Governance Committee

A governance committee gives life to the policy and oversees its proper implementation. This team makes policy decisions, prioritizes data publishing, resolves systemic issues raised by city staff or the public, monitors and mitigates risks, and communicates success to the public. During the early stages of the program, this group meets frequently; once the program becomes stable, the meeting frequency can be reduced, and the membership may be reconfigured to reflect the specific requirements of the program. Although establishing a formal charter and committee procedures are usually unnecessary, larger committees may find them helpful.


The governance committee is usually composed of leaders and managers who will be held accountable for the success of the open data program, such as:

  • Deputy Mayor, Assistant City Manager, or Senior Executive, who serves as the committee chair
  • Council Members or designees (if a law or ordinance was passed and sponsors expect to be engaged on an ongoing basis)
  • Chief Counsel
  • Press or Communications Manager
  • Chief Information Officer, Chief Technology Officer, or Chief Data Officer
  • Project Manager
  • Agency or department heads or their representatives
  • Data managers from all relevant agencies and departments
  • Community members, such as open data advocates, nonprofits or service providers, or businesses that rely on open data
  • As needed presenters or other guests

Community members are key in providing an external perspective; checking the priorities of the governmental committee members; and communicating the committee's work back to the public at large. Community members must be empowered to speak candidly and confidently, and know that their input is valued with equal weight.


During the formative stages of the open data program, the governance committee meets bi-weekly, as frequent reviews of the developing governance plans and implementation progress are needed. As the program matures, the committee can elect to reduce the meeting frequency to review ongoing progress and address outstanding concerns, and may designate subcommittees to achieve particular regular tasks (e.g., reviewing proposed datasets for sensitivity.)

Agendas for Open Data Governance Committee meetings should bolster the Committee's charge to promote the city's open data policy, which may include:

  • providing guidance and policy recommendations and, when appropriate, recommending additional legislation or regulations for:
    • procedures, standards, and other deliverables for open data, including for open data portals
    • promotion, advertising, and marketing of open data
      • best practices for sharing open data while taking into account privacy and security concerns
  • coordinating the appropriate staff at each agency or department for the development, maintenance, and use of open data and open data portals
  • identifying the collective cost of operating and investing in open data and funding mechanisms to support open data; and
  • advising the Mayor, City Manager, or City Council on budget matters related to open data
  • inviting and encouraging local entities and the legislative and judicial branches to:
    • use open data portals established by city entities;
    • create their own open data portals; and
    • adopt policies consistent with the city's open data policy
  • establishing a plan for providing all open data to the public at no cost
  • advocating for sound records management and data preservation practices
  • making recommendations to ensure that the purchase of new data processing devices, systems, and software by the city includes a review of compliance with the open data policy

Refer to Appendix A for a sample meeting agenda and Appendix B for a sample follow up memo.

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