Innovating through public sector information


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Slides from a seminar presented at the London School of Economics, in conjunction with an accompanying presentation from Nigel Shadbolt

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Innovating through public sector information

  1. 1. Innovating through Public Sector Information Jerry Fishenden Visiting Senior Fellow, London School of Economics Director, Centre for Technology Policy Research
  2. 2. agenda <ul><li>a (potted) history </li></ul><ul><li>what information anyway? </li></ul><ul><li>the politics / blockers </li></ul><ul><li>innovation and commercial opportunities </li></ul>
  4. 4. “ ... as the private and voluntary sectors act as intermediaries between the citizen and the state, government can reduce expenditure on its delivery channels. Secondly , there will be real competition as soon as government allows access to its information , with the expected benefits to the citizen . ” (p.35) ... so, what document are these quotes taken from?
  5. 5. “ This vision of a mixed economy delivery market offers significant benefits to the consumer. These arise for two key reasons: • it will create competition to drive up quality for the citizen and reduce costs ; and • new value-added intermediaries will provide more customer-focused services. ” (p.60) ... so, what document are these quotes taken from?
  6. 6. Electronic Government Services for the 21st Century Performance and Innovation Unit September 2000 ... the answer ....
  7. 7. Freedom of Information Act, 2000
  8. 8. <ul><li>Includes: </li></ul><ul><li>intermediary strategy </li></ul><ul><li>channels framework </li></ul><ul><li>eGovernment Interoperability Framework (eGIF) </li></ul><ul><li>metadata </li></ul><ul><li>XML schema </li></ul>
  9. 9. e-GIF defines the technical policies and specifications governing information flows across government and the public sector. These cover interconnectivity, data integration, e-services access and content management. .... but last updated 2005 ....
  10. 11. CUT TO: SCENE: .... 9 YEARS LATER .....
  12. 15.
  13. 16. There's eight open data principles set out from a 2007 meeting of open government advocates in Sebastopol California. Open Government Data Principles Government data shall be considered open if it is made public in a way that complies with the principles below: 1. Complete - All public data is made available. Public data is data that is not subject to valid privacy, security or privilege limitations. 2. Primary - Data is as collected at the source, with the highest possible level of granularity, not in aggregate or modified forms. 3. Timely - Data is made available as quickly as necessary to preserve the value of the data. 4. Accessible - Data is available to the widest range of users for the widest range of purposes. 5. Machine processable - Data is reasonably structured to allow automated processing. 6. Non-discriminatory - Data is available to anyone, with no requirement of registration. 7. Non-proprietary - Data is available in a format over which no entity has exclusive control. 8. License-free - Data is not subject to any copyright, patent, trademark or trade secret regulation. Reasonable privacy, security and privilege restrictions may be allowed.
  14. 17. In Vancouver, David Eaves' has set out “The Three Laws of Open Government Data”: 1. If it can’t be spidered or indexed, it doesn’t exist 2. If it isn’t available in open and machine readable format, it can’t engage 3. If a legal framework doesn’t allow it to be repurposed, it doesn’t empower
  15. 18. THE ECONOMICS OF PUBLIC SECTOR INFORMATION RUFUS POLLOCK UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE DECEMBER 2, 2008 The potential importance of (public sector) information can also be gauged from a simple but significant analogy: just as the supply of basic physical infrastructure { power, transport, telecommunications } is essential to the traditional economy, so the supply of basic information `infrastructure' { core datasets in the major areas of geography, weather, transport etc } is essential to the `information' economy. Not only does this comparison provide an indicator of the likely importance of public sector information but it is also illuminating in other ways.
  16. 19. US definition: Transparency – to enable greater accountability, efficiency, and economic opportunity by making government data and operations more open. Participation – to create early and effective opportunities to drive greater and more diverse expertise into government decision making. Collaboration – to generate new ideas for solving problems by fostering co-operation across government departments, across levels of government, and with the public.
  17. 20.
  18. 21. <ul><li>current definition useful but narrow: open data </li></ul><ul><li>we need open information in its widest sense – including open rule-sets and open processes too, not just data </li></ul>
  20. 23. <ul><li>accepted that data needs to be provided in machine readable format (not just PDFs) – but needs to be consistently enforced </li></ul><ul><li>the calculation rules, assumptions etc also need to be openly published in re-usable form </li></ul><ul><li>without that context: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the data itself may be meaningless </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>assumptions and processes can’t be challenged and improved </li></ul></ul>
  21. 24. simplifying complex data/information
