ODI calls for government to act fast in response to Shakespeare Review

The Open Data Institute (ODI) today welcomes the findings delivered by Stephan Shakespeare in his Independent Review of Public Sector Information, and calls for the Government to forge ahead, turning recommendations into real progress.

Gavin Starks, CEO of the ODI says: “This is the time to be bold and ambitious. What happens now on the back of this report is crucial in unlocking the value of open data. If the Government is serious about making data open, it has to be made available and fast.”

Executive order

Last week, the White House issued anexecutive orderrequiring all US federal government data to be open and machine-readable. Whilst the ODI supports the recommendations in today’s report, both CEO, Starks and Chairman, Nigel Shadbolt, do not want the UK falling behind the US. They would have liked to see bolder statements of intent around two important areas: aiding innovation and ensuring data sets are published.

Gavin Starks says: “Whilst the report provides a solid set of recommendations, the ODI would like to have seen a greater emphasis placed on the rolethat public sector information can play in innovation. When it comes to open data, the UK has the leadership position, so why aren'twe being more ambitious?”

He continues, “The role of the ODI is to turn ambition into innovation and help new start-ups to thrive. But here we are, at the brink of something that will enable us to bring about a revolution - a web of data on a par with the existing web - and we are backing away and being cautious when we could be bold. The Government is a key customer for innovation and its leadership cannot be underestimated.”

ODI role

The valuable role of the ODI in driving innovation forward is highlighted in today’s report: “As an example of innovation, we have the Open Data Institute. Co-funded by government and business, the ODI is well-placed to demonstrate the value latent in Public Sector Information (PSI), for example through building the demand side for PSI (including public sector use of its own data and incubating start-ups), and training business to best exploit and innovate with the data released by government.”

Forming part of the recommendations by Shakespeare is the establishment of and access to, National Core Reference Data (the most important data held by each government department and other publicly funded bodies).

Nigel Shadbolt, the ODI’s Chairman comments: “We are pleased that the report highlights the importance of a national core data function. But what needs to happen now is to identify core data sets and ensure they are published – that calls for clear leadership from the Government.”

“As with the recent executive order in the US, the ODI would like to see a legal duty placed on public bodies to create and maintain the core reference data. To strengthen trust in the on-going availability and consistency of this data, this legal duty should be supplemented by a power in legislation for a Secretary of State to designate uniform resource identifiers (URIs) for this core reference data. This way we can provide universal and linked access to the core data on which future business and government will depend.”

Read the full Shakespeare Report

Read about the ODI'sOpen Data Market Makersevent, convened in March to inform the Shakespeare report