ATTENDED BY:        Hugo Russell                     (Innovation Birmingham)

Pauline Roche – Chair         (RnR Organisation)

Raj Mack                          (Digital Birmingham)

Ted Ryan                         (RnR Organisation)

Jason Davies                    (WM Fire Service)

Paul Beckley                     (Centro)

Stuart Lester                     (WMITA)

Nathan Coyle                    (Our New Union)

Darren Wright                   (Inside Outcomes)

Andrew Mackenzie             (Open Mercia) a. 5.00

Alex Hogan                       (Etic Lab) a. 5.00

Chris Price – Secretary        (digiconsultancy)


Paul Burrow                      (Wolverhampton University)

Stuart Harrison                  (ODI)

Bethan Bishop                   (Heart of England F’n Trust)

  1. The NOTES of the meeting of 09/03/2016 were agreed. The actions are covered in the items of this meeting.

ODI node and iCentrum/Serendip:  HR gave an update on events ‑ the ODI was speaking and holding a workshop at Venturefest ( on 23rd June.  On 5th July there was an event on Future Highways, led by Teresa Jolley.  Further places will be available on the ODI HQ ‘Train the Trainer’ 5-day intensive course for open data in August and October.

PR organised an event May 18th hosted by the node where the regional charitable funders network, Charitable Trusts West Midlands, got together with the data organisation 360Giving that aims to bring together the data of public and private grants to make UK grant-making more informed, effective and strategic – currently there are 19 funders on the database. There was a commitment from the funders and 360 Giving to further action from the event.

AM described the national action plan of the Open Government Partnership, in particular the release of open data and use of open contracting for the HS2 project.  The ODI will be one of the monitoring partners.

HR stated that the current partners in Serendip/iCentrum were Centro, RWE npower, WM Academic Health Science Network and Barclays Bank.

RM remarked that Barclays were now the Birmingham City Council bankers and were in discussion over the release of data as part of their interest in data intelligence.

Open Data Commission:  TR reported on the success of the Open Data Commission sprint on Apr 11th and that the document, in a rough draft form, was now about 15 pages.  The aim was to release a draft for further development/discussion in mid-June.  The Commission had interest from both the Leader and Chief Executive of BCC. It was noted with interest that there was now a BCC cabinet member for Transparency, Openness and Equalities – Cllr Waseem Zaffar – who would be looking at opening the council up, in particular via digital technology.

The BCC Strategic Director Resources had the role of co‑ordinating the data agenda.  Another key person was Andy Fullard, a data architect employed by BCC to review and establish ICT strategy within the Future Council programme.  The schedule includes an initial strategy which has already been agreed; a plan to be prepared by the end of July and outward-facing documentation would be available in September – the remit included items such as the redesign of the City website.

There was a discussion about the need to turn citizen‑centric approaches into reality by timely and effective engagement/consultation.  DW asked whether this strategy covered the digital supply chain and RM responded that it was recognised that the Council needed to change its approach to gain the benefits of the input of innovative SMEs.

West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA):  PB reported that the investiture had been moved to 10th June but co‑ordination was already underway.  PR asked what the implications were for open data?  PB said new groups were being formed and RM added that eg a Smart City regional group was envisaged but it would take time for existing groups to morph into new cross‑authority leads.  RM said a proposal had already been sent to Martin Reeves. Accenture is advising; the WM Police are actively seeking digital solutions. The role of WMODF was being included in policy papers. PR remarked that the developing practice at WMODF was to create draft open documents to which people could add their thoughts before any proposals were finalised and it would be good if that practice could be used when including WMODF in future proposals. JD also suggested adopting some data standards.


JD outlined his experience in overcoming the barriers to open data release within his organisation, the West Midlands Fire Service.  There were positive attitudes at senior level but little data was being published. JD had produced a 1‑page business case/benefit statement relating to the release of incident data which was reasonably easy to aggregate and whose benefit outweighed the risk of release, in his opinion. Following the statement, data has now been published for a couple of years and as yet there had been not much activity. JD noted there had been an unexpected benefit of publication – some internal staff became aware of the data that existed.

