been incorporated into the current design, although not all could be implemented due to time restrictions and IdeaScale configurations. Additional user testing of the site is planned.
  • Accessibility Policy – Accessibility policy for IdeaScale tool
  • Privacy Policy – Information about use of collected personal information for IdeaScale tool
  • Privacy Impact Assessment – Privacy impact assessment on use of IdeaScale for public dialogs (MS Word, 116 KB, 10 pages, January 2010)

Closing/Transitioning Your OpenGov Citizen Engagement Tool

For a list of steps needed to take over/close your site, see OpenGov Citizen Engagement Tool Transition Requirements (MS Excel, 27KB, 1 tab, March 2010)

Whether you plan to close your site, or transition it into something new, here is some potential language for your agency .gov/open pages:

  • Take a look at the ideas and comments submitted in our recent OpenGov online engagement. The comment period has ended, but you can still review the ideas submitted.
  • Our first OpenGov online engagement was completed March 19, 2010, but you can still review all the ideas/comments received at New opportunities for sharing your ideas are coming soon. Our next topic will be... ...
  • Thank you for your ideas/comments ( for developing our OpenGovernment Plan. We're incorporating your feedback into our draft Open Government Plan and will post the plan here on April 7, 2010. We will invite public input on the plan itself, so sign up now for our email alert (LINK) notifying you of when the plan is posted.





Content Lead: Justin Herman
Page Reviewed/Updated: February 26, 2013

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