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United Kingdom

Identifying and Publishing Core Data Assets (UK0071)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: United Kingdom – Third National Action Plan 2016-18

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Cabinet Office (Government Digital Service)

Support Institution(s): All government departments; mySociety, The Open Data Institute

Policy Areas

Legislation & Regulation, Open Data, Records Management

IRM Review

IRM Report: United Kingdom End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, United Kingdom Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Civic Participation , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Objective: To refine our national information infrastructure in order to support publishing and ensure data is good enough for people and organisations in all sectors of the economy and society to use and build on; this includes exploring options for the creation of an open address register.

Status quo: Our data.gov.uk portal has been instrumental in enabling the UK government to open up over 27,000 datasets since its launch in 2010. However, despite considerable recent progress, government data can still be difficult to find and use. Too much government data is still held in organisational silos, which are costly and inefficient to maintain. The data we currently make available openly does not always meet users’ needs in terms of format, quality and timeliness. At the same time, data publishing processes across government do not fit a standard model. They are not always automated or embedded in ‘business as usual’, which can mean there is sometimes duplication and overlap in the data government holds. We want to unlock the power of data to transform public services, drive greater transparency and innovation, and empower civil society. To do this we need to continue to develop our national information infrastructure so that it is as helpful as it can be for all data users.

Ambition: To refine our national information infrastructure in order to support publishing and ensure data is good enough for people and organisations in all sectors of the economy and society to use and build on; this includes exploring options for the creation of an open address register. We need to continue to establish the infrastructure to make finding and accessing good quality data as frictionless as possible. To improve the quality of government data, we need to improve data collection. Within the public sector we need to make more data more easily queried through APIs, while still supporting bulk downloads. This will benefit digital services and improve operational and policy decision-making. Increasingly this will mean those holding data acting as custodians for that data. It will increasingly mean creating open registers, with custodians who understand the importance of their role and the rules under which they should operate. We are committed to reviewing our existing open data infrastructure to ensure it is fit for the purpose of enabling citizens, businesses and the public sector to locate and access high-quality open data assets from across government. So we will engage with data users and refresh our existing open data architecture to ensure it meets user needs going forward. We also need to ensure that core reference data is increasingly open and available without friction. This will include exploring options to create an open and freely available national address register, and ensuring the continued and improved availability of high-quality open data following any potential changes in the ownership of public data-holding bodies. An effective infrastructure requires metadata, standardised approaches for accessing data, appropriate institutional arrangements, skills, formalised obligations and effective co-ordination.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

9. Identifying and publishing core data assets

Commitment Text:We will create a high-quality national information infrastructure, making government data more secure and easier to find, store and access.

Objective:To refine our national information infrastructure in order to support publishing and ensure data is good enough for people and organisations in all sectors of the economy and society to use and build on; this includes exploring options for the creation of an open address register.

Status quo:Our data.gov.uk portal has been instrumental in enabling the UK government to open up over 27,000 datasets since its launch in 2010. However, despite considerable recent progress, government data can still be difficult to find and use.

Too much government data is still held in organisational silos, which are costly and inefficient to maintain. The data we currently make available openly does not always meet users' needs in terms of format, quality and timeliness. At the same time, data publishing processes across government do not fit a standard model. They are not always automated or embedded in ‘business as usual', which can mean there is sometimes duplication and overlap in the data government holds.

We want to unlock the power of data to transform public services, drive greater transparency and innovation, and empower civil society. To do this we need to continue to develop our national information infrastructure so that it is as helpful as it can be for all data users.

Ambition:To refine our national information infrastructure in order to support publishing and ensure data is good enough for people and organisations in all sectors of the economy and society to use and build on; this includes exploring options for the creation of an open address register.

