Arrived slightly late to this session, and catching up with the conversation in full flow!
Discussions threads/conversations are:
– Can the data be much more about real time information flows? And it’s open. A more responsive web that can help the citizen.
– realtime conversations with real time information flows? Having conversations in an interactive way using the data
– Beginning to see it now with gadgets in the home that can alter your energy consumption and change your behaviour based on interactive realtime data.
– If we can conceive of a future, then we can make it. But are we responsible for it?
– The data will be available, but will it be open and freely available? Will we get forced down a paid subscription model?
– Who is benefiting from this? Is it the well resourced that will benefit from open data? Dis-intermediating access to data/civil society. Dystopian vision, explosion of data but we don’t have the tools to use it. Are we slipping backwards?
– We need those big data visions, but also smaller human scale data vision
– Will we end up in a situation that only those with the power and resources will be the only ones who can use the data and make decisions on the data, leaving behind the mass majority of people?
– Will we see commitment at the next election to open data in political party manifestos?
Genie out of the bottle
– The genie is out of the bottle, we can’t go back to the old way – eg GP prescription data was released and analysed, resulting in un branded statins being used, which is what the DoH could have analysed with the data but didn’t. It took the open data community to do this (unconfirmed?).
– Government delivery, cutting costs down, new ways of getting things done. Revenue raising, rethinking processes, the data can inform all of that. Take the proof points and start to scratch the surface and make the changes
– Government is using open data itself to make decisions. Digital Transaction data. What are the stories that prove that open data works? “Toilet map“. We need far better examples.
– Freemium models of open data? Do we resist that at every turn? What is Government’s responsibility in providing open data models?At what point does it become chargeable as an income stream?
– Will have open data have moved on that far in 5 years time? Are local authorities going to be enthusiastic in publishing their data? NHS? No indication of this. A lot of our effort needs to be focused on improving the culture of open data across these organisations. Only seems central gov is willing to publish.
– Government Procurement Cards (GPC) – when they started to publish the open data on this, there was a backlash as it was picked up in the national press, and GPC cards were withdrawn from civil servants.
– Staffordshire Hospital example – making the data open doesn’t necessarily change things as people are silenced in different ways. Need a culture change here again. Societal change won’t happen as much as we hoped that they will.
– Local library example – looking to close 18 libraries, the comms team also published open data on the library usage that proved the libraries were hardly ever used. Initial uproar at the library closures but once the data proved the usage, the uproar died down. Thus open data helped local authorities make an informed decision.
Transparency and accesibility
– Open data itself isn’t that transparent apart from a “techy crowd”. More direct link needed for a wider non-technical audience to be able to use the data. In 5 years time, can we make this accessible to the wider population? We need to help people understand how open data can help them and how they can interpret it. Skills for citizens.
– Skills & Tools, we have data but inaccessible to people barring from a small technical group. Tools let you do a small number of things, however good skills are even more expensive to have.
– Politics of decision making at the local level. We don’t live in a world where decisions are based on the data.
– Open data is just one ingredient. You need the skills, time, tools, resources to make sense of the data. This is expensive.
– Economic & Political good for open data?
Ownership of our data
– Will we actual own our data in 5 years time? How do we get hold of our data from private sector companies? How can we use our private sector data with public sector data to make better decisions?
– Might be worse off in 5 years time as we are commissioning our services out? Potentially dangerous environment for open data if moved to private sector. Need to get smarter in designing the contracts and governance systems when outsourcing. Perhaps legislation is the only way to do this, but that does bring in the political angle.
– We can now write into government contracts about enforcing open data standards and access. Couldn’t even do that 18 months ago! But we also need to have the right people in the room when we are entering into negotiations with large incumbent providers, so we can challenge and make objective decisions around open data. We also need to have more informed customers in governments that can challenge this.
– You need the skills and knowledge to manage the contracts effectively. These cannot be outsourced.
So. What now?
We have ODI, Strategy Boards, etc already lots of regulation in place. Do we need more?
– Do the departmental strategies need to explain more about open data in 5, 10, 15yrs time?
– Will a change in government change how we prioritise open data?
– How can we safely show how we are making a difference with open data?
And then we broke off for lunch. Hunger pangs got the better of the open data discussion.