Using Open Data for Public Services

New report by the Open Data Institute:  “…Today we’re publishing our initial findings based on examining 8 examples where open data supports the delivery of a public service. We have defined 3 high-level ‘patterns’ for how open data is used in public services. We think these could be helpful for others looking to redesign and deliver better services.

The patterns are summarised in the table below:

The first pattern is perhaps the model which everyone is most familiar with as it’s used by the likes of Citymapper, who use open transport data from Transport for London to inform passengers about routes and timings, and other citizen-focused apps. Data is released by a public sector organisation about a public service and a third organisation uses this data to provide a complementary service, online or face-face, to help citizens use the public service.

The second pattern involves the release of open data in the service delivery chain. Open data is used to plan public service delivery and make service delivery chains more efficient. Examples provided in the report include local authorities’ release of open spending, contract and tender data, which is used by Spend Network to support better value for money in public expenditure.

In the third pattern, public sector organisations commissioning services and external organisations involved in service delivery make strategic decisions based on insights and patterns revealed by open data. Visualisations of open data can inform policies on job seeker allowance, as shown in the example from the Department for Work and Pensions in the report.

As well as identifying these patterns, we have created ecosystem maps of the public services we have examined to help understand the relationships and the mechanisms by which open data supports each of them….

Having compared the ecosystems of the examples we have considered so far, the report sets out practical recommendations for those involved in the delivery of public services and for Central Government for the better use of open data in the delivery of public services.

The recommendations are focused on organisational collaboration; technology infrastructure, digital skills and literacy; open standards for data; senior level championing; peer networks; intermediaries; and problem focus….(More)”.