To Increase the Number of Publicly Accessible Government Datasets in Open Formats (TT0007)
Action Plan: Not Attached
Action Plan Cycle: 2014
Lead Institution: Ministry of Science and Technology
Support Institution(s): Ministry of Public Administration, iGovTT, eBitt, IT enterprises, e-business round table
Policy AreasOpen Data
To conduct an Open Data Readiness Assessment with a view to releasing at least six data sets in a machine readable format.
IRM End of Term Status Summary
2.2 Increase the Number of Data Sets in Open Formats
Commitment Text: To conduct an Open Data Readiness Assessment with a view to releasing at least six data sets in a machine readable format.
Responsible Institution: Ministry of Science and Technology
Supporting Institutions: Ministry of Public Administration and Communications (MPAC), National Information and Communication Technology Company (iGovTT), E-Business Information Technology and Telecommunications (e-Bitt), IT enterprises, e-business round table
Start Date: September 2014 End Date: March 2016
This commitment focuses on the provision of government data in open formats via an open data online portal. While government data is available, they are not consistently available in open formats. This commitment seeks to lay the groundwork for this process in the following sectors: transportation, works and infrastructure, social services, immigration services, and birth and deaths.
Public officials reported that this commitment exceeded expectations. The Ministry of Science and Technology partnered with the World Bank to conduct the Open Data Readiness Assessment (ODRA). They reported that the draft ODRA was prepared in May 2015, and 27 data sets were published on the Trinidad and Tobago Open Data Portal (data.tt).[Note 26: Trinidad and Tobago Open Data Portal, http://data.tt/. ] The government hosted several hackathons (in collaboration with development partners) between January and June 2015.[Note 27: Ministry of Finance and the Economy, Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Speech by the Honourable Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and the Economy at the Presentation of the Open Data Readiness Assessment Report Press Conference (Port of Spain, 1 May 2015), http://bit.ly/1TEwKN1. ] More than 150 experts and representatives from various government ministries, the private sector, civil society, and academia were involved.[Note 28: Verne Burnett, “ICT Community Centres Soon,” Newsday, 8 May 2015, http://bit.ly/1WhWBIj. ] Civil society stakeholders were unaware of the relationship between the ODRA and OGP. In fact, civil society stakeholders who attended the ODRA validation workshop did not know about the OGP and Trinidad and Tobago action plan.
While the draft ODRA is not available online, copies were distributed at the validation workshop, which the IRM researcher attended. Daily newspapers mentioned the ODRA.[Note 29: “T&T is Open Data Ready,” Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, 12 May 2015, http://bit.ly/1h2joiz. ] For further information, please see the midterm IRM evaluation report.[Note 30: Open Government Partnership, Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): Trinidad and Tobago progress report 2014–2015, http://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/TrinidadTobago_14-15_Final_0.pdf. ]
End of term: Substantial
Based on reports from public officials, the government has not progressed on this commitment beyond what was reported in the midterm IRM report. According to an interviewed public official, the government is concerned about the existing licensing of the data to be posted at data.gov.tt.[Note 31: Government Open Data Portal, http://data.gov.tt/ ] This concern has resulted in a more cautionary and conservative government approach.
Also, the site data.gov.tt is in beta stage and has not been fully launched. Data.tt continues to post data on its site and is owned by a local technology expert who has an interest in open data. He has also published maps.tt[Note 32: Spatial data portal, http://maps.tt. ] and lab.tt,[Note 33: “TTLAB: Innovative Technology Soluctions through Interdisciplinary Research,” http://lab.tt/. ] both of which are open portals that can be utilised by government.
The Trinidad and Tobago Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (TTEITI) secretariat also reported that TTEITI was also working on an open data platform featuring its data, to be launched in the near future.
Did it open government?
Access to information: Marginal
Various government agencies—such as the National Agricultural Marketing Development Corporation (NAMDEVCO)—already disclose data in open formats.[Note 34: For more inofrmation on NAMDEVCO, see: http://www.namistt.com/PricesVolumes.php. ] However, there is no dedicated directive from the government to systematically publish data in open formats. According to one public official interviewed, this commitment represents a positive cognitive shift in how government sees information and how it facilitates the access of such information. The official stated that this shift is notable considering the government comes from a default position of secrecy regarding government information. However, in practice, this cognitive shift has not fully translated to an institutional shift, and this commitment represents a marginal change in opening government. According to the local open data expert who owns the .tt domain, the ODRA, conducted by the World Bank, identified many data sets that can be readily released and posted on the government portal. The demand for data in Trinidad and Tobago is high. According to the ODRA, journalists demanded data “on road traffic accident fatalities and on chikungunya incidence under-reporting,” while civil society demanded “more accessible and reusable data on government budgets and spending, ownership of companies, environment matters, gender, crops, biodiversity and effects of climate change.”[Note 35: World Bank, Open Data Readiness Assessment (draft), 2015, 51.] Also, there were no technical barriers to the government posting more data sets. While there was duplication of data sets posted on data.gov.tt (government portal) and data.tt, the government did seek to, through the beta version of the portal, improve mechanisms for the disclosure of information and the quality of information via open formats.
The government has yet to conduct consultation to develop the next national action plan. This commitment should be retained, but greater effort should be made to ensure that the portal is launched and systematically updated. This commitment could include the final milestone concerning the development of six phone apps for the following sectors: transportation, works and infrastructure, social services, immigration services, and births and deaths.
To complete the commitment, the government should use the ODRA as a guide to using data sets to develop apps.
Trinidad and Tobago's Commitments
To Certify Public Agencies’ Service Quality
TT0001, 2014, Capacity Building
To Develop Human Resources Management Capacity in the Public Service
TT0002, 2014, Capacity Building
To Conduct a Pilot Project for the Development and Introduction of a “Easier Life for Citizens” Index
TT0003, 2014, Public Service Delivery
To Develop Interactive Media on Government Business Processes and Programs to Better Access Government Services
TT0004, 2014, Public Service Delivery
To Establish a Contact Centre to Address the Needs of National Scholars (Local and International) of Trinidad and Tobago
TT0005, 2014, Education
To Adopt a Policy on Data Standards and Classification Frameworks
TT0006, 2014, Open Data
To Increase the Number of Publicly Accessible Government Datasets in Open Formats
TT0007, 2014, Open Data
To Conduct a Diagnostic Review of Public Information Needs
TT0008, 2014, Open Data
To Create an Easily Accessible Open Government Portal , with a Platform/Repository for Open Data, as Well as an Interface to Allow for Feedback from the Public
TT0009, 2014, Open Data
To Create a Civil Society Board
TT0010, 2014, Public Participation
To Audit the Accounts of the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs to International Standards
TT0011, 2014, Audits and Controls
To Make Publicly Available the Cadastre of Licenses and Contracts for the Exploration and Production of Oil and Gas in Trinidad and Tobago
TT0012, 2014, E-Government
To Include the Mineral Sector (Starting with National Quarries Company Ltd) in the TTEITI Reporting Mechanism
TT0013, 2014, E-Government