We need to continue to establish the infrastructure to make finding and accessing good quality data as frictionless as possible. To improve the quality of government data, we need to improve data collection. Within the public sector we need to make more data more easily queried through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) while still supporting bulk downloads. This will benefit digital services and improve operational and policy decision-making. Increasingly this will mean those holding data acting as custodians for that data. It will increasingly mean creating open registers, with custodians who understand the importance of their role and the rules under which they should operate.

We are committed to reviewing our existing open data infrastructure to ensure it is fit for the purpose of enabling citizens, businesses and the public sector to locate and access high-quality open data assets from across government. So we will engage with data users and refresh our existing open data architecture to ensure it meets user needs going forward.

We also need to ensure that core reference data is increasingly open and available without friction. This will include exploring options to create an open and freely available national address register, and ensuring the continued and improved availability of high-quality open data following any potential changes in the ownership of public data-holding bodies. An effective infrastructure requires metadata, standardised approaches for accessing data, appropriate institutional arrangements, skills, formalised obligations and effective co-ordination.

Milestones:

1. Create a register of the fields used within canonical registers to ensure consistency of nomenclature

2. Create a linked ecosystem of trusted, resilient and accessible canonical data stores (known as registers), starting with data categories for which the user need is greatest (countries, local authorities, schools and companies) and implementing these during the period of this action plan

3. Through a technical working group, adopt existing and define and agree new common and, where possible, open data standards and approaches based on user needs

4. Explore options for the creation of an open address register underpinned by an open and authoritative identifier to enable anyone to cite or find a property or premises in the UK

5. Develop a better understanding of the data discovery needs of internal and external users of government data, to evolve data.gov.uk and inform the development of data discovery tools and services, with refreshed tools implemented during the period of this action plan

6. Report on the effects on the UK data infrastructure of any actions to change the ownership or contract out the operation of key public registers

Responsible institution: Cabinet Office (Government Digital Service)

Supporting institutions: All government departments, mySociety, The Open Data Institute

Start date: May 2016
End date: June 2018

Commitment Aim:

This commitment built on previous initiatives designed to improve the UK government's data infrastructure. It aimed to strengthen the usability and integrity of data and offer improved tools to search for it while publishing more data as registers. It also promised to create an open address register for UK addresses, which has been long sought after by campaigners and activists.[Note 82: Peter Wells, ‘Open addresses: will the address wars ever end?', https://hackernoon.com/open-addresses-will-the-address-wars-ever-end-f1241bd24283 ]

Status

Midterm: Limited

During the first year of implementation, officials made substantial progress toward a timely completion of the commitment. According to the government, generally progress has been good, though the backroom nature of some of it made it hard for CSOs to judge. The government pointed out that some departments were open to the new ideas and others less so.[Note 83: Interview with Lawrence Hopper and Lois Taylor, Cabinet Office, 26 August 2017.] There was varied digital awareness and understanding of the importance of good data.

There has been less progress on the creation of an open address register, data that is seen as vital for a whole range of local services. The previous government made this commitment as part of a budget announcement in 2016. The issue of open address presents a series of complex legal and technical problems and the government was to explore options rather than make definitive commitment.[Note 84: Peter Wells, ‘Open addresses: will the address wars ever end?', https://hackernoon.com/open-addresses-will-the-address-wars-ever-end-f1241bd24283 ] The emphasis shifted to geo-spatial data more generally because the new May government committed, in its 2017 manifesto, to a new land data body, bringing together land data dispersed across several bodies in the UK.[Note 85: UK Authority, ‘Conservatives Plan for New Land Data Body, http://www.ukauthority.com/news/7177/conservatives-plan-for-new-land-data-body ] Digital activists have long sought an open address register, and this change was likely to be a disappointment,[Note 86: 2016 Government Digital Service, ‘An Open Address Register' (23 March 2016), https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2016/03/23/an-open-address-register/, and ODI crowdsourced data list, Open Data Institute, ‘Free and Open Address List Launches Today', https://theodi.org/news/free-and-open-address-list-launches-today-open-addresses-uk-calls-for-individuals-and-organisations-to-get-involved; Interview with Lawrence Hopper and Lois Taylor, Cabinet Office, 26 August 2017.] especially because some bodies have already experimented with a crowdsourced version.[Note 87: Peter Wells, ‘Open addresses: will the address wars ever end?', https://hackernoon.com/open-addresses-will-the-address-wars-ever-end-f1241bd24283, and ‘Budget 2016: The UK must take every opportunity to strengthen data infrastructure', https://theodi.org/news/budget-2016-the-uk-must-take-every-opportunity-to-strengthen-data-infrastructure ] Data.gov.uk was on track in terms of improving users' ability to search the government data portal. An experimental beta site named FIND was developed in August 2017, which was due to be made public soon after testing.[Note 88: Interview with Lawrence Hopper and Lois Taylor, Cabinet Office, 26 August 2017.]

