The Open Austin Policy Team works with local governments and public agencies, in support of open government and civic technologies.

Advocacy Agendas

Open Austin members brainstormed a list of priorities for using data to improve public services, mostly at the city level.

Candidate Questionnaires

In every City of Austin election since 2011, Open Austin submitted a policy questionnaire to all the candidates. We ask for their response on a variety of open government and important civic tech issues. We do not endorse candidates, but we do encourage voters to be informed on candidate positions.

Resources for Advocacy

Government Data

Open Records

City of Austin


Other Resources

City Initiatives

Open Data Initiative 2.0 - Apr 8, 2015

The city launched its open data initiative with the creation of its new website and open data portal. To increase department participation and open data availability, city management relaunched the effort with the Open Data Initiative 2.0.

Open Government Briefing Guide - Aug 27, 2014

As part of our outreach effort for the 2014 City of Austin municipal election, we produced a briefing guide and distributed it to all the candidates for mayor and city council. The briefing guide summarized some of the key policies and initiatives related to open government and open data efforts in Austin.

Innovation Office Goals - Oct 9, 2013

We’ve proposed that the City of Austin create an Office of Civic Innovation, and the City is moving forward on this effort.

In an attempt to clarify the expectations for this office, the Community Technology and Telecommunications Commission adopted a recommendation for items to be included in the mission and goals for the office.

Open Government Audit - Aug 28, 2013

The City of Austin Auditor conducted a performance audit of the Open Government Initiative and presented their findings to the City Council Audit and Finance Committee. A key finding of the report was:

The lack of a defined strategy is impacting the City’s ability to successfully implement the Open Government initiative, as directed by Council resolution.

We attended the committee meeting and expressed our concerns about the state of the Open Government Initiative, focussing on the lack of community engagement in the Civic Innovation Office effort.

Draft Open Government Directive - Aug 26, 2013

Just days before the report on the performance audit of the Open Government Initiative, the City Manager released a draft Open Government Directive. It’s expected that the final directive will be forthcoming once the open Civic Innovation Officer is hired. This directive was developed by city staff, working with the Open Government Working Group setup by the City of Austin Community Technology and Telecommunications Commission, and includes our input.

Innovation Office Proposal - Aug 30, 2012

The Austin City Council held a Budget Hearing on August 30, 2012 to receive citizen input on the FY2013 budget. At the hearing, we proposed creating a Civic Innovation Office to provide leadership for the city’s Open Government Initiative. The City Council approved adding $250K funds to the FY2013 budget to pilot a new innovation office.

Open Government Resolution - Dec 8, 2011

On December 8, 2011, the Austin City Council adopted an Open Government Resolution, which called for the City Manager to propose an Open Government Framework, including implementation plans and budgets. We provided input to the resolution and strongly support its adoption.