Data

Councils incentivised to publish standardised data in three key areas

By: Vicky Sargent - Information Daily Open Data Correspondent
Published: Monday, July 7, 2014 - 06:26 GMT Jump to Comments

Local authorities in England are being incentivised to publish three key datasets in a standard format to enable easy re-use by app developers, activists and others.

The Local Government Open Data Incentive Scheme, launched this month, allows councils to claim grants of up to £7000 to prepare and release data on planning applications, licensing of alcohol and light entertainment premises, and public toilets.

The appropriately formatted data can then be readily re-used by developers and entrepreneurs to create new services – for example, locations of facilities can be easily added to digital maps, and new insights can be drawn from combining, say, licensing data with other data like incidents of anti-social behaviour.

The purpose of the Scheme is to show how data from the disparate council systems that manage these activities can be put into a consistent format to create national open data resources covering specific activities run by councils. Local authorities will also be able to claim offering training vouchers where they need to build additional data skills to help deliver datasets under the Scheme.

Money for the scheme, which is being managed by the Local Government Association, is being made available from the Cabinet Office Release of Data Fund, set up in 2012 to support removal of barriers to releasing public data not currently available in an open reusable format.

The Fund is informed by the Open Data User Group (ODUG), which represents the wider open data community’s demands for data from public sector organisations and has set up a data request mechanism, hosted on data.gov.uk, allowing users to request datasets for release as open data. This information is used to make the case for new open data releases, based on the potential economic and social benefits.

The initiative is part of a wider Government programme to support the use of data standards to build consistent, comparable, reusable data sets across the public sector, encouraging wider exploitation, transparency, making data and services comparable, and supporting a more effective service delivery.

Data categories chosen for this initiative were based on requests for data from citizens, businesses and public sector and voluntary organisations made via the Data.gov.uk website which has received nearly 800 requests for datasets.

According to Jacqui Taylor of ODUG, the progress of the LA Incentive Scheme will be transparently reported, showing how it has helped councils to publish the key datasets and how the community has been able to make use of the data.

For further information about the LA Incentive Scheme see http://opendata.esd.org.uk/. The Open Data Request Roadmap can be seen here: http://data.gov.uk/odug-roadmap

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