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Hackney Council launches API competition


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Hackney Council has launched a competition for ideas on how to use its APIs for the development of new services.

It has opened up the competition for all comers, with awards of £3,000 to support the best products in each category.

There are two phases – a call for ideas followed by the development of a prototype – and four categories: for a service that most meets users needs; an innovative service; one that is most ready to be deployed; and one most available for re-use.

The council is taking entries until 3 March through a special web page and is planning to publish details of them on its blog.

It has listed the available APIs on its API hub and has said that if an idea requires a new one it would like to know as this will help it prioritise its developments.

Need for validation

Taking part in last week’s UKALive discussion on APIs in the public sector, Hackney’s head of digital and data Matthew Cain said: “We’ve been developing some APIs for 12-14 months, think they are really good, but need to validate that and establish whether they are so good people prefer to use them. We can find that out by giving people the chance to build services on top of our APIs.

“So we’re going to run a competition, launching now, to award prizes for the services built on top of our APIs which deliver the most social good, that support collaboration and which are most market ready. That will enable us to understand how good our APIs are and what we can do with them.

“We’ve built APIs that have genuine utility and business benefit, but are there new types of services we could provide to our citizens that we just can’t imagine? We want to know how we can unlock that creativity in our borough and beyond.”

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