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EU team urges third sector to get stuck into open data

18/10/16

Group goes through Open Data Institute to say that non-profit organisations could draw benefits from data with local authority support

The third sector could get a major boost from better use of data, according to the Open Data Institute (ODI), the non-profit, government backed group that promotes open access and exploitation of public data.

Open data spelled out in buttonsThe call comes in a new blogpost on the institute's site, which describes how local government and non-profits are starting to do just that in the UK.

Invited data experts from a third party organisation, the EU's OpenGovIntelligence project, point out that: "As providers of key public services, local authorities don't exist in isolation."

Access to what the writers describe as "accessible local data from across the data spectrum" is therefore key to bodies better understand both the demand for services, and how effectively they are delivering them.

They cite an example of work done in Trafford Council's Innovation and Intelligence Lab, which is tasked with maximising the "value of the data that exists in Trafford and the surrounding area".

As an example of how charities can make that value work, local voluntary organisation BlueSci drew on its support to use health and wellbeing data to win a £100,000 grant.

Ethnicity and employability

The post adds that it's not just organisations that are winning with open data - individuals are starting to benefit. The writers claim: "Since making open data about ethnicity and employability more readily available, we have noticed it has been used by residents in Trafford when applying for equality funding" - as much as 50% of such claims being so empowered.

The lesson, concludes the blog, is that at a time when local government is under such extreme financial pressure, smart use of open data could help authorities, as well as the wider public sector and non-profits.

Image by Jan Ainali (own work), CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

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