Open data for public services: why is it important?
We all rely on public services, from bin collections and road maintenance, to schools and libraries. Local governments provide essential citizen services but are often swamped by demand in an environment of increasing populations, budget cuts and limited resources.
Opening data can streamline processes, provide information to citizens, and make data available to innovators and service providers.
We’ve developed various tools and outputs for councils to use and gain insights from.
- Data and Public Services Toolkit
- Learning personas
- Report: open data for public services
- Local government initiatives
This toolkit will help people designing and delivering public services use data more effectively to improve their work. View the Data and Public Services Toolkit.
We are using 'learning personas' to help explore how the ODI and other organisations and communities can help people learn to work with open data in public services. Find out more about service delivery learning personas here.
This paper explores how open data can be used in public service delivery and its potential for collaboration, joint problem-solving and open innovation. Read our report: Using open data for public services.
This project awarded funding to four forward-thinking local government organisations to develop open data projects which explore how data could be used to improve public services – making them more efficient, innovative and citizen-focused. Read about the local government initiatives here.
Background and funding
This work is part of a three-year innovation programme, running to March 2020 with a funding profile of £2m each year from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.
Through our R&D programme, we aim to shape future services and promote productivity and growth with cutting edge expertise.
As part of the project, we awarded funding to four forward-thinking local government organisations to develop open data projects which explore how data could be used to improve public services.
- Working with Kent County Council, the Kent Energy Efficiency Partnership is working to reduce the number of people at risk of fuel poverty.
- Doncaster Council and UsCreates explored the careers information, advice and guidance service for young people across the borough.
- The London Borough of Waltham Forest, the Audience Agency and Technology Box explored how data can be used to increase and widen engagement in arts and culture.
- North Lanarkshire Council, Snook and UrbanTide has an ‘open by default’ data policy for non-sensitive data, and applied this open approach to its business rate data.
As part of the project, we are researching current best practice, developing learning tools with public sector partners, and awarding funding to forward-thinking organisations to develop exploratory showcase open data projects. It aims to increase the use of open data as part of public service redesign.