Questions Being Asked by the Current Open Public Data Consultations

With the October 27th closing data looming for the two current open data consultations, I need to start putting my response together. Here’s a quick recap of the questions being asked:

The PDC consultation questions were as follows:

Chapter 4 – Charging for PDC information
1. How do you think Government should best balance its objectives around increasing access to data and providing more freely available data for re-use year on year within the constraints of affordability? Please provide evidence to support your answer where possible.
2. Are there particular datasets or information that you believe would create particular economic or social benefits if they were available free for use and reuse? Who would these benefit and how? Please provide evidence to support your answer where possible.
3. What do you think the impacts of the three options would be for you and/or other groups outlined above? Please provide evidence to support your answer where possible.
4. A further variation of any of the options could be to encourage PDC and its constituent parts to make better use of the flexibility to develop commercial data products and services outside of their public task. What do you think the impacts of this might be?
5. Are there any alternative options that might balance Government‟s objectives which are not covered here? Please provide details and evidence to support your response where possible.
Chapter 5 – Licensing
6. To what extent do you agree that there should be greater consistency, clarity and simplicity in the licensing regime adopted by a PDC?
7. To what extent do you think each of the options set out would address those issues (or any others) Please provide evidence to support your comments where possible.
8. What do you think the advantages and disadvantages of each of the options would be? Please provide evidence to support your comments
9. Will the benefits of changing the models from those in use across Government outweigh the impacts of taking out new or replacement licences?
Chapter 6 – Regulatory oversight
10. To what extent is the current regulatory environment appropriate to deliver the vision for a PDC?
11. Are there any additional oversight activities needed to deliver the vision for a PDC and if so what are they?
12. What would be an appropriate timescale for reviewing a PDC or its constituent parts public task(s)

And from the Making Open Data Real consultation:

Chapter 8
How would we establish a stronger presumption in favour of publication than that which currently exists?
Is providing an independent body, such as the Information Commissioner, with enhanced powers and scope the most effective option for safeguarding a right to access and a right to data?
Are existing safeguards to protect personal data and privacy measures adequate to regulate the Open Data agenda?
What might the resource implications of an enhanced right to data be for those bodies within its scope? How do we ensure that any additional burden is proportionate to this aim?
How will we ensure that Open Data standards are embedded in new ICT contracts?

What is the best way to achieve compliance on high and common standards to allow usability and interoperability?
Is there a role for government to establish consistent standards for collecting user experience across public services?
Should we consider a scheme for accreditation of information intermediaries, and if so how might that best work?

How would we ensure that public service providers in their day to day decisionmaking honour a commitment to Open Data, while respecting privacy and security considerations.
What could personal responsibility at Board-level do to ensure the right to data is being met include? Should the same person be responsible for ensuring that personal data is properly protected and that privacy issues are met?
Would we need to have a sanctions framework to enforce a right to data?
What other sectors would benefit from having a dedicated Sector Transparency Board?

How should public services make use of data inventories? What is the optimal way to develop and operate this?
How should data be prioritised for inclusion in an inventory? How is value to be established?
In what areas would you expect government to collect and publish data routinely?
What data is collected “unnecessarily”? How should these datasets be identified? Should collection be stopped?
Should the data that government releases always be of high quality? How do we define quality? To what extent should public service providers “polish” the data they publish, if at all?

How should government approach the release of existing data for policy and research purposes: should this be held in a central portal or held on departmental portals?
What factors should inform prioritisation of datasets for publication, at national, local or sector level?
Which is more important: for government to prioritise publishing a broader set of data, or existing data at a more detailed level?

Is there a role for government to stimulate innovation in the use of Open Data? If so, what is the best way to achieve this?


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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