Skip Navigation
United Kingdom

Open-Up Government (UK0080)

Overview

At-a-Glance

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

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Department of Finance

Support Institution(s): ODI Belfast, NI Digital Catapult, Future Cities

Policy Areas

Access to Information, Capacity Building, E-Government, Local Commitments, Open Data, Public Participation

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

Commitment Text: To establish that all public sector data is Open by default (excepting
personal, IPR, commercially or environmentally sensitive data).
Objective: To ensure that the Executive’s Open Data Strategy is embraced and adopted by all
public sector organisations.
Status quo: To embed a culture of open by default and increase awareness and demand for
open data.
Ambition: To increase the number of public sector organisations aware of open data and to
encourage publishing of their data on OpenDataNI. Also, to encourage the use of open data as a
driver to economic growth; innovation and research, and increased Public Sector efficiency.
Milestones:
1. Increase the number of Showcases on OpenDataNI (November 2015 May 2018)
2. Support an annual competition to derive and promote innovative services and products
(June 2016 May 2018)
3. Support and host engagement events between the public sector and the developer
community to focus on issues and problems locally and use technology, innovation and open
data to find solutions (June 2016 May 2018).
4. Increase engagement with a number of partners such as ODI Belfast, NI Digital Catapult,
universities, business and developer groups (June 2016 May 2018)
5. Increase proportion of public sector agencies to have published open data (June 2016 May
2018)
6. Increase the number of public sector staff trained in producing and publishing open data
(June 2016 May 2018)
7. Increase proactive publication of data from government departments (November 2015
May 2018)
8. Publish 2 datasets as 4-star or 5 star linked Open Data as defined by W3C (June 2016
May 2018)
9. Work with ODI Belfast and partners to encourage innovative uses of open data for new
products and services (November 2015 May 2018)

IRM End of Term Status Summary

4. Open-up government for greater accountability, improve public services and building a more prosperous and equal society (Northern Ireland)

Commitment Text:To establish that all public sector data is Open by default (excepting personal, IPR, commercially or environmentally sensitive data).

Objective:To ensure that the Executive's Open Data Strategy is embraced and adopted by all public sector organisations.

Status quo:To embed a culture of open by default and increase awareness and demand for open data.

Ambition:To increase the number of public sector organisations aware of open data and to encourage publishing of their data on OpenDataNI. Also, to encourage the use of open data as a driver to economic growth; innovation and research, and increased Public Sector efficiency.

Milestones:

1. Increase the number of Showcases on OpenDataNI (November 2015 May 2018)

2. Support an annual competition to derive and promote innovative services and products (June 2016 May 2018)

3. Support and host engagement events between the public sector and the developer community to focus on issues and problems locally and use technology, innovation and open data to find solutions (June 2016 May 2018).

4. Increase engagement with a number of partners such as ODI Belfast, NI Digital Catapult, universities, business and developer groups (June 2016 May 2018)

5. Increase proportion of public sector agencies to have published open data (June 2016 May 2018)

6. Increase the number of public sector staff trained in producing and publishing open data (June 2016 May 2018)

7. Increase proactive publication of data from government departments (November 2015 May 2018)

8. Publish 2 datasets as 4-star or 5 star linked Open Data as defined by W3C (June 2016 May 2018)

9. Work with ODI Belfast and partners to encourage innovative uses of open data for new products and services (November 2015 May 2018)

Responsible institution: Department of Finance

Supporting institutions: ODI Belfast, NI Digital Catapult, Future Cities

Start date: December 2016

End date:  May 2018

Commitment Aim:

This commitment was part of an ongoing process in Northern Ireland based around its Open Data portal and its long-term Open Data strategy that runs from 2015 to 2018.[Note 170: OpenDatani.gov.uk, ‘Open Data Northern Ireland', https://www.opendatani.gov.uk/ ,and ‘Open data strategy for Northern Ireland 2015 – 2018', https://www.finance-ni.gov.uk/publications/open-data-strategy-northern-ireland-2015-2018 ] The strategy commited the Northern Ireland Executive to ‘successfully implement and drive open data by default' meaning all data will be created and published automatically in an open format. The development of the portal and philosophy of openness was intended to both improve transparency and stimulate innovation; as the strategy puts it ‘to embed a culture' of ‘open by default' within the Northern Ireland public sector in order to drive public service efficiency, stimulate innovation and improve the economy in Northern Ireland'.[Note 171: Department of Finance, ‘Open Data Strategy for Northern Ireland 2015 – 2018', https://www.finance-ni.gov.uk/publications/open-data-strategy-northern-ireland-2015-2018]

