The Baseline Transparency Standard - Video

Watch our short 3 minute video that describes the Baseline Transparency Standard in clear, simple terms.

First, Level the Playing Field

The question is now, "what should be published, and in what form?".  The TransparaGov Educational Foundation's Baseline Transparency Index (BTI®) establishes the baseline list of specific elements of transparency information and definitions of the form in which that information should be presented. This list provides a baseline reference for state transparency, and answers this question.

The Baseline Transparency Index (BTI®)

Without a consistent definition of what states can and should publish, it is impossible to determine if states are living up to their transparency obligations. More importantly, without this baseline, all criticism of state performance will only be viewed through a partisan lens. In an environment where nothing is defined, nothing can be measured.

The Baseline Transparency Index (BTI®) defines the baseline list of what constitutes 'real transparency'. Judgments and evaluations of state publications made in reference to this baseline, are themselves, objective and not partisan.  This baseline is a list of between 100 and 150 specific types of information, and an additional 100+ definitions of form and format that published information should take.  Each state can and should publish information in each of these categories in order to consider themselves "fully transparent".

Available to anyone

This index will be made available to anyone without charge, and will be proactively distributed to transparency organizations, elected state officials and all members of the media in order to enable a consistent baseline with which to evaluate all states, provide a roadmap for state transparency publications, and to enable objective, non-partisan state to state performance comparrison.

Next, Research & Report on Every State

TransparaGov conducts research into each state's transparency publications using the Baseline Transparency Elements set as a guide. Findings are published in the form of an Annual State Transparency Report (ASTR) (one per state). These reports provide evaluations of the information published by each state against the Baseline Trasnparency Initiative standard transparency elements.

 

BTI® Based - Annual State Transparency Reports (ASTR®)

The ASTR® report reviews each state's transparency publications and information sources against the Baseline Transparency Index (BTI®). It describes the form of publication, the accuracy of the data published, and the number of years of historical information published in each of 230+ basline transparency elements.

Comprehensive and Objective - The ASTR® scoring and ranking system is a comprehensive and objective system that evaluates state transparency efforts. Every element of a state's transparency activity is meticulously reviewed. During this review a comprehensive list of state transparency activities is compiled. Each element’s base value, data depth, and execution multiplier (performance variable) is used to calculate the state’s total score for each basline element.

Analysis and Reccomendations - The ASTR® report also provides commentary and recommendations from leading industry IT professionals on how to improve and how to more efficiently deliver transparency information. Possibly the most important part of the report is the index to the locations of transparency information published by each state. This index is like Google, but focused solely on state transparency information sources. In the electronic version of the ASTR® report, every reference to a state's performance in any basline element is linked directly to that state's information publication online.

Baseline Transparency Index Based - The ASTR® report is based on the BTI®. The BTI® formulas for calculating the baseline transparency element values have been developed by our analysts over many years, and constitute the only mathematical model for state transparency in the world. This model is highly accurate, and generates baseline transparency element 'base values' based on hundreds of factors. The ASTR® scoring system is the most sophisticated and comprehensive ever conceived, and it is the only object measure of state transparency that exists today.

Its Easy to understand

The ASTRtm report is easy to understand. It features visualizations that can help anyone understand complex state transparency information. Click on an image below to view an excerpt of a sample state ASTR report.
The report excerpts above is a small sample of the type of powerful information contained in the ASTRtm report.

ASTR® is Loaded With Powerful Interactive Features

The ASTR® report includes powerful interactive features that make it easy to communicate with government leaders and your social circles. It includes links to transparency information published by each state, and powerful visualizations that can help you clearly understand each state's transparency performance.

State Resource Guide

States publish transparency without instructions on where to find it or how to use it. ASTR® is the missing transparency 'users guide'

Transparency Baseline

The TransparaGov Transparency Baseline includes 230+ elements that define exactly what information each state can and should publish.

Scoring and Ranking

Each state's transparency publications are objectively scored and ranked against the 230+ elements in the transparency matrix.

Social Media Integration

ASTR® is tightly integrated with more than a dozen social media networks. Your discoveries can be easily shared with a click of a button.

Communication Features

ASTR® includes example email text and elected official's email addresses & telephone numbers to promote interaction and stewardship.

Powerful Visualizations

ASTR® includes state-of-the-art visualizations focused on state transparency information, making it easy to understand complex issues.

Available to everyone for no cost.

Lasting accountability cannot occur unless state government, the media, and public employees are kept continually informed as to their progress toward real transparency. The TransparaGov Educational Foundation was formed to place the BTI® and the ASTR® report in the hands of every elected state official, member of the media, and every public employee, without cost to them.

These People Need this Information

 

Informed - Elected officials must be kept up to date on their state's transparency performance. This awareness impacts their decisions and their actions.

 

Responsible - Full transparency drives accountability. When leaders can easily reference their own transparency data, they can make informed decisions and be accountable for them.

 

Articulate - The BTI® and the ASTR® report helps leaders locate and reference transparency data when communicating with each other, and with their constituents.

 

Vigilance - Members of the media act as our watchdogs. The BTI® and the ASTR® report helps them find the information they need to hold our leaders accountable.

 

Accuracy - It is not enough to know the numbers. In order to understand them, it is necessary to know the context surrounding our leaders decisions.
Detail - The ASTR® report provides an accurate index to the sources and locations of information published by each state..

 

Culture - Public employees expend public resources. The BTI® and the ASTR® can serve as a reminder that all public resources belong to the people.

 

Productivity - Public employees who understand that all public resources were provided by the people, have an incentive to be better  stewards.

 

Responsibility - Waste and abuse occurs every day. Fully informed public employees are equipped to spot it, report it, and prevent it.

This Changes Everything.

When state government transparency efforts can be compared and contrasted with other state's transparency efforts against a common baseline, it becomes possible provide objective evaluation and constructive advice designed to help states improve their transparency performance without partisan resistance. Without such a baseline or common reference set, evaluation is virtually always viewed as partisan criticism, and therefore resisted and/or ignored.

When the media can conduct these contrasts between states, they have an invaluable source of critical questions that will encourage elected officials to improve.

When every public employee is made aware of exactly where tax dollars come from, and where they are spent, and the specific decisions and actions taken by elected officials, they can become watchdogs, further driving accountability and real transparency.

The net result is real lasting State Government accountability, and real performance improvement.

You can help

You can help us complete the BTItm, and put it and the ASTRtm report in the hands of the people that need it.


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