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Funding Agreed for Important New Open Data Projects

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The second Release of Data Fund (RoDF) funding round has agreed funding for six new projects. These include assistance to help the Environment Agency release its Flood Data and a new initiative to push forward the delivery of fully Open Addressing for the benefit of all sectors of the economy.

The second RoDF funding round was run closely with the BIS Breakthrough Fund. Bids were assessed against the criteria set out in guidance and clarification was sought from individual applicants where necessary. I am delighted that a further £637,800 of project funding has been approved, which brings the total RoDF funding allocated to-date to just over £2m.

The new projects added this time are:

  • Flood Data – The Environment Agency (EA) have been granted project spend to assist with the technical work necessary to release the National Flood Risk Assessment (NaFRA) data. EA recently announced their intention to move to an Open Data model for flood data, with a full data release scheduled for March 2015. The RoDF funding will help to guarantee the release of this data. We are also in discussion with the EA to seek ways to bring the release of their flood data forward as it would be preferable to have the data released before, rather than during or after, the next flood season.
  • Open Addressing – The Open Data Institute (ODI). One of ODUG’s key priorities over the last two years has been to highlight the fundamental importance of a single National Address Gazetteer to all sectors of our society. The benefits cases we have presented resulted in the Katalysis Report commissioned by BIS and published in January 2014. As yet there is no official government response to this report. Meanwhile the open data community has been doing some serious thinking about how a genuinely Open Addressing Product can be delivered for the UK. ODUG has recommended this project for funding to enable rapid, tangible progress. I am pleased that the Public Sector Transparency Board has approved funding to enable the ODI to take this project forward.
  • National Cancer Intelligence – Public Health England. This project will deliver multiple anonymised cancer datasets by multiple years of data to a public audience. In order to do this the project will: (i) explore the process of effective anonymisation of this sensitive dataset; (ii) develop a suite of profiles to effectively package the data; (iii) develop an existing data visualisation tool to enable presentation and download of this data; and (iv) develop learning tools to encourage use of this dataset by the public and information intermediaries.
  • Greater Manchester Infrastructure Platform – Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GM LEP). The GM LEP has identified the lack of an overall understanding of the infrastructure across Greater Manchester as a major barrier to growth. This project will bring together all public data on infrastructure within Greater Manchester and will seek to include relevant private sector data. It is hoped that the result will generate a blueprint which other local areas can draw on in the future.
  • Trafford Innovation Lab – Trafford Council. This Innovation Lab will bring together multiple local stakeholders to speed up the identification and release of Open Data and will give greater insight into Trafford’s local area than is possible in isolation. The lab will operate an open workspace, where members of the developer community, SMEs and the voluntary sector can come together to identify beneficial datasets and test innovative ideas for using Open Data.
  • Public Access, Births, Marriages and Deaths – Free UK Genealogy. This will provide a publicly accessible database of the index of Births Marriages and Deaths between 1983 and 2006 currently held by the General Records Office (GRO) linked with an existing database of the index covering 1837 to 1983. The digitised index will support individual family history researchers and large scale academic social history research. The resultant database will be made available under an open license compatible with the open government license.

To update on what has been happening with projects funded in the first RoDf funding round – they are reporting into the Cabinet Office Transparency Team and are making good progress. The team is working to set up regular published progress updates, which I hope will be available soon. All newly funded projects will also report openly on their delivery status.

Thanking everyone who has contributed to this round of funding, including bidders and assessors and the Cabinet Office team, I’d like to emphasise that many of the bids which did not achieve funding in this round have been asked to provide additional information and to re-apply for the next round of funding, which will close on the 16th July. New bids are also very welcome – so please put your ideas forward and help us to continue to spend this money wisely. You can find the guidance on how to apply for funding at


Heather Savory
Chair Open Data User Group
June 2014

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