End of Term: Substantial

By the end of the cycle, there was further progress in several areas. 42 registers were listed as being ‘ready to use' i.e. live (up from 17 in the last update) with 36 more in progress (down from 45).[Note 89: Interview with Katie Holder and Thom Townsend, DCMS, 8 August 2018. ]

The open address data aspect of the commitment changed substantially during the two years. In June 2018 (end of cycle) the Cabinet Office announced the release of OS MasterMap data in conjunction with Ordnance Survey, a set that includes important building blocks such as property boundaries. An accompanying government press claimed this would boost the economy by £130m a year and explained it would be carried out by the new Geospatial Commission.[Note 90: UK Government (2018), https://www.gov.uk/government/news/unlocking-of-governments-mapping-and-location-data-to-boost-economy-by-130m-a-year; and Open Data Institute (2018) and on the New Geospatial commission itself, https://theodi.org/article/what-will-the-uks-geospatial-commission-look-like/ ]

The Open Data Institute argued that ‘this is significant, not only for us geospatial data fans but for the UK economy and its citizens'. It explained that Master Map data will be open for all to share and will contain key data such as ‘property boundaries' as well as street-level data, ‘Topographic Identifiers (TOIDs)', that can be linked to other datasets and used as building blocks for data on buildings, roads or other landmarks.[Note 91: Open Data Institute (2018), https://theodi.org/article/ordnance-survey-and-other-data-stewards-must-innovate-to-keep-up-with-the-private-sector/ ]

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Marginal

Civic Participation: Did not change

The one clear area of greater access to information and technology and innovation is registers. As Computerworld outlined in August 2018, registers represented one clear positive of the government's openness programme. It provides ‘a reliable source of up-to-date government data that is quick and easy to source' across topics that ‘range from allergens referenced in Food Standards Agency food safety alerts to lists of Jobcentre offices'. It has also been used to innovate: so far it has been the basis for a series of innovations, including being ‘used to create the Cabinet Office's GOV.UK Pay system and the Parliamentary Digital Service's E-petitions service'.[Note 92: Computer World (2018), What is the UK government's open data strategy?, 7 September 2018, https://www.computerworlduk.com/data/how-uk-government-uses-open-data-3683332/

 ] It is too early to tell the effects of the other large-scale innovation on Master Map, such as on map data. However, so far, there is no evidence the commitment has encouraged greater participation.

Carried Forward?

This commitment will continue outside of the action plan into 2019 and beyond. The IRM midterm report recommended that the government continue to explore and innovate with access and obtain external scrutiny of their actions. This appears to be, at least in part, the role of the new Geospatial Commission.


