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Report of the Digital Government Review


Open Data Roadmaps: listening to people’s needs

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In order to succeed in our aim of making data serve democracy, we must alter much of the existing thinking we have described in this section. Instead of seeing data as a government asset over which it wields unilateral control, we must begin to consider it a duty of government to release open data for citizen benefit. It should be part of our civic contract [49].

Government data was created for the people and it belongs to the people. People should be able to access and reuse this data to create new businesses and economic value, to do good in their community, or to hold their elected representatives to account. People should have confidence in the quality, reliability and sustainability of the data being released [50].

While necessary exceptions and restrictions will always exist, there should be a starting presumption that public sector data belongs to the people.

Recommendation 10

Priority: Medium

Government should provide a clear, easy to use method for requesting open data and should certify all open datasets to an equivalent level by the end of the next parliament.

The public sector should process open data requests with the starting assumption that the data that the public sector holds is the people’s data. We would suggest that government should certify all open datasets to at least Pilot Level of the Open Data Certifications, but this should be discussed with the open data community.

[49] As noted above there are pockets of success that do appear to operate in this fashion, for example Leeds Data Mill http://www.leedsdatamill.org/about/
[50] The Open Data Institute worked with the open data community to create Open Data Certificates, https://certificates.theodi.org, to support this approach. Unfortunately the data.gov.uk site continues to use an outdated model.

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