The UK is amongst the best in the world at releasing Open Data at a national level – but the same can’t be said at other parts of government. What can be done?
Could it be that the data at lower levels is less accessible? For every piece of valuable data, there’s at least one local authority doing it well, but rarely more than a couple. For example, around 100 local authorities have published business rates data, but several hundred more haven’t. The vast majority of local authorities haven’t published empty homes data.
Continue reading Getting Better Open Data at national, regional and local levels
What is a Register?
Registers are lists of things published on the web and available via an API.
You maintain accountability, via Blockchain-like technologies called Merkle Trees, which allows you to track back through previous changes, and a single source of truth, meaning that people link back to the central source. A Register has a named owner, responsible for the maintenance and updating of that data. They are sometimes called “Custodians” and should be a subject expert in that field. It is possible to have multiple Custodians. There is a Register of Registers – produced by the GDS.
Continue reading Registers: Accountable government lists of things
The interface team in Northern Ireland is tasked with dealing with the peace walls – Interfaces – which separate Protestant and Catholic areas of Belfast and elsewhere – which are due to come down by 2023. The program has a Twitter account and Facebook accounts to increase engagement with individuals and communities concerned.
Cupar Way is the largest of the interface structures.
In order to get them down, then government has committed to only removing them with the consent of the involved communities – but actually reaching this point present significant challenges. And some of these areas are the most deprived in Northern Ireland.
Continue reading Can Open Data help Northern Ireland bring down its interfaces?
Controversially, Gavin Freeguard, head of data and transparency at the Institute for Government, was allowed a PowerPoint presentation at Open Data Camp 4. However, it was in a good cause.
His slides enabled him to give some concrete examples of the data in the Whitehall Monitoring Project, which he runs. The project monitors the shape and size of government, the morale of civil servants, and other factors.
Continue reading A tale of two datasets
Local government seems to be in a perpetual state of competition – while the most efficient use of resources would be to collaborate. So how could open data help facilitate that?
One attendee talked about formalised co-ordination roles. There have been some pockets of good stuff: the Cabinet Office nominated over a dozen councils as their open data champions, with some mixed results. Redbridge’s data sharing platform DataShare, part funded by the LGA, seems to be well-liked by those who have used it. Some other user authorities are using it – but it’s often not as well implemented as the Redbridge implementation.
Continue reading Better local government through open data