United Kingdom's Commitments

  1. Grants Data

    UK0090, 2019, E-Government

  2. Public Participation

    UK0091, 2019, E-Government

  3. Open Policy Making

    UK0092, 2019, Public Participation

  4. Open Contracting Data

    UK0093, 2019, E-Government

  5. Natural Resource Transparency

    UK0094, 2019, E-Government

  6. Innovation in Democracy Programme

    UK0095, 2019, Public Participation

  7. Sustainable Open Government

    UK0096, 2019, Capacity Building

  8. Local Transparency

    UK0097, 2019, E-Government

  9. Beneficial Ownership – UK

    UK0063, 2016, Beneficial Ownership

  10. Natural Resource Transparency

    UK0064, 2016, Extractive Industries

  11. Anti-Corruption Strategy

    UK0065, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  12. Anti-Corruption Innovation Hub

    UK0066, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  13. Open Contracting

    UK0067, 2016, E-Government

  14. Grants Data

    UK0068, 2016, E-Government

  15. Elections Data

    UK0069, 2016, Capacity Building

  16. Revising Freedom of Information Act Code of Practice

    UK0070, 2016, Open Contracting and Procurement

  17. Identifying and Publishing Core Data Assets

    UK0071, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  18. Involving Data Users in Shaping the Future of Open Data

    UK0072, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Better Use of Data Assets

    UK0073, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. GOV.UK

    UK0074, 2016, Open Data

  21. Ongoing Collaborative Approach to Open Government Reform

    UK0075, 2016, E-Government

  22. Open Government at All Levels

    UK0076, 2016, OGP

  23. Open Policy-Making and Public Engagement

    UK0077, 2016, Capacity Building

  24. Public Sector Innovation

    UK0078, 2016, Capacity Building

  25. OCDS Implementation

    UK0079, 2016, E-Government

  26. Open-Up Government

    UK0080, 2016, Capacity Building

  27. Open Data Plan

    UK0081, 2016, E-Government

  28. Open Data Service

    UK0082, 2016, Capacity Building

  29. Statswales

    UK0083, 2016, E-Government

  30. Data Research Centre Wales

    UK0084, 2016, E-Government

  31. Government Social Research Publication Protocol

    UK0085, 2016, E-Government

  32. Gov.Wales

    UK0086, 2016, E-Government

  33. Code of Practice in Supply Chains

    UK0087, 2016, Labor

  34. Starred commitment National Indicators for Wales

    UK0088, 2016, Fiscal Transparency

  35. Starred commitment Well-Being Duty

    UK0089, 2016, E-Government

  36. National Information Infrastructure

    UK0042, 2013, Records Management

  37. NHS England Website and Network

    UK0043, 2013, Health

  38. Revised Local Authories Data Transparency Code

    UK0044, 2013, Capacity Building

  39. Transparent Social Investment Market

    UK0045, 2013, Open Data

  40. Manage and Capture Digital Records

    UK0046, 2013, Capacity Building

  41. Starred commitment Cross-Government Anti-Corruption Plan

    UK0047, 2013, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  42. Starred commitment Company Beneficial Ownership Information