The hope was that, from a small start, other organisations would follow and open data would gather momentum.  PB reflected that he had experienced a similar process in Centro; he emphasised and others agreed that it is the attitude of the people inside the organisation that is key.

JD also mentioned he was the convenor of the community regional analysts’ partnership.  The meetings were open and infrequent; the next one is planned for June.

AM felt that there would be interest in data from blue light services, eg from insurance companies.  SL pondered the links between fire incidents and council data on fly‑tipping.  JD said there was pressure to collaborate between the fire and police services.  A need was expressed for a standard for all local authorities

RM mentioned the role of the Cities Standards Institute, a collaboration between Future Cities Catapult and the British Standards Institute.  Local Authorities were members of this to try to establish agreed standards.  There was an EU directive on data.  Estonia was mentioned as a leading country in Europe where access to broadband was a citizens’ right which was helping to drive change.

Action:  JD agreed to share his one‑page business argument for open data. [UPDATE: This has now been circulated as a Google doc and amended to a useful generic document]


RM introduced the need for the creation of Open Data guides across Europe as part of the Share‑PSI project.  Our local guide needs to be submitted by the end of May and it should try to link to best practice guides already written.  The guide would be published on the Share‑PSI site as well as locally by BCC and WMODF.

There already was a draft guide, mainly created by SL.  This was now open for anyone to contribute and it was agreed that this should be done by Wednesday next week (May 25th).  It was felt that case studies would make excellent content.  NC and JD offered to send examples.  CP to research TfL examples.

Action:  CP to distribute URL of local guide and top 10 tips for contribution by all members.

Action:  NC and JD to send case study examples to SL and CP.  CP to research TfL example.

Action:  SL to try to produce final draft by end of month.  RM to review and submit final document to Share‑PSI project.


SL had taken up a new role at the Integrated Transport Authority with initial tasks of renegotiating contracts for traffic data, and writing a transparency strategy.

TR reported the mention of transparency in transport data in the recent Queen’s speech.

NC was working with DCLG to create a digital tool Databrew for neighbourhood planning which allows community groups to collect and collate data and hold consultations. He is also creating a Smart Region around Dudley.

RM restated his commitment to WMODF and requested to be kept in the loop.

PB stated that now that SL was with WMITA, they would share attendance at WMODF. He said there was lots of activity around the CA and opportunities to develop and support good practice around open data.

PR reflected that the third Open Data Camp at Bristol was positive with 93 attendees (see for blogs).  There were underlying concerns – the camp was full of ‘niceness’ but there was a demise in open data user groups and therefore even more need to make things happen.

DW was working on health and wellbeing data to inform CCG, based on data of the needs of clients.


Wednesday 13th July, key speaker Andy Fullard, BCC (BB and health data as reserve).



  • New members, especially from under-represented groups and parts of the region are welcome to join WMODF – please notify the Chair and/or the Secretary if you are inviting a new member

 Agenda items:

  • please notify the Secretary at least 2 weeks before the meeting if you would like to add an item
  • if you have a lot to report at the meeting, please submit a 1-page summary to the Secretary which can be circulated with the minutes and agenda before the meeting



~ A G E N D A ~

16.45    1)     Introductions, notes and matters arising of meeting 09/03/2016 (notes attached)

16.55     2)     Updates on key issues

  • ODI node and iCentrum/Serendip HR
  • Open Data Commission           PR/TR
  • WMCA developments           PB 

17.10    3)     Myth busting                                                JD

17.45    4)     Local Guide – Share PSI (draft to be circulated before meeting) RM

18.00    5)     Members’ brief updates (round robin of items not on agenda)

18.10  6)     AOB and next meetings


%d bloggers like this: