Power of Information Taskforce Report

Yes, from UK but IMO has a great deal of relevance for ANY government entity wishing to go to the next level regarding involvement


From the Executive Summary:

The Taskforce’s recommendations affect the things people do with the broadband networks that are the major focus of Digital Britian. This report is about improving Digital Britons’ online experience by providing expert help from the public sector online, where people seek it, and by freeing up the UK’s public sector information for innovative new services. This reports seeks to move into the mainstream activities that are currently minority best practice.

Millions of people in Britain regularly seek help online in public about their daily lives. The help people seek is often about the delivery of public services or on a wide range of issues such as tax, benefits, healthcare, noise pollution, running a business, local democracy or even animal husbandry where the public sector is trying to help. The public sector can and should help people online in the places they go to seek help.

The public sector can play a valuable role in adding expert advice to support discussions online as long as it respects the context of the discussion. This is a culture shift for people who work in public services and for civil servants in particular. The Taskforce makes recommendations to help this culture shift and make more transparent the public sector’s attempts to engage online, which we think public servants should do as a matter of course.

The Taskforce ran a competition for innovative ideas to co-create public services. ‘Show Us a Better Way’ was a success, receiving praise worldwide, and showed the potential for innovation that engages the general public. In the extended UK public sector, the BBC has a world leading model for innovation in its ‘backstage’ service which allows people to innovate in remarkable ways with the BBC’s data and services. The Taskforce recommends that UK central government should create such a capability. A ‘backstage’ for central government would help to unlock the huge potential of the government’s information. If such a model were to work closely with experienced organisations like the BBC there is an opportunity to create a world class online virtual innovation centre.

Steinberg and Mayo in the original power of information work referred to the need for a more liberal approach to the re-use of geospatial data in the UK, especially that provided by the Ordnance Survey. The Show Us a Better Way competition demonstrated the popularity of making sense of complex information by putting it on a map. The Taskforce makes recommendations for Ordnance Survey to free up their licensing regime in general and make information available for free on simple terms for innovators and the third sector.

Data and information are the lifeblood of the knowledge economy. Digital Britain would receive an information stimulus if the Taskforce’s recommendations on liberalising non personal government information are followed through. There is the potential to release huge quantities of information for re-use by innovators in SMEs, the third sector and even big business. Our recommendations would help government follow through on the Prime Minister’s thoughtful 2007 comment that ‘Public information does not belong to Government, it belongs to the public on whose behalf government is conducted’

Now is the ideal time for the public sector to acquire new skills and practices required to follow through the innovative approaches the Taskforce recommends. Early signs from the Obama administration in the USA suggest that digital innovators in the Administration are thinking along about re-use of data along the lines above. When mainstreaming any innovation, systemic culture and behaviour change is required. The Taskforce makes a range of recommendations to enable and embed those changes.

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