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United Kingdom

Better use of data assets (UK0073)

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) and Office of National Statistics

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

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, Open Data, Public Service Delivery, Right to Information

IRM Review

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

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

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

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Objective: Through our Government Data Programme, we plan to improve the availability, quality and use of government data and make it easier for that data to be used appropriately and effectively, both with and beyond government.

Status quo: Since our first OGP National Action Plan we have made considerable progress in opening up government data. Our data.gov.uk portal has enabled us to identify and open up over 27,000 publicly held data sets, fuelling the development of innovative apps, new insights for public service delivery and greater government transparency. Doing this has clearly shown the potential for value creation and enhanced public services, as more and more data is made available. The act of opening up data itself improves quality, as data users and publishers respond to incentives to improve it. Having made this progress, there is now more we can do within government to make better use of the data assets we have, and to make more, better quality data openly and freely available, in order to drive service improvement, economic growth and transparency. To do that, we need to modernise our data infrastructure, and engage actively with data users to understand the demand for open data, as described in the parallel commitments. We also need to overcome legal and organisational barriers that prevent effective data use within the public sector for clearly defined purposes in the public interest, while being clear that identifiable data will never be made open and strict controls will govern the use of any such data. And we need to build the skills and capabilities to make best use of the data we hold.

Ambition: Better use of data across government will drive up data quality, in turn improving the quality and reliability of the data we are able to make freely and openly available. As a result of this work, we expect to see: • government increasingly re-using its own data to enable better operational, policy and economic decisions and drive up data quality • better cross-government platforms and improved services for citizens • better quality data available for innovation in the economy and wider society • more accessible open data that is easy for citizens and civil society groups, as well as businesses and large organisations, to use • clear ethical and legal frameworks to build public support for the better use of data in government

IRM End of Term Status Summary

11. Better use of data assets

Commitment Text: We will encourage and support data-driven techniques in policy and service delivery across government departments and encourage the better use of open data in the economy and civil society.

Objective: Through our Government Data Programme, we plan to improve the availability, quality and use of government data and make it easier for that data to be used appropriately and effectively, both with and beyond government.

Status quo: Since our first OGP National Action Plan we have made considerable progress in opening up government data. Our data.gov.uk portal has enabled us to identify and open up over 27,000 publicly held data sets, fuelling the development of innovative apps, new insights for public service delivery and greater government transparency.

Doing this has clearly shown the potential for value creation and enhanced public services, as more and more data is made available. The act of opening up data itself improves quality, as data users and publishers respond to incentives to improve it.

Having made this progress, there is now more we can do within government to make better use of the data assets we have, and to make more, better quality data openly and freely available, in order to drive service improvement, economic growth and transparency. To do that, we need to modernise our data infrastructure, and engage actively with data users to understand the demand for open data, as described in the parallel commitments. We also need to overcome legal and organisational barriers that prevent effective data use within the public sector for clearly defined purposes in the public interest, while being clear that identifiable data will never be made open and strict controls will govern the use of any such data. And we need to build the skills and capabilities to make best use of the data we hold.

Ambition: Better use of data across government will drive up data quality, in turn improving the quality and reliability of the data we are able to make freely and openly available.

As a result of this work, we expect to see:

Government increasingly re-using its own data to enable better operational, policy and economic decisions and drive up data quality

Better cross-government platforms and improved services for citizens

Better quality data available for innovation in the economy and wider society

More accessible open data that is easy for citizens and civil society groups, as well as businesses and large organisations, to use

Clear ethical and legal frameworks to build public support for the better use of data in government

Milestones:

1. Pursue legislative changes to enable better access to government data for defined purposes across organisational boundaries in public services and between different levels of government working with internal and external experts and consulting with the public at key stages

2. Publish departmental data plans for improving data quality, opening up more data and ensuring continuing engagement with external stakeholders

3. Monitor and publish progress against departmental data plans

4. Help non-data specialist policy and operational staff across government to understand analytical approaches and the transformational power of data

5. Equip government analysts with the latest data science tools and skills, through a programme of work led by the Office for National Statistics

6. Showcase best practice in data science through cross government projects, finding opportunities to bring in external expertise to inform the design and delivery of the projects

Responsible institution: Cabinet Office (Government Digital Service) and Office of National Statistics

Supporting institutions: All government departments, Democratise, mySociety, The Open Data institute.

Start date: May 2016

End date: June 2018

Commitment Aim:

The purpose of this commitment was for the government to make better use of its own data, improving access, skills and the quality of data within government, while building public support and engagement outside. The commitment consisted of overlapping goals and milestones including publishing data plans, training staff and raising awareness through showcases and examples.

