News article

Posted by Stuart Lauchlan PM | on Wed, 20/02/2013 - 14:28  1981

Open Data's potential remains closed to public sector staff


Distinct lack of knowledge on Open Data and government’s agenda are holding back the potential to create new jobs, reduce expenditure and improve public services.
That’s according to new research carried out by public sector research company Dods on behalf of code list provider Listpoint. 
The study concludes that : 
  • Great differences exist between central and local government’s application, use and understanding of Open Data
  • Public servants lack understand about how their individual roles deliver on the Open Data agenda
  • Experts recognise that private sector access to data standards and government datasets is essential for new jobs and better services
  • But a large proportion of public servants do not see making data and data standards available to the private sector as a priority.
Overall, 57% of respondents said that they know what helpful data sets are available within their own organisation, but 75% do not know what helpful datasets are available elsewhere.
An overwhelming 72% agree that it is going to become increasingly important over the next three years for civil servants to know how to access, share and use data to develop new policies and improve service delivery.
“Better skills, training and communication across government will undoubtedly make a big  difference to creating new digital economy jobs, and innovative products and services, all rooted in Open Data,” commented David Mitton, director at Listpoint.
“In this research, local and central government civil servants are saying they have not  enough basic understanding. They cannot easily access data and they do not recognise what  Open Data and data standards have to offer.  The great potential of open data – new jobs,  better services and lower cost IT implementation – will remain locked away unless those  running public life can properly access and understand Open Data and standards.”
Other conclusions from the research include: 
  • 78% do not know about government plans for Open Data and the benefits that follow
  • Only 52% recognised that ready access to data and data standards will generate new enterprises, jobs and services in the public and private sectors
  • 57% do not know how to access data sets, how to interpret them or how to best apply data standards
  • 66% said they did not understand their role in delivering the Open Data agenda.
  • Some 42% of public servants say they do not work on the policy directly, but are users of data
  • 45 % do not know what their role is, or do not think they play any part in delivering the Open Data agenda
  • 21% within Local Government say they work on the policy directly, double that of Central Government (10%)
  • 40% of public servants regularly use government datasets to help inform and drive decisions within their departments - Central Government (37%)  Local Government (46%), Health (38%).