WEDNESDAY 19TH JULY 2017, 16.45-18.15 


~ A G E N D A ~

16.45     1)     Apologies, notes and matters arising from meeting 17/05/2017

16.55      2)     Updates on key issues

  • West Midlands Mayor PR
  • ODI node                                HR
  • Open data and social care PR
  • Open Data events PR
  • Web site stats DW/CP
  • Digital Cities Birmingham PR

17.30      3)      BCC Open Data platform                                         PR

18.00     4)     Members’ brief updates (round robin of items and events not on agenda)

18.10     5)     AOB and dates of next meetings



WEDNESDAY, 19th JULY, 2017 

ATTENDED BY:         Pauline Roche – Chair              (RnR Organisation)

Raj Mack                                (BCC, Digital Birmingham)

Ted Ryan                               (RnR Organisation)

Hugo Russell                           (Innovation Birmingham)

Teresa Jolley                          (DEFT 153 Ltd)

Si Chun Lam                           (Coventry City Council)

Susannah Goh                         (BCU)

Stuart Lester                           (TfWM)

Chris Price – Secretary             (digiconsultancy)

APOLOGIES:             Andy Reeve                            (Impact Hub)

Bethan Bishop                         (Aliciyo)

Glyn Simpson                          (WMCA)

Heather Clarke                        (Wolverhampton City Council)

Heike Schuster‑James              (BCU)

James Cattell                          (Defra)

Jason Davies                          (WM Fire Service)

  1. The NOTES of the last meeting of 17thMay 2017 were agreed.

West Midlands Mayor:  Although WMODF had not heard back from Andy Street, RM reported that at a recent meeting on digital infrastructure, Andy Street had shown interest in Open Data.

RM had been asked to map groups across the West Midlands who were addressing the digital agenda.  The steering group agreed to assist Raj by collecting such information on a shared spreadsheet.

Actions:   CP to circulate quickly a Google sheet for members to use as the first step in generating a mapping.

PR to make contact again with Andy Street’s office after the summer break (Andrew Browning).

ODI node and future events:  HR reported that the Birmingham ODI steering group was being reformed and a relaunch would happen in September, starting with a presentation to TechWed on 20th September, then the Hack the Midlands event on 23rd/24th September (led by Tom Goodman), and also Innovation with Data event on 29th September including lunchtime streaming to the ODI network.  The ODI Friday lecture will be screened in Serendip every Friday thereafter.  SL mentioned that on 18th September there will be a Mapbox event including input from OpenStreetMap.  RM mentioned an event planned for September to be held in Birmingham by the British Standards Institute and the Future Cities Catapult with a focus on Smart Cities and the associated Publicly Available Standards (PAS 183/184).

Open Data and Social Care:  Carried forward to next meeting.

Open Data Events:  A mental health hackathon sponsored by the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network was run by PR and TR of RnR on 29th June; A Data Sharing & public benefit workshop, organised was held at West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) on July 10th, attended by Pauline; Hack the Midlands is on Sept 23rd-24th

Website:  Since the last meeting there had been 267 views, with a weekly maximum of 105 and a minimum of 10.  Steering Group members were responding to the request to update their details on the website.  The subject of associated organisations would be raised at the next meeting.

Digital Cities Birmingham events were held in Birmingham June 12th – 18th with a range of partners which included the BBC.  At the launch event, attended by PR, WM Mayor Andy Street had said after his experience of turning John Lewis from ‘bricks to clicks’, he’d like to do the same in the Midlands.


RM had invited WMODF to be part of a meeting with Service Birmingham to discuss the potential of Socrata as a platform for City Council data.  Currently BCC had a managed service contract with CKAN which was due for its annual renewal.  PR shared copies of an analysis of competing products with opinions which she had collected and collated.  A revised version will be circulated separately.  A driving force for the platform was the 3‑year Big Data Corridor project which should, on its completion, leave some useful components for future development.

Action:  PR to distribute the product analysis after revision.

In discussion there was general support for a collaborative platform which could be used by agencies in locations across the West Midlands.  This was an opportunity for the new Mayor such that common solutions were identified under his aegis (currently transport and economics), thereby avoiding some of the historical rivalries.  Such a data platform should be fed through APIs from existing systems and offer a single API for access.  There was a wide range of expertise in WMODF which could assist the approach if Andy Street so wished.  However, at present the Combined Authority does not have an information strategy.


TJ was facilitating space in iCentrum for co‑operation, funded by TfWM among others.  She was still linked with DfT over issues of standards.

RM said that the Big Data Corridor was focussed on the topics of Mobility and Health.  Currently there were 288 data sets on the Birmingham platform and the license has just been renewed.

SL made a short presentation about the procurement of a transport data solution for TfWM.  They had lots of operational data to make use of such as Road Traffic Accidents, Congestion, and Surveys.  The procurement process has 3 stages – firstly, primary and secondary data collection and secondly, data platform and data manipulation (includes on‑demand consultancy).  These two specifications will be published in mid‑August.  The final stage focusses on modelling and will take around a further 12 months.   For stages 1 and 2 the return of bids will be in one month and, after about a week’s evaluation, the contract should be awarded by the end of November.

Action:  SL to share presentation with the Steering Group and will release for publication after mid‑August.

Again, discussion focussed on the opportunity to share and use aspects of the procurement process and the eventual platform solution.  SL responded that there was a long history (from ’89) of co‑operation between the transport authorities: a good example of how a regional focus (and funding) can override local distrust.  Also, the use of common APIs reduces the form‑filling demand on authorities/providers.

PR announced that the next Open Data Camp will be on 21st/22nd October in Queen’s University, Belfast.

SCL offered to present Coventry’s work on modelling and comparing performance across geographical areas.

Action:  CP to allocate 30‑40 minutes at the next meeting.

  1. NEXT MEETINGS are to be held on 20thSeptember and 15th

Action:  CP to write to HR to request rooms in Innovation Birmingham.


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