Shaping the Future of Open Data?

If open public data is your thing, or if open public data is something you you think might turn out out to be important in some way, here are a couple of ways to have your say, and maybe even shape the future of open public data in the UK at least…

A Vision for the The Public Data Corporation
Given the lack of information about what the UK’s mooted Public Data Corporation might turn out to be, the Open Rights Group have taken the fake consultation approach and published a wiki to solicit A Vision for the The Public Data Corporation (PDC). Suggested headings include:
– What is the main purpose and priority?
– Which existing trading funds should be covered by the PDC?
– Who would run it?
– How would it function?
– What business models can be proposed?
so if you think you can contribute to the vision in any of those areas, or add any you think are missing, the wiki’s waiting for you..;-)

(For some of the issues, see @hadleybeeman’s Uses for open data and chunks of @timdavies’ Open Data, Democracy and Public Sector Reform.)

The Cabinet Office seem to have been quite open to influence previously from “community” contributions to policy development (they were supportive of what Joss and I tried to achieve with WriteToReply for example), so with work ongoing for the next month or two within the Cabinet Office if Item 2.6(ii) of the Cabinet Office’s january update to its structural reform plan [pdf]Work with the Shareholder Executive to drive the release of core reference data for free re-use from the Public Data Corporation (end Apr 2011) – is anything to go by, now might be time to try to exert some sort of influence…

Consultation on Code of Practice for Local Authority Data Transparency
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) have just published a Consultation on Code of Practice for Local Authority Data Transparency

List of Local Government Data Burdens
DCLG have also published a request for comments on local government reporting to central government: Data burdensWe have now published a draft list of the data that we think central government departments will need to request in the future. … At present, the list goes into detail on the Department’s requirements and we will be updating the list with details from other Departments. As further details become available we want to include information about requests likely to be made by other public bodies outside central government. We’re keen to involve you in the process of developing the list; we hope you can help us to fill in the gaps. … We welcome all comments, whether they are on specific requests, on general topics or on the list as a whole. We have tried to structure the list so it is easy to pick out the area that is relevant to you. We also give a brief explanation of why central government is asking for specific pieces of information.

HEFCE Review of JISC
Whilst neither an official nor a fake consultation document, HEFCE recently turned their spotlight on JISC and produced a review of JISC. If you want to comment on the review, a copy can be found in commentable form on JISCPress: HEFCE Review of JISC.

(Readers interested in that review may also be interested in the uncommentable, PDF-based Online Learning Task Force (OLTF) report to HEFCE: Collaborate to compete – Seizing the opportunity of online learning for UK higher education .

PS a couple of other things that may be of interest from the Cabinet Office’s january update to its structural reform plan [pdf]:

– pursuant to the action “IT skunk works to assess and develop faster and cheaper ways of using ICT in government”, “IT Skunk Works team was put in place in early January.”

Work is also ongoing relating to:

– 2.3 (iii) Amend Freedom of Information guidance to extend “right to data” to public services (end Mar 2011)
– 2.3 (iv) Introduce legislative amendments to Freedom of Information Act to strengthen “right to data” (end Dec 2011)

– a couple of deadlines relating to the development of open standards and ICT procurement were missed:

— “Establish draft government open standards (including those relating to security) and crowd-source for feedback”; the missed deadline comment states: “Cabinet Office plan to ‘crowd-source’ (published on the internet to allow public inspection and specialist feedback) draft government open standards in February” so it looks as though there may be a chance to contribute here directly?

— “Announce new open standards and procurement rules for ICT, including right for skunk works to be involved prior to launch of procurement”; the missed deadline comment states: “Strong progress has been made on this commitment. A Procurement Policy Note on the procurement rules for ICT has been issued; and by establishing the Major Projects Authority we now have a mechanism whereby skunk works can become involved before the launch of procurement. However, we still need to confirm the new open standards for IT.”

— one for the legislation junkies: plans to “Present proposals to the House of Commons to introduce a new ‘public reading stage’ for Bills to give the public an opportunity to comment on proposed legislation online for use in a dedicated ‘public reading day’ within a Bill’s committee stage” were not complete, although “Progress continues to be made towards an announcement being made to Parliament in due course”

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

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