Skip Navigation
New Zealand

Open Data Government Organizations (NZ0022)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: New Zealand Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Government Chief Digital Officer, Department of Internal Affairs

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Access to Information, E-Government, Open Data

IRM Review

IRM Report: New Zealand Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Commitment 11: Authoritative dataset of government
organisations as open data for greater transparency
Objective:
To release and maintain an authoritative dataset of government
organisations as open, machine-readable data to enhance the transparency
of government structures to the public.
There will be cross-agency agreement to maintain this dataset, providing
assurance that the data being used is the authoritative source. This dataset
becomes a foundation for both digital services and information about
government.
Ambition:
New Zealanders and others will have access to authoritative, open
data about government agencies and their roles, learn more about how
government is structured, what agencies do, and be able to reuse the open
data in new and innovative ways.
Status quo:
At present, data about government organisations is duplicated in standalone lists and databases across multiple organisations. This results in
different information being provided about the same agency in multiple
locations which can erode public trust. This data is also often not in an
easily reusable format.
New technologies and open standards have the potential to scale the
impact of Open Government initiatives. Machine-readable open data is a
practical example of this and plays an important part in driving transparency
and digital service transformation in government. An open dataset of
government organisation details could be used as a base for the Directory
of Official Information, Archives Public Records Act database, the Audit
Offices’ database, local council information, and many more. Lead Agency: Government Chief Digital Officer, Department of Internal Affairs
Timeline: October 2018 – June 2020
Commitment 11: Release and maintain an authoritative dataset of
government organisations as open data for greater transparency
OGP Values Transparency,
Accountability and
Technology and Innovation
Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfil
the commitment
Start date End date
Identify owners, contributors and maintainers of the
data held in the proposed dataset.
October
2018
December
2018
Investigate and agree on the appropriate open
standards for the dataset.
October
2018
December
2019
Work with identified dataset contributors to agree
process for ongoing maintenance of the dataset.
December
2018
June 2019
Release the open data set on data.govt.nz and
make it available via the data.govt.nz open data
Application Programming Interface (API)9
, and
promote the opportunities of reuse that the
dataset provides with government agencies, nongovernmental organisations, business, and the public.
June 2019 June 2020

IRM Midterm Status Summary

11. Authoritative dataset of government organisations as open data for greater transparency [122]

Objective: “To release and maintain an authoritative dataset of government organisations as open, machine-readable data to enhance the transparency of government structures to the public”.

Milestones:

  1. “Identify owners, contributors and maintainers of the data held in the proposed dataset”;
  2. “Investigate and agree on the appropriate open standards for the dataset”;
  3. “Work with identified dataset contributors to agree process for ongoing maintenance of the dataset”;
  4. “Release the open data set on data.govt.nz and make it available via the data.govt.nz open data Application Programming Interface (API) and promote the opportunities of reuse that the dataset provides with government agencies, nongovernmental organisations, business, and the public”.

Start Date: October 2018

End Date: June 2020

Context and Objectives

The objective of this commitment is for government to compile, maintain, use and release publicly a new authoritative dataset of New Zealand’s central and local government organisations as open, machine-readable data.

Infrastructure to increase transparency and accountability was a theme in the submissions received during development of the action plan, with one submission to “extend organisational accountability information” in the government A-Z directory on govt.nz. [123] Current multiple lists about the structure of government and the history of current and former government agencies confuse the public and limit capability for private sector innovation. [124] A Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) blog states that no current list is complete and machine-readable, “duplicated effort across government is enormous”, a single list would detail all the services and functions of government and create opportunities for research and analysis. [125] Members of the public would welcome one up-to-date real-time list of current agencies, their sub-agencies and working brands and responsibilities given New Zealand’s very regular machinery of government changes. It would become the foundation authoritative resource on present and past government agencies.

This work meets OGP’s access to information and technology and innovation for openness and accountability values by providing open access to information describing current and former government agencies and their functions, using international standard(s) and releasing this authoritative list of government organisations as open machine-readable data, allowing innovative re-use such as visualisations and for service delivery. This work meets the international Open Data Charter’s requirements. [126]

DIA will identify and work with the agencies responsible for creating and describing the official names of government agencies and their functions, investigate and agree on open standards for the dataset, agree dataset maintenance processes and procedures with dataset contributors, release it on data.govt.nz and as an application programme interface (API), and promote its re-use opportunities with government and the public. The intention of the commitment is to build a final dataset from a smaller group of datasets from targeted agencies.

