OpenActive Data Standards and Technical Lead

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The Open Data Institute is looking for a passionate Data Standards and Technical Lead to help deliver an exciting new programme of work.

OpenActive Data Standards and Technical Lead

Location: Shoreditch, London

Salary: Up to £70,000 per annum, dependent on experience, plus pension and benefits

1 year fixed-term contract with the possibility to extend

The Open Data Institute is looking for a passionate Data Standards and Technical Lead to help deliver an exciting new programme of work.

About the ODI

The Open Data Institute (ODI) was co-founded by two visionary leaders: Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the web, and Sir Nigel Shadbolt, renowned AI professor. Our mission is to build a strong, fair and sustainable data economy, by helping businesses and governments get data to people who need it. We help our partners to inform decisions, drive efficiencies and create opportunities using data.

The ODI works with governments, NGOs and commercial enterprises all over the world. We deliver advisory, training and research and development services, encompassing public policy, business strategy and technology. Our programme of work is busy and constantly changing. We are committed to producing work at a very high standard and delivering measurable value to our partners and clients.

In partnership with Sport England, the ODI is stewarding the OpenActive initiative which has begun to challenge inactivity in England and change this for the better. We have brought together a fragmented sector, to agree on common standards and to openly publish opportunity data. This programme, the ODI’s largest sector programme, is delivering the joint vision of Sport England and the Open Data Institute: to get people active using data.

About the role

We are seeking a Data Standards and Technical Lead to lead the development of the OpenActive data infrastructure, and who cares about the mission and goals of OpenActive and the ODI. This is an exciting opportunity to help create the technical standards and tools that will support the open data ecosystem that we are developing in the OpenActive initiative. We are working in the open to create open standards, support the creation of open source tools and drive the publication and use of open data.

As the Data Standards and Technical Lead you will be taking a hands-on role to build on our initial work on standards and tools, to drive adoption and expand the standards to cover new areas based on user needs.

We are looking for someone with experience of developing open standards for data. We are building on existing standards including JSON-LD, SKOS and, so experience with these technologies would be beneficial. We need someone who is comfortable working with both technical and non-technical audiences to gather requirements and turn them into well-designed, implementable specifications.

We are also looking for someone who can help support and mentor developers across the physical activity sector. To help them adopt the standards and to encourage them to build and develop additional open source tools that will improve the ecosystem. While OpenActive isn’t maintaining a platform, experience in a developer relations type role or supporting a public API would be beneficial.

Key responsibilities

  • Translating the needs of the OpenActive community into technical requirements, and managing updates to existing specifications or creating new specifications in line with our governance processes
  • Coordinating the OpenActive W3C group
  • Collaborating with the community to create and maintain guidance and/or tooling to help people implement the OpenActive specifications
  • Improving and reviewing our processes for accepting, reviewing and acting on feedback to our standards and tools
  • Empowering members of the OpenActive community to take on greater ownership of the data infrastructure, and helping them to champion data quality
  • Mentoring members of the OpenActive community to help develop technical leadership in the sport and physical activity sector, and to encourage openness
  • Supporting the community to improve the feedback loops between data users and data publishers
  • Facilitating workshops and meetups to upskill members of the community and to gather their feedback
  • Work with the ODI’s Data Infrastructure Lead to develop a roadmap for the OpenActive data infrastructure, which can be communicated externally

About you – skills, knowledge and experience


  • Experience of creating open standards and fostering open collaboration, translating the needs of the community into technical requirements
  • Experience of maintaining clear technical documentation
  • Experience of working in Node.js / JavaScript and Ruby, and the ability to write and maintain a test framework and/or a test suite
  • Familiarity with open data, JSON-LD,, SKOS and similar standards
  • Experience of designing, building and/or using open web based APIs
  • A confident communicator whose written and verbal skills can easily be adapted to suit the needs of colleagues and clients
  • Experience working and leading across multiple projects simultaneously and a good understanding of project planning processes. You will be comfortable using tools like Trello or Airtable to keep track of priorities and communicate progress


  • Experience of community building and/or digital projects
  • Experience in developer relations or supporting technical users
  • Experience of working in the public sector and/or with SMEs and start-ups
  • You enjoy collaborative working, flexible structures and an open office environment.

If you do not have all of these skills, knowledge and experience but you think that this is the right role for you then do apply.

ODI values


You are good at what you do. You use your expertise to help with ODI’s mission. You are open and generous with that expertise and experience, and share it outside and inside ODI.

You can get better at what you do. You recognise the limits of your expertise and respect that of others. You are open to and seek advice, opinions and support to develop your expertise, within and outside ODI. You reflect on what works and what doesn’t to consciously learn, improve and grow.


You succeed when others flourish. You support and challenge others to do their best work. You open up opportunities for other people and organisations, and empower them to take them. You are as open as possible about what you are doing and what you have learnt. You encourage others to refine and build on your work.

You empathise with others so you can help them. You find out what people and organisations really need. You have empathy with their motivations and the constraints they operate under. You communicate in terms they understand.


You are trusted because you are honest and responsible. You are open with your opinion, open to hearing what others say, open to being wrong and open to changing your mind. You are not afraid to speak your mind when it is useful or important, and take responsibility for the results of doing so. You actively and curiously listen to others, and take responsibility for your responses to them.

You can do more than you might think. You are bold, creative and open to failure. You know what you do won’t be perfect at first but that doesn’t stop you. You start small and quickly and iterate to improve.


  • 5% contributory pension
  • 30 days’ annual holiday
  • Life Assurance cover
  • Long-term disability cover
  • Critical illness cover
  • Flexible working
  • Coaching and mentoring for skills and personal development
  • £750 annual training budget toward your own professional development

How to apply

To apply please send your CV and a cover letter explaining why you would be a suitable candidate to [email protected].