ATTENDED BY:         Pauline Roche – Chair              (RnR Organisation)

Andy Mabbett                         (Freelance)

Glyn Simpson                          (TfWM)

Gordon Telling                        (TfWM)

Simon Whitehouse                   (Data Unlocked)

Darren Wright                         (Inside Outcomes)

Jason Davies                          (WM Fire Service)

Hugo Russell                           (Innovation Birmingham)

Peter Bishop                           (CIO, Birmingham City Council)

Ravi Kumar                            (Black Country Consortium)

Gavin Broughton                     (Housing Partners)

Ted Ryan                               (RnR Organisation)

Heike Schuster‑James              (BCU)

Chris Price – Secretary             (digiconsultancy)

Teresa Jolley                          (DEFT153)

Si Chun Lam                           (Coventry City Council)

APOLOGIES:             Andy Reeve                            (Impact Hub)

Bethan Bishop                         (Aliciyo)

James Cattell                          (Defra)

Raj Mack                                (BCC, Digital Birmingham)


Andy Mabbett, currently working on Wikidata, and Peter Bishop, CIO of Birmingham City Council, were welcomed to the meeting.  Gavin Broughton, now of Housing Partners, Worcester, was welcomed back.  Susannah Goh, previous Chair of WMODF, is leaving BCU, WMODF and Birmingham – the meeting recorded its thanks for her efforts and leadership.

It was noted that the portfolio of Councillor Brigid Jones, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, now includes ICT and digital and, therefore, Open Data.  PR has contacted her informally to arrange a meeting.  HR had put forward the Coventry Composite Liveability Measure (CCLM) for inclusion on the Smart City Alliance agenda; he would chase this.

Action:    HR to follow up CCLM as agenda item for the Alliance.

PR had spoken with Andy Street, Metro Mayor, at the Urban Tech Summit and been told that Nick Taylor in the Mayor’s office is the person to contact.

Action:    PR to email Nick Taylor about WMODF.

The notes of the meeting of 20th September were agreed.


Open Data and Health/Social Care:  continuing item.  A Big Data Corridor Project Partners event on ‘Data as an Asset Workshop for the Health and Social Care Sector’ is scheduled for 21st November in iCentrum – interested members were encouraged to enrol.

ODI node:  The ODI is celebrating its 5th anniversary on Monday, 27th November with an event in London – free train passes for London Midland were available from HR. TJ is to attend.

On 29th November TJ is attending an event on transport organised with ODI Leeds.

On 12th December Data Unlocked is working with the ODI node on a geo‑coding event focussed on the Land Registry release (Who owns Birmingham?).  Paul Bradshaw will be attending and it is hoped that some good ‘stories’ will emerge.

The ODI Friday lunchtime lectures are generally shown in iCentrum.

PR attended the 5th Open Data Camp in Belfast in October 21st -22nd and reiterated her hopes that in the future this will be hosted in Birmingham, depending on identifying a suitable venue. SW also attended.

PR and TR co-organised the 7th VCSSCamp unconference for Voluntary and Community Sector infrastructure organisations Oct 26th, hosted at iCentrum. DW also attended

PR organised the WM Funders Network annual conference Nov 9th  ‘Collaboration and its impact’ which featured Rachel Rank, CEO of the funders open data platform 360 Giving. HR and DW also attended

The WMCA’s Urban Tech Summit had been held at a chilly Custard Factory featuring Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and Andy Street.  Open data had been a big part of the Secretary of State’s speech.  PR also spoke to Andy Street and Theo Blackwell (London’s Chief Digital Officer) about WMODF.

SCL reported on developments around the West Midlands re physical activity and open data as part of WMCA’s physical strategy (  The launch was Thursday 16th in Coventry.  Further details will be circulated.

The Oxford Internet Institute was requesting information from local authorities re their data use for a report next year.  SCL had responded on behalf of Coventry and suggested WMODF might respond.

Action:    CP to send the link to the survey to Stuart Lester and Peter Bishop.

The WMODF website ( had received 79 accesses since the last meeting.

PR mentioned that RnR Organisation had been one of a cross-section of local authorities, charities, democracy activists, civil society, and community businesses interviewed for a report published, as part of a Power to Change initiative, Data for the community – taking a look at how data assets are being used at a local level [report available as a download]

Peter Bishop was invited to talk about his work in Birmingham City Council.  He is responsible for technology, digital and information management, including the Service Birmingham contract.  He has been in post for 6 months and a key responsibility was to negotiate the progressive return of control of IT to the Council from 2018‑2021.  He reflected on the difficulties Birmingham faced with ongoing saving targets but a need to boost links to citizens.  PR encouraged him to share more on Twitter (@peter_pbishop).