The commitments are specific enough to be verified objectively. The IRM researcher interviewed business stakeholders who describe this commitment as ‘fantastic’, but want a shorter timeline, Milestone 1’s data released when complete, shorter timelines for Milestones 2 and 3, and certainty the dataset will be released as both open data for citizens and as an API for business. [127] They referred to New Zealand’s Digital 9 (D9) commitments, [128] suggesting that the other D9 countries could shorten the timeline by advising New Zealand on the open standards for this dataset. They also suggested StatsNZ become a joint lead agency given its data stewardship leadership role. Others [129] sought certainty that the list would be granular, providing full details of organisational structures, that the architecture was extensible, that it lists the legislation that agencies administer, and that all other lists are discontinued. [130]

If fully implemented as designed this work could be transformative, particularly for digital government service delivery. As well as simplifying work for those people and businesses who rely on legal lists of government organisations. This machine-readable dataset would assist development work for IT companies who work with government to deliver services. They say they currently ‘have to find a set, where it is and then ask for it’. [131]

This dataset could merge or be the source for at least six government directories, [132] feed commercial products such as the New Zealand Government Sector Directory [133] and offer researchers, academics, students and the public the primary source on the history of and present status of government agencies. [134] Visualisations of New Zealand’s government structure will aid civil society and government itself to understand how government works.

According to an independent consultant on open government and access to information laws, the transformative potential of this commitment resides on the authoritative quality of the datasets and in its adoption by core government agencies for their tasks. [135]

Next steps

If this commitment is carried forward to the next action plan or if there are improvements to the implementation of this commitment, the IRM researcher recommends that:

  • there is commitment to maintain and further develop the governance structures for its sustainability and mandate;
  • DIA releases the ownership data collated for Milestone 1 as soon as the list is completed and shortens the timeframes for Milestones 2 and 3;
  • DIA consults with its D9 counterparts regarding applying their open standards experience for Milestone 2;
  • StatsNZ continues the close collaboration with DIA and/or joint leadership given its data stewardship leadership role and national statistical office experience releasing official statistics in open formats; and that
  • legislation that agencies administer is included in this list.
[124] IRM researcher interviews on 23 and 30 January 2019 with Co-Chairs of NZ Rise, which represents the Kiwi-owned and operated IT companies, https://nzrise.org.nz/about-us/
[128] D7 Charter, https://www.digital.govt.nz/dmsdocument/28-d7-charter, signed by NZ Government on 22 February 2018. See Principle 2: Open standards and Principle 5: Open government (transparency).
[129] IRM researcher discussion with NZGov Tech (business/civil society,government members), 18 February 2019.
[130] IRM interview with Jan Rivers, 22 January 2019.
[132] These are the Directory of Official Information, Blue pages (details of government agencies) in telephone directories, the government A-Z directory on govt.nz, Archives New Zealand’s list of all former agencies, the current lists maintained by the State Services Commission, the Office of the Auditor General and others.
[133] New Zealand Directory Ltd, https://www.nzgsd.co.nz/
[134] Archives New Zealand’s Archway, https://www.archway.archives.govt.nz/
[135] Input received by independent consultant Andrew Ecclestone during the review process of this report.

Commitments

  1. Engagement with Parliament

    NZ0012, 2018, Capacity Building

  2. Youth Parliament

    NZ0013, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. School Leavers' Toolkit

    NZ0014, 2018, Capacity Building

  4. Making New Zealand’S Secondary Legislation Readily Accessible

    NZ0015, 2018, E-Government

  5. Public Participation in Policy Development

    NZ0016, 2018, Capacity Building

  6. Service Design

    NZ0017, 2018, Capacity Building

  7. Official Information

    NZ0018, 2018, Access to Information

  8. Review of Government Use of Algorithms

    NZ0019, 2018, Automated Decision-Making

  9. Data Practice Transparency

    NZ0020, 2018, Capacity Building

  10. Monitoring Information Management Practice

    NZ0021, 2018, Legislation & Regulation

  11. Open Data Government Organizations

    NZ0022, 2018, Access to Information

  12. Open Procurement

    NZ0023, 2018, Access to Information

  13. Open Budget

    NZ0005, 2016, Access to Information

  14. Improving Official Information Practices

    NZ0006, 2016, Access to Information

  15. Improving Open Data Access and Principles

    NZ0007, 2016, Access to Information

  16. Tracking Progress and Outcomes of Open Government Data Release

    NZ0008, 2016, Access to Information

  17. Ongoing Engagement for OGP

    NZ0009, 2016, Capacity Building

  18. Starred commitment Improving Access to Legislation

    NZ0010, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Improving Policy Practices

    NZ0011, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. BPS Result 10 – New Zealanders Can Complete Their Transactions with the Government Easily in a Digital Environment

    NZ0001, 2014, E-Government

  21. ICT Strategy Action 13 – Open by Default: Active Re-use of Information Assets

    NZ0002, 2014, Access to Information

  22. National Integrity System Assessment

    NZ0003, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  23. The Kia TūTahi Relationship Accord

    NZ0004, 2014, Capacity Building

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!