Status

Midterm: Limited

The Open Data portal itself was already well established with a project board, team and plan already in place before the action plan. In May 2017, Northern Ireland scored eighth place in the Open Data Index, partly as a result of the portal.[Note 172: Nick Cochrane, Department of Finance and Dr. Kelly Wilson, Head of Public Sector Reform Division, Dept. of Finance, 15 August 2017; Colm Burns and David McBurney, Northern Ireland Open Government Network, 11 August 2017; OpenDatani.gov.uk ‘Northern Ireland makes a splash in the 2016 Global Open Data Index survey!', https://www.opendatani.gov.uk/blog/northern-ireland-makes-a-splash-in-the-global-open-data-index-survey-2016 ] It appeared that all of the milestones were under way, though all nine of them were not due to finish until May 2018 and some were more open-ended than others. The milestones on engagement (2, 4 and 9) were partly covered by the Open Data Camp coming to Belfast in October 2017, as well as a series of other initiatives and partnership work with, for example, education bodies and an event celebrating the portal in December 2016.[Note 173: OpenDatani.gov.uk, ‘Open Data Camp is coming to Belfast!', https://www.opendatani.gov.uk/blog/open-data-camp-is-coming-to-belfast, OpenDatani.gov.uk, ‘OpenDataNI - stimulating innovation in the world of local education', https://www.opendatani.gov.uk/blog/opendatani-stimulating-innovation-in-the-world-of-local-education, and OpenDatani.gov.uk, ‘OpenDataNI: The first year',

https://www.opendatani.gov.uk/blog/opendatani-the-first-year ] The training of staff in milestone 3 overlapped with Commitment 3 above, with more than 200 staff trained in data analytics.

According to the government, one area of difficulty appeared to be getting organisations to publish data proactively (milestones 5 and 6).[Note 174: Nick Cochrane, Department of Finance and Dr. Kelly Wilson, Head of Public Sector Reform Division, Dept. of Finance, 15 August 2017.] There was not always full appreciation of the value of open data and proactive openness was often blocked through a combination of lack of awareness and lack of resources.

End of Term: Limited

The commitment has continued, though the final update was not available at the time of writing. The provision of datasets has doubled by 2018 with 403 datasets, compared with 200 at the outset of the commitment. Innovation has also been encouraged. As of summer 2018 the website held 22 showcases of open data innovation in Northern Ireland. The Open Data challenge ran again in 2017, with a remit for young people to ‘create a teaching resource for our schools'. There were four winning entries announced in May 2018 and past winners included a recycling visualisation tool, an interactive game based on the geography of Northern Ireland and an eco-learning game, all drawing on portal data.[Note 175: Open Data NI (2018), ‘Open Make It Challenge Winners: The Grand Unveiling', https://www.opendatani.gov.uk/blog/opendatani-make-it-challenge-winners-the-grand-unveiling, https://www.opendatani.gov.uk/blog/open-data-make-it-challenge]

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Marginal

Civic Participation: Marginal

The commitment aimed to increase the amount of data, as well as making openness a ‘default' and increasing awareness. The changes are marginal, as all of the moves have been building on top of pre-existing activity. The commitment has increased access to information, through the provision of greater datasets on the portal, which have more than doubled from 200 to 403 in the two-year cycle, all in machine-readable form. There has also been a great deal of interaction and greater awareness around data in Northern Ireland. In parallel to this, prizes, events and other publicity helped encourage innovation and civic participation in the process, with a series of successful innovations in 2016 and 2017.

In terms of interaction and civic participation, the portal also holds a ‘suggest data' contact form that is used by the public to suggest data to be released. This mechanism is regularly used and is clearly labelled when scheduled for release or when other bodies have been contacted to do so. In those cases where data has not been, or cannot be, released, the open data team have explained the reasons in the comments section under each request. Overall, open data has increased in quantity and visibility, though it is not possible to tell if it is now a ‘default' for all government.

Carried Forward?

This commitment was not carried forward.


Commitments

Open Government Partnership