ATTENDED BY:         Pauline Roche – Chair              (RnR Organisation)

Ted Ryan                               (RnR Organisation)

Glyn Simpson                          (TfWM)

Geoff Simpson                        (Wolverhampton CC)

Ralph Smith                            (Birmingham CC, Public Health)

Laura Collings                         (Wolverhampton CC)

Hugo Russell                           (Innovation Birmingham)

Si Chun Lam                           (Coventry City Council)

Simon Whitehouse                   (Data Unlocked)

Chris Price – Secretary             (digiconsultancy)

Teresa Jolley                          (DEFT153, by phone conference – part of meeting)

Charlie McCay                         (Ramesys)

Harley Johnson                       (Ramesys)

APOLOGIES:             Andy Reeve                            (Impact Hub)

Bethan Bishop                         (Aliciyo)

Heike Schuster‑James              (BCU)

James Cattell                          (Defra)

Oliver Ford                             (Wolverhampton CC)

Raj Mack                                (BCC, Digital Birmingham)

Darren Wright                         (Inside Outcomes)

Gavin Broughton                     (Housing Partners)

Shaleen Meelu                        (Healthy Futures)

  1. The meeting started with a round of introductions:

Ralph Smith, guest speaker, Service Manager, Public Health Intelligence.Charlie McCay and Harley Johnson from Ramesys, which undertakes Health Care data modelling and had been introduced to the meeting by TJ. Laura Collings, Business Development Manager, Public Service Reform and was responsible for developing an Open Data Platform for Wolverhampton CC and for their Open Data Strategy.  Geoff Simpson, attending for Helena Kucharczyk, their Business Intelligence Manager and has the aim of establishing better evidence for the Council.

Notes of the previous meeting of 17/01/18 were agreed.

PR mentioned that an approach to Peter Bishop re hosting Open Data Camp in Birmingham was carried forward.

Action:    PR to contact Peter Bishop re facilities for Open Data Camp.


Thanks to Darren Wright, the WMODF website now has an ‘Events’ tab in the menu.  Members were encouraged to use this feature to share news.  As DW was unable to attend this meeting, it was decided to discuss this feature at the next meeting.  CP reported that there had been 557 hits on the website in the last 2 months.

The local event for global Open Data Day “Data Dig: Civil Society and Open Data expedition” had been postponed to 27th April; already 20 people had signed up.

On 27th March, Data Orchard in Hereford was hosting a ‘Building a data‑savvy social sector’ event which PR & TR would be attending.

A group of members met Nick Taylor from WMCA and notes of the meeting are available on request.  One of the outcomes was an updated statement on Open Data by WMCA and this is posted on the website.  Nick’s secondment was over and WMCA were recruiting a CIO; interviews were currently being held.  In the interim, Raj Mack had been identified as lead contact as he is a member of the Data and Digital Government task group of the WMCA Digital Board.  More information about the Board and its task groups would be useful and PR/CP would approach RM to seek access to papers, plans and meeting notes and to offer WMODF as a ‘critical friend’ on data issues.

Action:    PR/CP to contact Raj Mack re access to WMCA activities.

CP raised GDPR and the implications for WMODF.

Action:    Circulations will be blind copied; annually members would be invited to subscribe/unsubscribe and members could request contact details of other members; members’ open data views and actions would be openly published on the website e.g. as notes of meetings.

HR reported that the Birmingham ODI node was being relaunched and they were planning topic‑based workshops as well as building events around the ODI Friday lectures.  WMAHS Network was taking the lead for health, Barclays for financial innovation, TfWM for transport and the lead for Civil Society had not yet been identified.  The purchase of Innovation Birmingham by Bruntwood was expected to improve the links to other Science Park and Open Data projects. There may be a Hackathon, possibly with Barclays, but that would not be FinTech.

TR had pulled together the WMODF 2017 review/2018 plans workshop and the report had been circulated to members who were invited to comment and the item would be reviewed at the next meeting.  Changes were already underway: for example, greater visibility across the West Midlands; next meeting will be in Coventry; July meeting in Wolverhampton?

Actions:   CP to put on agenda.
All to comment on workshop proposals – to be put on website


Ralph Smith, from Birmingham City Council Public Health, presented some background information about public health data and related organisations – his slides are available on the website:

In his role Ralph had been asked to look at data sharing and data science.  Partnerships were important if the links between, for example, obesity and environment were to be explored.  At present Birmingham Public Health published little open data, hindered by the constraints of the Council’s systems.

There were core health data sets covering births, deaths and hospital episodes.  This data is summarised spatially (eg Wards, SOAs) or by year to anonymise.  For care data there is the Adult Social Care Analytical Hub.  Birmingham Adult Social Care has some data, eg local care home ratings, but some data is only available on PDFs.  It’s not clear why this data could not be made open e.g. as a CSV file.  A further problem is that this information can be difficult to locate on the web.

Public Health England has a number of tools (e.g. fingertipsR) aimed at clinical commissioning groups or LAs and these allow the download of CSV files.  NHS Open Data is held on NHS Digital through their own website.  Examples of outputs are available on the slides.

BCC information strategy covers the development of open data and currently there is the Birmingham Data Factory.  WMCA is creating an office of data analytics.  The Big Data Corridor has requested data from Public Health. Data Unlocked (SW) is working with the Big Data Corridor.

There was a discussion about how organisations like Public Health could be encouraged to share data openly.  There was a need to rationalise the different geographical structures, e.g. wards are of interest to local authorities, CCGs in Health, the Police are organised differently.  There is a need for tools which allow aggregation into different geographical structures while retaining anonymity.  Could WMCA take a lead role in pushing for this?  It was suggested that this greater access to data could attract financial help.

Action:    RS agreed to contact the WMCA office for data analytics to seek their views/support for common approaches.


RS, CMc, HJ requested to be added to the WMODF distribution list.

The West Midlands Regional Data Analysts group was meeting on 29th March.

GS shared that an update to the TfWM API will offer more functionality.

TA mentioned that a DfT local transport project to define common approaches for data would report around Easter, which may lead to a demonstrator project.

PR referred to issues about Public Health data raised in Parliament by Liam Byrne.

A positive meeting had taken place between PR, DW and Bev Nash, Registrar for Bereavement Services from BCC, over the release of indexes of burial records (first name, surname, month of burial, year of burial and cemetery). The next step would be to provide her with anything that details the business case around open data, particularly how greater access to the indexes could increase their revenue.

Action:    DW & PR pursuing

  1. AOB

Next meeting: 10.30 on 23rd May in Coventry (Room M1.5, First Floor, One Friargate, Coventry, CV1 2GN).

SCL agreed to invite local speakers such as Paul Ward, ICT & Digital lead, and John Day from the Data Warehouse.  An interesting theme could be data and the City of Culture activities.  PR suggested inviting Voluntary Action, Coventry.

Further meeting dates (Wednesdays): 18/7 (Wolverhampton), 26/9 and 28/11.

WMODF 21-03-2018 pub lic health ralph smith



~ A G E N D A ~

16.45     1)     Apologies, notes and matters arising from meeting 17/01/2018 (notes on web site)

16.55      2)     Updates on key issues/standing items

  • Web site and adding events             DW/CP
  • Open Data events           PR
  • Metro Mayor and Nick Taylor          PR
  • GDPR           DW/GB
  • ODI node and links to WMODF           HR
  • 2017 review and future meetings           PR 

17.20     3)     Open data and health/social care with guest Ralph Smith, Public Health

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

18.10     5)     AOB and dates of next meeting (23rd May 2018)

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