Exciting news! We have two new Release of Data Fund funding rounds planned for May and July this year – read the guidance at www.gov.uk/government/publications/breakthrough-fund-and-release-of-data-fund for full details.
In February ODUG ran a process attracting over 40 bids which were assessed by a panel of ODUG members enabling us to make recommendations to the March meeting of the Public Sector Transparency Board covering ten priority projects. Funds totalling ~£1.5m were approved which will help unlock more Open Data and increase Public Sector Capacity in Open Data. The projects with agreed funding are:
- Local Government Association Voucher Scheme – Proposal to unlock open data from local authorities by offering open data training vouchers for 1 data set, and cash for 3 data sets. Proposal will allow local authority data to be made available.
- Leeds Data Mill - Proposal for Leeds Council to create a hub for data to support citizens by making data about public services freely available. Funding for future stages will be reviewed in due course.
- Legislative Openness – Proposal to make Department of Work and Pensions legislative data downloadable as bulk data. Proposal will bring UK in line with best practice on the Open Data Census.
- Data Issue Tracker – Proposal to implement a strong reporting mechanism into DGUK and other websites to allow issues with broken links to be reported and fixed. This proposal is expected to drive down data requests by 30%.
- Local Data Census – Proposal is a survey of the availability of open data at local and city level across the UK. Project will allow analysis of available data sets and identification of areas lacking data.
- Open Data Training for public servants –Data courses to be provided for public servants. This proposal will improve skill levels at handling data within the civil service, and will contribute towards a culture change towards being open by default.
- Open data procurement training – Proposal to develop a range of materials, training and support about open data for all those involved with public procurement.
- Housing Big Data – Proposal to create anonymised open data extracts of Housing Association data. This will help inform the social housing sector and derive significant benefits.
We funded these priority projects very quickly, with a minimum level of bureaucracy, to get useful projects underway as soon as possible. These projects will report back against their milestones and deadlines and we will be letting you know what progress is being made against the deliverables on a regular basis.
We have also been working on the detailed process for future funding rounds. There has been some confusion around the sources of funding available for Open Data work so I am very pleased to let you know that Cabinet Office and BIS have streamlined the information available on Open Data Funding Programmes (www.data.gov.uk/blog/open-data-funding-programmes). Also, there is now a single set of guidance and application form for both the Release of Data Fund, and the Breakthrough Fund available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/breakthrough-fund-and-release-of-data-fund.
This should help those applying for funding and also helps us ensure that individual projects are not being funded twice, to make the best possible use of the money available. Finally, I will be inviting a panel of independent assessors to review the priority bids to the Release of Data Fund and we will commission a robust evaluation programme to assess the results achieved and value for money. We will feed this information into our advice to government on the funding necessary in future years, to help the Open Data agenda mature.
So, if you have a cash-starved idea to release more Open Data to the wider community please send your application in as soon as possible. I will look forward to reading it!
Chair Open Data User Group