As a technology entrepreneur it has been an education for me to be a member of the Open Data User Group (ODUG) striving to accelerate the Open Data agenda. Although it is some years since I worked in a policy unit I mistakenly believed that we had the basic framework to deliver the next phase of the Open Data agenda and would be releasing datasets once we understood the barriers.
The launch of the ODUG Roadmap allowed us to understand not just the barriers to Open Data but the benefits of Open Data, and the datasets which mattered most to a wide variety of citizens and consumers alike. ODUG created an entirely new form of Open Data, Demand Led Open Data; This has caused quite a stir in the Open Data world. One of the most startling facts was that 1 in 10 viewers of the roadmap raise a data request for the release of a dataset important to them. With over 8,000 viewers and now approaching 800 data requests and counting; one of ODUG’s key tasks has been prioritising and building business cases for the release of new Open Datasets.
Local Authority Data has featured strongly in our work, giving rise to the Local Authority Incentive Scheme which is intended to support and encourage the development of national views of local datasets, held by each Local Authority. The scheme has secured funding from the Release of Data Fund RoDF. Working collaboratively with a Local Government Association (LGA) team, support from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and a huge amount of help from the data folks in Local Authorities (LAs) across the landscape, we have used the data requests provided by the Open Data Community to focus on the creation of 3 schemas: public conveniences, planning and licensing.
With the support of 3 of our Smart City teams we are now preparing to launch the scheme to an invited LA audience. The launch events will allow LAs to understand what they need to do to apply for the funding to release data against these schemas Our ODUG and LGA teams will be on hand to answer questions about the scheme. In order to qualify for the funding an ODI certificate will be required for the released data. We are only mandating the basic Raw ODI certificates, but will be encouraging LAs to strive for higher levels of quality of released data.
Until we start to receive applications we do not yet know how many LAs will be releasing data under this scheme, but we are planning to incentivise the release of data against all 3 schemas. We are also offering Open Data Training Vouchers to help those LAs who need additional data skills to help deliver datasets under the LA Incentive Scheme.
The progress of the LA Incentive Scheme will be transparently reported. This is likely to mean unleashing the data journalist within to tell the data story, not only covering the impact of the scheme on the Open Data agenda but also how this has helped LAs to publish key datasets requested by the Open Data Community and how the community has been able to make use of the data.
We encourage all LAs to participate in this venture and will keep you posted on this journey and the next steps for Demand Led Open Data.
Open Data User Group