    UK0048, 2013, Beneficial Ownership

  43. Access to Police Records

    UK0049, 2013, Justice

  44. Transparency in Construction

    UK0050, 2013, Infrastructure & Transport

  45. Legislative Openness

    UK0051, 2013, Beneficial Ownership

  46. Whistleblowing

    UK0052, 2013, Legislation & Regulation

  47. Open Contracting

    UK0053, 2013, Open Contracting and Procurement

  48. Open Contracting Scotland

    UK0054, 2013, E-Government

  49. Starred commitment International Aid Transparency

    UK0055, 2013, Aid

  50. Health Care Data

    UK0056, 2013, Health

  51. Open Policy Making

    UK0057, 2013, E-Government

  52. Sciencewise

    UK0058, 2013, E-Government

  53. Publication of Draft Legislation

    UK0059, 2013, Legislature

  54. Opendatacommunities Programme

    UK0060, 2013, E-Government

  55. PSI Re-Use Directive

    UK0061, 2013, Legislation & Regulation

  56. Starred commitment Extractive Transparency

    UK0062, 2013, E-Government

  57. Ensuring a Clear Process to Support Reduction in Collection of ‘Unnecessary Data’

    UK0024, 2011, E-Government

  58. Developing Data.Gov.Uk and Identifying Other Digital Channels to Support Users

    UK0025, 2011,

  59. Evidence and Databases Behind Policy Statements

    UK0026, 2011, E-Government

  60. Data Underlying Surveys

    UK0027, 2011, E-Government

  61. Examining Ways for Improving the Use of Existing Published Data

    UK0028, 2011, E-Government

  62. Stimulate the Market for Innovative Use of Open Data

    UK0029, 2011, Open Data

  63. Spend up to 5% of Budget Support on Accountability

    UK0030, 2011, E-Government

  64. Include the OGP Eligibility Criteria to Determine Readiness for UK Budget Support

    UK0031, 2011, Aid

  65. Publish Aid Information from All ODA Government Departments

    UK0032, 2011, Aid

  66. Use a Single Domain for Government Services

    UK0033, 2011, E-Government

  67. Mandate ‘Channel Shift’

    UK0034, 2011, E-Government

  68. Go Online for All Consultations

    UK0035, 2011, E-Government

  69. Develop Practical Guidelines on Departmental Access to Internet and Social Media

    UK0036, 2011, Civic Space

  70. Open Data and Application Interfaces in Ways That Encourage Businesses

    UK0037, 2011, E-Government

  71. Create Cross-Government Standards on APIs

    UK0038, 2011,

  72. Establish Standardised Formats for User-Satisfaction Data

    UK0039, 2011, Records Management

  73. Provide Government Documents in Open Standard Format

    UK0040, 2011, E-Government

  74. Implement Crowd-Sourcing and Engagement Processes

    UK0041, 2011,

  75. New Power to Secure Release of Valuable Datasets

    UK0001, 2011,

  76. New, Higher Cost Cap for FOI

    UK0002, 2011, Right to Information

  77. Meaningful Disincentives

    UK0003, 2011,

  78. Maximum Time Limits

    UK0004, 2011, Right to Information

  79. Altered Procurement Rules

    UK0005, 2011,

  80. Mandating Phased Introduction of ‘Public by Default’

    UK0006, 2011, E-Government

  81. Formalising Public Data Principles

    UK0007, 2011, Records Management

  82. Having in Place an Open Data Compliance Monitoring Process

    UK0008, 2011, Records Management

  83. Making Clear the Minimum Citizens Can Expect on Publication and Quality of Data

    UK0009, 2011,

  84. Ensuring a Line of Continuous Improvement for Public Service Providers

    UK0010, 2011, Open Data

  85. Encourage Continuous Improvement

    UK0011, 2011, Records Management

  86. Setting Out How Citizens Can Challenge Where There Is Failure in the Process

    UK0012, 2011, Public Participation

  87. Establishing an Obligation to Consider and Act on User Feedback

    UK0013, 2011, Public Participation

  88. Making Clear That Licenses Must Cover Free, Commercial Re-Use

    UK0014, 2011,

  89. Merge Information Asset Registers…Into a Single Data Inventory

    UK0015, 2011,

  90. Set Consistent Expectations of the Appropriate Quality of Meta-Data

    UK0016, 2011, Records Management

  91. For Data Co-Ordinated Across Government, Set Definitions

    UK0017, 2011, E-Government

  92. Introducing Corporate Responsibility at Transparency Board Level

    UK0018, 2011, Records Management

  93. Strengthening and Broadening the Public Sector Transparency Board

    UK0019, 2011, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  94. Bringing the Sector Transparency Board Model to Other Parts of Public Sector

    UK0020, 2011, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  95. Reviewing the Existing Governance and Regulatory Model

    UK0021, 2011, Records Management

  96. Establishing a Framework for Public Service Providers Data Inventories

    UK0022, 2011, Records Management

  97. Developing a Clear Methodology to Support Intelligent Inventories

    UK0023, 2011, Records Management