Status

Midterm: Substantial

At the end of the first year of implementation, the promised legislation, named the Digital Economy Act 2017, had been passed.[Note 106: Legislation.gov.uk, ‘Digital Economy Act 2017', https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2017/30/contents ] In a speech in February 2017, the Chief Executive of the UK Civil Service, John Manzoni, explained that the new law ‘provides a robust legal framework for sharing data between public authorities, where there is a clear public need and benefit'.[Note 107: Cabinet Office (John Manzoni), ‘Speech: Big data in government: the challenges and opportunities', https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/big-data-in-government-the-challenges-and-opportunities ] According to the government's July 2017 update, the work was under way to develop further four Codes of Practice and other regulations that would be approved by an affirmative resolution of both Houses of Parliament.[Note 108: UK government commitment update for July 2017. ] There was concern from CSOs over the provisions for data sharing and the extent to which such processes would be transparent and protect privacy across a range of areas, from details of debt to access to pornography.[Note 109: Panopticon, ‘Digital Economy Bill made law', https://panopticonblog.com/2017/05/03/digital-economy-bill-made-law/ ] The political events of 2016 and 2017, such as the Brexit referendum and the June 2017 General Election, delayed the plan for departmental data plans. It has been decided that individual department plans will now be merged into wider strategic plans.[Note 110: Interview with Thom Townsend and William Gerry, Cabinet Office, 14 September 2017.]

The government stated in July 2017 to be making good progress on outstanding milestones.[Note 111: Cabinet Office, Open Government National Action Plan 2016-18: July 2017 Commitment Progress Updates (commitment update for July 2017) pre-publication passed to author. ] The cross-government Data Advisory Board is overseeing a programme of data-enabled transformation as part of its work on showcasing best practices in data science. In 2017, the programme included experiments with care home quality data and pensions.[Note 112: Government Digital Service, ‘Guidance Data Science Accelerator Programme', https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/data-science-accelerator-programme, and Government Data Blog, ‘The Data Science Accelerator: pensions, patient journeys and predicting public order', https://data.blog.gov.uk/2017/04/11/the-data-science-accelerator-pensions-patient-journeys-and-predicting-public-order/ ] For specialists within the government there has also been a continuous series of community building and showcasing events, as seen on the Government Digital service blogs.[Note 113: Government Digital Service, ‘Building capability and community through the Government Data Science Partnership', https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2017/07/20/building-capability-and-community-through-the-government-data-science-partnership/ ] Officials have also organised events to help non-specialists[Note 114: Government Digital Service, ‘Data literacy: helping non-data specialists make the most of data science', https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2016/04/27/data-literacy-helping-non-data-specialists-make-the-most-of-data-science/ ] with a cross-government training programme through the Government Digital Academy in four different locations.[Note 115: Government Digital Service, ‘GDS Academy', https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/digital-academy ]

End of term: Complete

Though parts of the commitment were continuous and rolling, the central parts, such as the legislation, were complete and departmental plans have now been rolled into single plans.[Note 116: Interview with Katie Holder and Thom Townsend, DCMS, 8 August 2018. ] Towards the end of the action plan cycle, the government made a strong push over data policy. It transferred responsibility to a new department (the Department of Culture, Media and Sport) which announced a new strategy led by a new centre for data ethics and excellence.[Note 117: Freeguard, G (2018), ‘DCMS is the right place for data policy – but the next step is a government data strategy', 4 April 2018; Computerweekly (2018), DCMS sets out plans for National Data Strategy, 13 June 2018. ] The Treasury also published a discussion paper on the economic value of data.[Note 118: Her Majesty's Treasury (2018), The Economic Value of Data, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/731349/20180730_HMT_Discussion_Paper_-_The_Economic_Value_of_Data.pdf ] While designed to encourage debate, one point about open data caused some concern, as it appeared to move back on the government's commitment to open data, when it stated that ‘this does not mean that open data is appropriate or beneficial for all forms of data... rather than rely on an open/closed distinction, data access should be seen as a spectrum, with different degrees of data openness'. This caused some concern to civil society, who saw it as a questioning of one of the central ideas of open data.[Note 119: Computerworld, What is the UK government's open data strategy?, https://www.computerworlduk.com/data/how-uk-government-uses-open-data-3683332/. ]

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Did Not Change

Civic Participation: Did Not Change

The commitment was based mainly on legislation, alongside training and ongoing work inside of government, and so was focused on internal change. This focus meant no new information was released or new areas opened as a result of the commitment. Nor did any parts of the commitment lead to wider engagement or greater civic participation.

Carried Forward?

The UK government's consultation on the national action plan for Open Government 2018-2020 proposed a further commitment around ‘public participation in digital and data policy development' that covers similar themes and aims (though this is a suggestion and not government policy). This includes committing to international discussions on open data, a new Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, and continued wide-ranging dialogue around the Government's National Data Strategy.[Note 120: UK Government (2018), Consultation draft of the National Action Plan for Open Government 2018 – 2020, https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XGUs6X8EHSOm00U-rX2_8cAoq7MnDsBjnetQeW0vnzA/edit#heading=h.y5i6179pcs8d ]


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. "http://gov.uk/","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