The UK government has made huge progress in the last few years with our open data agenda, led by the Cabinet Office. We’re proud of, and grateful to, the number of interested parties who advise us, challenge us and hold us to account and we have numerous mechanisms for people to do this. The Open Data User Group (ODUG), for example, does a great job of drawing on the experience and expertise of the user community. The Open Data Institute (ODI) provides invaluable support to start-ups and other enterprises building open data businesses. And the Public Sector Transparency Board provides a strategic vision to unite all departments and public sector bodies around open data and transparency. However there is still a gap in our engagement with the private sector which we are seeking to address. We are keen to know more about how businesses view our open data agenda and engage this wider group in how our work develops.
Our priority is to understand the needs of businesses; how open data from government is being used and to create a mechanism whereby data can be prioritised for release, over and above what is already being done. In turn we want businesses to support our agenda and help us understand more about the impact of open data on creating an environment for economic opportunity.
We are grateful to many people for the advice they have provided so far and hope that they and others will continue to help us really understand the kind of substance and discussion that businesses are interested in. Harvey Lewis, from Deloitte, has recently been appointed to the Public Sector Transparency Board and in this role will be supporting the Cabinet Office with this work, which initially means he will be feeding back ideas and recommendations for creating a means of sustainable engagement with businesses. The ODI and ODUG will also be important in providing advice to determine how best to do this.
The most immediate route for people with an interest to get involved is through the workshops we are running for the development of the second iteration of the National Information Infrastructure (more details here) but we will be having other conversations and hope to come up with a plan for broader engagement over the next month. Harvey, ODUG and the ODI will be reaching out to people to gather ideas and we in the Cabinet Office will also be having conversations about this so please feel free to get in touch.
As a result of this, businesses will see a clearly defined way of engaging with the government’s open data agenda, which responds to specific needs and helps both sides further understand the opportunities and potential provided by open data. You can contact us by email to feed in your ideas and watch this space for updates on this work.