Open Data consultation – first impressions

Last Thursday Government published Making Open Data Real – A Consultation, alongside a Public Data Corporation consultation.

My overall impression after one read:

  • it is extremely light on Local – while I understand that the Localism agenda means that central government is wary of dictating how local areas should respond to this, strong facilitative leadership is needed to make this of any use at a local level. Where is CLG in this paper? Where is the Local Data Panel?
  • there will be a need for the voluntary and public sectors to focus on the ‘Social Growth’ element of this consultation, otherwise we’re opening public data for commercial growth at the expense of social growth. The next iteration of this policy needs more from Government on their role in stimulating social benefit from Open Data
  • there are opportunities here for VCS, with high quality data being used (and seen to be used) as the basis for more innovative and open commissioning and funding decisions – this should be driven by demand from the providers as well as service users. Accountability working in several directions.
  • a Right to Data is worth exploring, but equal thought needs to be given to access and useability of data – there is a very real risk of creating a Data Divide
  • a Right to Data applying to all public service providing organisations will need careful consideration of the unintended consequences and perverse incentives this might create. This means especially thinking about how the costs of this Right will be resourced and the impact on commissioning of public services from VCS providers

I will be thinking more about these points in the next few weeks and will draw on experience with DataBridge to respond to the consultation in the Autumn. 

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