Attended by: Don Dhaliwal (BCU)
Teresa Jolley (Data Journalist)
Heike Schuster‑James (Digital Birmingham)
Susannah Goh (B’ham Science City)
Chris Price (digiconsultancy Ltd)
Andrew Mackenzie (Open Mercia) – Chair
Simon Whitehouse (Data Unlocked)
Bethan Bishop (Heart of England NHS Trust)
Apologies: Ardavan Amini (BCU)
Hugo Russell (Innovation Birmingham)

1)     Notes of the last meeting of 11th February agreed.

2)     AM clarified the roles of 1. Open Mercia – a campaigning practicioner group with links to the Open Knowledge Foundation and 2. WMODF – a group bringing together data holders and potential users interested in sharing and negotiating the release of open data.

3)     Charlotte Alldritt from RSA is promoting the City Growth Commission.  She is interested in visiting to find out what’s happening in the West Midlands and in particular in transport data.  WMODF felt that there might be a wide agenda bringing together activities of Birmingham Smart City, transport projects in the Black Country and linking to events such as the BCU Big Data event and the Science Capital conference on 6th May.  It was agreed that TJ would talk to Charlotte to explore the most useful focus for a visit.

4)     Updates

CKAN – SW described populating the developmental version at Open Data day.  The community had loaded 59 data sets – see  Further improvements were being made with a principal of loading open data available across the West Midlands.  Will Perrin had offered a link to Arts Council Grant data.  The development will be kept under review.

CKAN – the BCC implementation was still delayed awaiting response from Service Birmingham.  HS‑J to consider escalation.

The 50 data sets identified by BCC had been available at the Open Data day.  AM had shared with participants as a Google doc to encourage comment and prioritisation.

Expert Members – AM outlined the concept of establishing expert members of the group.  Their role would be to extend the knowledge of the steering group on topics of relevance to their expertise.  Bethan Bishop (Heart of England NHS Trust) and Hugo Russell (Innovation Birmingham) had accepted this role.  Hugo had sent his apologies; Bethan was welcomed to the group and outlined her role in the trust on data and engagement, the creation of digital health solutions and her role as Chair of the Innovative Health Working Group.

Transport Data – TJ reported on her links with Pupul Chatterjee (currently in India but runs Brum transport website).  Their aim is to create a sustainable online journalism model to influence effective delivery of transport and co‑ordination with local authorities who need to communicate better.  The approach will focus on asset management.

There was a query about access to Birmingham data sets held by Amey – HS‑J agreed to investigate.

Future Meeting, April – Education – SW to lead with topic focus of education and skills.

Data Producers – CP requested ideas about which data producers in the West Midlands area should be approached first.  It was agreed he would undertake some investigation and report back to a future meeting.

5)     Any Other Business

SW alerted the group to the open data challenge this coming weekend.

AM led a brief discussion re refreshing website and using Twitter actively.  It was agreed TJ (with Pupul Chatterjee) would take on the Twitter account (CP to transfer access).  All to promote through cross posting.  AM had added 4 blog posts and it was agreed that CP would extend access to the WordPress site to group members.

6)     Next Meeting – to be held on 8th April.  BCU to be requested to host.  New starting time to be 16:00 in an attempt to avoid rush hour, ie 2‑part meeting: 16:00‑16:45 business; 16:45‑18:00 topic based.


SG introduced the topic and BB outlined the NHS focus on health inequalities.  There was much data available used to monitor and measure NHS units; the issue was linking data between sources.

There were many NHS data projects, usually professionally led.  Healthy Villages (covering Castle Vale, Shard End, Balsall Heath) was intended to be end‑user led (Sam German is the project lead).

BB reported that there was increasing interest in NHS about data and digital issues.  How could WMODF link to this and engage with the individuals and projects – BB was a great contact as she was also involved with the Health Sector Network.  BB to approach health networks re their views on working with WMODF. The Academic Health Science Network was mentioned as very relevant for WMODF.

SG also alerted the group to the Institute of Digital Health at Warwick University which supported the West Midlands Health Informatics Network.  Also UHB (contact David Taylor) were bringing data together in order to market it (as an alternative to Dr Foster).  There was much interest in moving research into practice (translational medicine) but there was considerable variability in timescales; some research outcomes can have immediate impact, others can take over 10 years.

It was agreed that this was a good start to the health data debate but that there was much more to consider and more people to engage.  SG to review and propose next steps.


Who By When
Explore with Charlotte Alldritt the most useful focus for her visit TJ 8/4
Continue loading of available open data onto CKAN SW Ongoing
Consider escalation of BCC implementation of CKAN HS‑J 8/4
Progress publication of 50 data sets identified by BCC HS‑J 8/4
Investigate access to Birmingham data sets held by Amey HS‑J 8/4
Investigate which data producers to be approached first CP 8/4
Promote active use of Twitter account All 8/4
Extend access for publication to WordPress website CP 16/3
Approach Health Sector Network re their views on contact with WMODF BB 8/4
Review health data debate SG 8/4
Prepare topic discussion – Education and Skills SW 8/4
Transfer/provide access to Twitter account to TJ CP 16/3

Download February meeting minutes  Notes of WMODF, 11-02-2014_ rev

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