Using the data

February 27, 2011

Having had all the fuss about getting open data out of government, which has been partially successful, I’d already been aware of OpenlyLocal keeping track of what was going on. Now there’s a new site on the block that is attempting to get work done on and with the data, it’s called ‘making a difference with data’.

Its site design is by Boilerhouse, which is the consultancy behind Vicky Sargent (well done Vicky), who plays such a part in Socitm‘s branding and PR, so it’s fairly attractive and well laid out. There’s also a good range of commentators including Michael Cross, a freelancer possibly best known (at least to me) as a long running observer on e-government and government IT in the Guardian.

I think this site is important since, as Vicky will understand,  with staff reductions in government there will be limited resources to produce anything from open data, let alone produce the data. So, it has to be seen that the production of the data is of value to the citizen, and that may only come from there nationally being tools to use on the data made available and to confirm transparency.


Staring across the pond

April 7, 2010

On Federal News Radio (1500 AM) on the 17 March 2010 was a report on the US federal Chief Information Officer’s (Vivek Kundra) new approach. A lot of what is stated resonates with my research in the UK, along with what I hear on a daily basis. 

There is a big investment in IT in Kundra’s department, $35 million, which is apparently more than it got over the last seven years in total! It looks like it’s a focused spend on making those citizen services that will be used electronically to be made so.

There is also a move against silos, with data consolidation and cloud computing being high on the agenda, along with the piloting of various and increasing the number of datasets on open.gov to more than 250,000.

As has been stated, our own newly laid out Government IT Strategy is not very far off the US one, but what will be interesting on both sides of the Atlantic is how those silos will be broken down, since both accept that “webifying” silos is wasted money.

This also runs very parallel with Michael Cross’s latest piece in the Guardian which also strongly resonates with the sentiments I have frequently and quite recently expressed in posts here. Unfortunately, after years of spending, the Treasury want some money back, and whilst central government will probably continue to swallow large quantities of cash (no matter which government gets in) local authorities will be scratching around, now that the e-government cash has gone.


E-government – back in the news?

November 22, 2009

On Thursday 19 November 2009 The Guardian’s Michael Cross published a piece entitled “It’s now time for e-government policy to take the spotlight.”

In his usual charming manner Michael highlights the ignorance of one minister just three years ago, but concludes that 13 years on from the Conservative Green Paper, something might finally happen. I suspect that 13 years is still too soon and Micahel is being optimistic, but what is the cause of his optimism? It’s the EU Ministerial Conference in Malmo, Sweden. For the UK, Bill McCluggage, John Suffolk’s deputy was talking about “A Future that is Efficient, Sustainable and Responsible.”

Andrea di Maio picks up the latest declatation on his blog and does his usual thorough analysis and ends up slightly confused as to where it stands with Gov 2.0, although I suspect for the UK this probably takes on the observation by Michael Cross as to which way we go next year after the election – there are, of course, at least two choices, open up the data or give it to the private sector to open up!

William Heath was also in attendance anf he praises Ton Zilstra’s summary of the event.