NOTES OF WEST MIDLANDS OPEN DATA FORUM STEERING GROUP
WEDNESDAY, 20th JANUARY 2016, INNOVATION BIRMINGHAM
Attended by: Pauline Roche – Chair (RnR Organisation)
Jason Davies (WM Fire Service)
Hugo Russell (Innovation Birmingham)
Stuart Lester (Digital Birmingham)
Ted Ryan (RnR Organisation)
Bethan Bishop (Heart of England NHS Trust)
Paul Beckley (Centro)
Glyn Timpson (Centro)
Ravi Kumar (Black Country Consortium)
Chris Price – Secretary (digiconsultancy)
Apologies: Andy Reeve (Impact Hub)
Susannah Goh (BCU)
Andrew Mackenzie (Open Mercia)
Heike Schuster‑James (BCC)
Gavin Broughton (Data Analyst)
- The Notes of the last meeting of 18/11/2015 were agreed as a reasonable record. Glyn Timpson, development manager at Centro, was introduced to the group. Ravi Kumar from the Black Country Authorities was also welcomed. JD mentioned Smart Devolution the smart city document he had circulated (published by the Policy Exchange) which emphasised the importance of data to devolution to cities.
- Key issues update
HR reminded the meeting of the role of the Open Data Institute established by Nigel Shadbolt and Tim Berners‑Lee to promote the use of Open Data. Following a franchise model, a Birmingham ODI node will be launched on 10th February at a meeting of the Birmingham Smart City Alliance. Based in and underwritten by Innovation Birmingham, the node is intended to explore the applications of open data beyond cities through projects and training.
HR mentioned that there was one place available for the 2 Node places on the next ODI HQ ‘Train the trainers’ course in London Feb 15-19 (half term in Birmingham) which he will be mentioning at Tech Wednesday. Andrew Mackenzie and James Cattell had already done the course and James is now a registered trainer; Pauline Roche was already nominated for the course. JD (and AR to PR) both expressed an interest but doing it in half term was a problem.
Action: All to contact HR by Friday 22nd if they wish to nominate someone for the course.
HR also mentioned that ODI Birmingham membership was open to organisations which could be nominated by the ODI node. There was a discussion about whether the node currently named ODI Birmingham should be renamed West Midlands. The constitution of the node should allow extension of the geographical spread. Recent developments in EU rules and the importance of Open Data analytics to new city arrangements such as the West Midlands Combined Authority argued for a wider scope. Although the mood of the meeting supported a wider name, in the absence of any requests yet for inclusion from other West Midlands organisations, no change was recommended.
Action: All to spread the word about the ODI node and encourage expressions of interest by other West Midlands organisations and public authorities.
Open Data Commission
TR reminded the meeting of the proposal by RnR to operate an Open Data Commission to increase the knowledge of local Open Data activity, organisation and good practice. He distributed copies of the proposal, including a diagram of the West Midlands Open Data ecosystem, which would be published on the website.
Action: PR to publish Open Data Commission document on WMODF website.
The commission report would also examine governance issues and aims to identify 10 top open data tips for organisations. Members agreed to help TR by identifying key individuals to be contacted.
SL mentioned that the Share‑PSI European project had already published 16 points of best open data practice. There was also an opportunity for WMODF members to represent Birmingham at the next meeting of the project in Amsterdam.
Action: SL to circulate Share‑PSI references and ALL to contact SL if wishing to attend next SHARE-PSI meeting.
BB supported the work of the commission and welcomed the sharing of experiences. One of the values of WMODF was the opportunity to use other organisations’ successes/learning to promote discussion in your own agency.
JD mentioned that his success in raising the profile of data in WM Fire Service was based on a short business case that he prepared. Other regional fire services had requested copies to consider for their own organisations. Maybe there could be a case study focussed on ‘How do you persuade your organisation to release open data without the world falling apart?’.
WM Combined Authority
PB stated that Centro was now the first part of WMCA with James Aspinall as MD. Although open data was not a high priority issue at present, the ongoing integration would support bringing agencies together. They are currently conducting stakeholder mapping exercises. However, there would still be complex issues regarding split responsibilities between WMCA, local authorities and, in future, the Mayor. The best route to WMCA for WMODF was through the Centro representatives.
It was noted that various local authority officers with open data responsibilities leaving their authorities could mean a loss of momentum
- WMODF Aims/Activities
There was a broad and lively discussion from which the following points arose:
- WMODF could hold themed, awareness‑raising events.
- The six ‘zones’ of iCentrum could offer x‑sector perspectives.
- JD offered the contact details of a colleague in the Environmental Agency who was interested in open data.
- There were already relevant upcoming events such as Local Gov Camp on 3‑4 June in Birmingham and Birmingham is in the running for Open Data Camp 4, provisionally in October.
- A good way to promote open data was to identify and circulate positive stories.
- There were developments such as release of data by National Traveline and data arising from projects such as the Eastside developments.
- In the Black Country there was work underway mapping data activities. The attendance of RK at the meeting provides a wider base for WMODF. He agreed to circulate details around the Black Country Authorities.
- BB referred to the wide range of non‑personal health data. We need some successes to create momentum which could connect to the development of WMCA. PB offered to contact people in the Black Country through the role of Centro in WMCA but he needed to know the contacts.
- Provision of data from commercial agencies would be welcomed but in the business world would it be open (i.e. free)? BB suggested that there could be a swap of value, for example release to commerce of health data in exchange for theirs.
- Events such as unconferences and hackathons had their role but there was concern over continuing development/benefits. PB mentioned Centro’s experience of lack of long‑term outcomes from their development day. There was concern that at present there appear to be solutions looking for problems rather than the required vice versa. Also there was no ongoing support following these events; however, the iCentrum partnerships may provide a mechanism.
- There seemed to be an assumption that developing apps was the way forward but was there a market, eg in health?
- There was support for adding a slot to future agendas to allow more detailed exploration of themed areas, eg health, transport, blue light.
- Review of Targets and Follow‑Up
The discussion had been wide‑ranging and positive. The broad consensus was that identifying the wider interest in WMODF, starting to gather information through the Open Data Commission and building on the initiatives of iCentrum and the ODI node would enable WMODF better to identify what would drive wider understanding, engagement and activity.It was also agreed that WMODF could have associate and corresponding members
- The next meetings were agreed to be Wed 9thMarch and Wed 18th 2 members agreed to prepare a short input for discussion on their specific area as follows:
- Mar 9th: Open Data mythbusting – Jason Davies
- May 18th: Open data in Health – Bethan Bishop
It was agreed to continue with the current time (16.45‑18.15) and location (Innovation Birmingham) until different arrangements were required.
WEST MIDLANDS OPEN DATA FORUM STEERING GROUP
MEETING WEDNESDAY 20TH JANUARY 2015, 16.45‑18.15
INNOVATION BIRMINGHAM, FARADAY WHARF
~ A G E N D A ~
16.45 1) Introductions, notes and matters arising of meeting 18/11/2015
16.55 2) Updates on key issues
- ODI node HR
- Open Data Commission PR/TR
- WM Combined Authority PB
17.10 3) Members’ brief updates (round robin of items not on agenda)
17.25 4) WMODF aims/activities for 2016
- Meetings and linked topics
- Links to ODI node and iCentrum opening
18.00 5) Review of targets and membership
18.10 6) AOB and next meetings