  22. 25. “ … .a licence fee of £10 a second with a minimum usage of 60 seconds. ” (from a BFI email about use of UK film archive material for doctoral research purposes)
  23. 26. “ The exceptions to this are information and data produced by those government departments, agencies and trading funds that license Crown copyright information they originate under a delegation of authority granted by the Controller of HMSO. See the Information Fair Trader Scheme (IFTS) Members page for details of these organisations.”
  24. 32. “ The panel .... Comes out in favour of ending licensing charges for geographical information ...”
  25. 33. (poor?) quality of data (and fear of exposing it) periodic re-baselining of data (cf crime stats) “ It costs too much / distracts us from delivering public services ” public data cannot necessarily be easily anonymised ... aggregated data can lead to invasions of personal privacy (cf differential privacy) real-time data flows challenge traditional approaches and planning (a 10 yearly census?) some issues ....
  27. 36. incentives
  28. 37. <ul><li>“ ... prizes have a number of advantages over traditional grants and contracts, and can allow the government to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Only pay for results. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Establish a bold and important goal without having to choose the path or the team that is most likely to succeed. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attract new entrants such as small entrepreneurial firms. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stimulate private sector investment that is larger than the size of the purse. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Capture the public imagination and change the public’s perception of what is possible.” </li></ul></ul> incentives
  29. 38.
  30. 39. <ul><li>... such open consultations typically produce tens of thousands of responses (cf forum posts) .... </li></ul><ul><li>So the problems here include: </li></ul><ul><li>the technical (are you going to do some data mining?) </li></ul><ul><li>the organisational (are you going to introduce active moderation and who is going to do that?) </li></ul><ul><li>the legal (what is the position of consultations in the legislative life cycle and how are you going to define the results?) </li></ul>
  31. 40. “ The US National Weather Service (NWS) also sets an example as the largest federal agency on the web in terms of data flow in most months. What is striking about NWS is not that they provide weather information to the public, which is of course a part of their mission, but that they do so in a way that promotes innovation. Edward Johnson, the director of strategic planning and policy for NWS, said: ‘We make an enormous amount of data available on a real time immediate basis that flows out into the U.S. economy.’”
  32. 41. commercial models for public information .... <ul><li>change in governance – new localism and high value use of open information, data and processes will be a pull-demand rather than an arbitrary central push </li></ul><ul><li>clear ownership and accountability for the open information agenda (ie. not mentioned once in the new ICT Strategy – if a CIO does not own it, who does?) </li></ul><ul><li>why not follow the Greek model – and mandate transparency in public administration? </li></ul><ul><li>will require an open licence (Creative Commons?). And under which wider principles – BSD? GPL2? GPL3? </li></ul><ul><li>open rule-sets and processes not just information and data </li></ul><ul><li>will it require per-transaction rewards/payment by results? If so, they will be paid for by cost savings on govt side: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>implications: staff reductions; system reductions; recognition that govt does not need to own and operate everything itself </li></ul></ul><ul><li>money should follow the successful service provider / innovator? </li></ul><ul><li>enforce the innovative (existing) policies of intermediaries, multi-channel strategy, federated trust, interoperability frameworks etc </li></ul><ul><li>... a return to that 1990’s vision: public services available through a wide range of channels and intermediaries, responsive to local needs </li></ul><ul><li>.... Yet without a culture change and a viable commercial model, it will not better succeed this time than last time </li></ul>
  33. 42. <ul><li>Acknowledgements </li></ul><ul><li>Ideal Government IT Strategy Wiki and participants </li></ul><ul><ul><li>w: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>t: #idealgits </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Pro Tsiavos, LSE </li></ul><ul><li>Useful References </li></ul><ul><li>2010 &quot;Open Government: Transparency, Collaboration and Participation in Practice&quot; Edited by D. Lathrop and L.R.T. Ruma </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Government Data and the Invisible Hand,&quot; David G. Robinson, Harlan Yu, William Zeller, and Edward W. Felten, Yale Journal of Law & Technology, Vol. 11, 2009 ( ) </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;The Right of Public Participation in the Law-Making Process and the Role of the Legislature in the Promotion of This Right,&quot; Karen Czapanskiy and Rashida Manjoo, University of Maryland School of Law Legal Studies, Vol. 42, 2008: 31 </li></ul><ul><li>Public Sector Information Directive ( ) </li></ul>
  34. 43. Innovating through Public Sector Information Jerry Fishenden Visiting Senior Fellow, London School of Economics Director, Centre for Technology Policy Research