BCC’s ICT and Digital strategy had not changed from that to which WMODF had responded previously and had now reached the stage of implementation planning.  Peter’s aim is data à information à insight à better services but within an environment of Lotus Notes, many access databases and data quality issues, this was a challenge.  PB offered to share the plan when it was in place – this was welcomed.

Re the release of data, there were, of course, confidentiality issues, eg for information in Care First, and there was a need to create business cases.  The other key challenges were a change of culture in favour of sharing, to love and value data, staff understanding of the data they created/managed and a reticence in Birmingham to learn from other authorities’ experiences.  He wished to automate release of data eg through APIs, so that citizens could answer FoIs themselves.

The discussion focussed on open data platforms and how to share their usage/development.  PB proposed to address information management on a usage basis.

Actions:   PB to share the draft BCC Information Management Strategy for comment by WMODF.
CP to add PB to WMODF circulations and invitations.


Members were aware of the impending regulations that go beyond existing Data Protection Act requirements.  All organisations, especially those who wish to trade in Europe in future, have to meet the regulations.  Given the range of their activities, local authorities will have to examine their arrangements and how they will meet the requirements of evidence of consent, client access, rectification and erasure and breach reporting, with associated timescales.  The potential fines for non‑compliance are large. Each LA will have a Data Protection Officer. It’s a key priority for the WMCA Digital Board.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has released a document ‘Preparing for the GDPR – 12 Steps’ ( and they are holding an event in Innovation Birmingham on 13th December (

It was felt there was a danger that the regulation will reduce an organisation’s willingness to share data but there is a requirement to examine data and this can be used as a business case to identify data which is not personal and can be released.  GB was attending a 5‑day course on GDPR in January for his organisation and members offered to share the experiences of their businesses.

Action:    JD to examine what the Fire Service can share; SCL will do the same for Coventry; GB and DW will look to bring together experiences for a future discussion at WMODF.

DW agreed to write a basic page on GDPR for the WMODF website


The aim of BDC was to create an infrastructure to drive economic development in East Birmingham/Solihull for small businesses through big data.  Already there had been a positive take‑up of training by SMEs offered through BCU and Digital Birmingham.  PB is the sponsor of this ERDF‑funded project which continues to 2019. The BCC contact is Fiona Ollerenshaw.

SW wished to see contract data released as open.  HS‑J would see if the data assets and infrastructure that BCU was developing could be shared.  GS noted that TfWM is providing data to BDC and that it was starting the second phase development of APIs.

The potential proliferation of data platforms was mentioned and WMODF wished to see co‑operation and collaboration to share standards and platforms across the Combined Authority.

Action:    RK offered to raise the issue of data platform development with the WMCA Digital Board

Add Data Platforms to WMODF standing agenda items


GB mentioned he had been back in the WM area for a couple of months and was working on social housing.  PR referred him to Andy Reeve in the Impact Hub; GS used to work in the area of social housing.

TJ remarked that developments were continuing in transport traffic data and she would update the group at a later meeting.  There is an event at iCentrum on 29th November looking at changes to the buses Bill.

PR mentioned some upcoming events: Voyage of the Data Treader: Library Data Camp 2017, Liverpool, Nov 20th

Open Data Day 2018: Civic society and open data, Birmingham, Mar 2nd 2018

Action:    AM requested to be added to the circulation list ‑ CP to action.

  1. AOB

DW requested BCC to consider the open release of its cemetery data.

Next meetings: Wednesday, 17th January, followed by Wednesday, 21st March, 2018.



WEDNESDAY 15TH NOVEMBER 2017, 16.45-18.15 

~ A G E N D A ~

16.45     1)     Apologies, notes and matters arising from meeting 20/09/2017 (notes on web site)

16.55      2)     Updates on key issues/standing items

  • Open data and health/social care PR
  • ODI node                                    HR
  • Open Data events                      PR
  • Web site                                     DW/CP

17.15      3)      General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)          PR/All 

17.45      4)     Big Data Corridor                                                     PR/All 

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

18.10     6)     AOB and dates of next meetings


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