What can we learn from the Open Data Consultation

So the government consultation on open data has arrived (h/t @hadleybeeman for signposting!) and before I get into the content, think it’s worth praising the Cabinet Office for an easy to “flick through” consultation.

What do we mean?

Firstly, the glossary of terms is very important to understand what we mean by open data for the professionals. My previous post tried to unpack the terms in the White Paper that first announced a consultation was coming. For people who don’t interact with data but could benefit from doing so, it is important to go back to first principles. It’s good that the Government have set out what they mean by transparency: “Above all, it is about providing the data people need to make choices and to help improve public services”.

Whose data?

So we should welcome the recognition that what we mean by open data should extend to user feedback on services, as this opens up opportunities (do check out this idea by @tobyblume) to work with citizens to generate their own performance data. It seems that as well as “Digital by Default”, we want to be “Open by Default” – just as with shifting to online services what is the expectation of what capabilities citizens will need to have to make use of the opportunities of open data?

The Consultation sets out six key opportunities from open data:

  • Accountability
  • Choice
  • Productivity
  • Quality and Outcomes
  • Social Growth
  • Economic Growth

What are the most important priorities to make these opportunities happen?

Driving improvement to policy and innovation

On how open data can help policy development which we covered here, the consultation shows the importance of staff using open data themselves for improving services

On how open data can drive innovation, the challenge-based approach data is evidenced as popular, but what other ways can public services stimulate innovation through open data? What other organisations do you think public services ought to work with to do this?

We’d love to know too, as we’re developing a competition which will have a strand on exactly that!

Back to the Government Consultation, you can see the main questions here. You’ve got until 27th October to respond, get cracking!

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