NOTES OF WEST MIDLANDS OPEN DATA FORUM, 11TH FEBRUARY 2014

Attended by: Simon Whitehouse (Data Unlocked)
  Andrew McKenzie (Open Mercia) ‑ Chair
  Susannah Goh (Birmingham Science City)
  Chris Price (digiconsultancy)
  Dan Thompson (D4 Software)
  Teresa Jolley (Data Journalist)
  Heike Schuster‑James (Digital Birmingham)
 
Apologies: Ardavan Amini (BCU)
 
 
1. Notes of last meeting agreed.  Matters arising are on agenda.
 
 
2. In looking at roles, AM summarised the purpose of WMODF to be the place where people who hold data meet people who can use data and make an agreement for open data sharing.  This was an area not covered by other groups.
 
  The following roles and, therefore, lead responsibilities were agreed:
  SW
  • Co‑organising events focused on open data issues, eg Brewcamp and Open Data Day 22/2
  SG
  • Linking WMODF to wider network of business clusters
 
  • Innovation enabler
  CP
  • Current Secretary
 
  • Link to BCC and other public bodies
  AM
  • Current Chair
 
  • Health data and link to Open Knowledge Foundation
  TJ
  • Transport data
  HS‑J
  • Networks to other cities – UK and Europe
 
  • Represents BCC as a data provider
  Other roles: Don Dhaliwal – events and industry links, Ardavan Amini – BCU support and technical, Gavin Broughton – Hack events
 
 
3. Themes: January was Transport Data, February is Procurement, March will be Health Data and April will be Education and Skills Data.  Potential future event – FoI Requests – considering both requester and responder viewpoints.
 
 
4. Funding: This is an incremental process.  BCU will host meeting and provide refreshments.  Digital Birmingham may support attendance at relevant events.  There may be funding bodies linked to data themes and sponsorship opportunities for specific events.
   
   
5. Updates:
  CKAN –      BCC has decided to go with CKAN and not Socrata because of the former’s basis of open source.  Negotiation is underway over rental rather than purchase.  As ever this awaits Service Birmingham’s view but approval in April is the aim.
    –      In February SW will set up an implementation of CKAN. Lessons from this experimental instance will be shared.
   
  BCC Data
Sets
–      There had been a meeting between SW, HS‑J and CP to review the list and its priorities.  AM had also shared an Open Mercia list of priorities for location data sets requested.  The aim is to publish this for ‘public’ feedback.  CP volunteered to tidy them up.-      The Forum welcomed the OGL licence applied to data published at http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/open-data
   
  FoI
Requests
–      The meeting was informed that an FOI request is the preferred method for data requests to BCC. It was agreed that when the priority data sets are agreed, a co‑ordinated action in FoI would be organised.  There was a need and opportunity for skills in FoI to be developed to reduce wasted effort at both ends of the activity. OS derived data can be an obstacle, but this may be circumvented through, for example, use of school numbers rather than address or text descriptions of entities which can then be added to Open Street Map.
   
  Transport
Data
–      TJ still progressing
   
  Health Data –      AM and SG progressing (cf next meeting)
   
  Members/
Contacts
–      The need to link to and represent the data community was repeated.  It was agreed that two new members who would enhance our expertise in health and innovation be invited to join the steering group.
   
   
6. Next
Meeting
11th March 2014, Room 203, BCU,
5:00‑5:45 for Steering Group and 6:00‑7:00pm for Health Data
 
 
Actions:

Who:

By:

Organise Health event linked to next WMODF meeting

AM with SG

11/3

Edit BCC ‘top 50’ data list and include Open Mercia list to enable consultation re priorities

CP

End Feb

Review permissions for website

CP

End Feb

  Data Issues
  Budget Consultation –      There was discussion about BCC’s budget consultation. Budget data has been released in PDF form rather than spreadsheets, despite BCC’s open data policy, which specifies CSV files should be made available as default.

–      It was agreed that publishing budget spreadsheets, prior to Council agreeing the budget, would contribute to an informed public debate.

–      It was agreed that the BCC open data policy document should be easily discoverable at the open data web page. http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/open-data    Procurement–      Pauline Geoghegan (@politicsinbrum), Dan Herbert (lecturer, B’ham University) and Don Dhaliwal (BCU) joined the meeting for presentation and discussions.

–      AM provided a briefing covering: principles of open contracting, some international examples of good procurement practice, UK spending transparency, Contracts Finder, G cloud procurement, corporate and SME IT providers, local government and health service processes.

–      There was a consensus that contracts and procurement are a factor in the work of the Forum, occurring in the work themes (transport, health) where there is SME involvement.

 Demonstration Dan Thompson showed the new version of QueryTree working with local authority supplier data.

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