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Open data implementation plan progress report

Updated 23 November 2018

This page reports the Open Government Data Programme's progress against the open data implementation plan through to November 2018.

Implementation plan (Trello)

Implementation plan (data.govt.nz)

 

Open by design culture and increasing access

The strategic aims of the Open Data Action Plan are closely linked, with activities often contributing to more than one goal. The following activities contribute towards 'building an open by design culture' and 'increasing access to government-held data'.

 

Open data maturity dashboard

Our open data maturity dashboard shows how the 39 government agencies that responded to our annual open data maturity survey are progressing, and highlights key information. The next survey takes place in June 2019.

Originally a commitment under the Open Government Partnership National Action Plan to monitor progress of the open data programme, the dashboard also looks at the readiness of agencies to be open by design and highlights areas to develop capability.

 

 

Data inventories

The first three government data inventories are almost complete. It's taken longer than we thought but we've learned a lot and will publish this shortly. The delivery dates in the implementation plan have been updated to reflect the delay. We're also talking with more agencies about their inventories.

There are many reasons for, and benefits of, data inventories, including they help:

  • understand what data assets agencies are managing
  • minimise duplication across government as agencies can see what data they're each collecting and holding
  • improve public understanding of which government agencies hold what data – even if it's not open
  • improve transparency and encourage public trust and confidence in government
  • save time and money by ensuring requests for information are directed to the correct agency
  • explain why data isn't open, and help manage expectations around that
  • enable government to benchmark and monitor progress in releasing data by enabling a comparison of potential data releases with actual releases.

 

Data champions

Data champions are agency executives who champion change towards an open and strong data culture. In the Action Plan under ‘fostering an enabling environment for agencies' we commit to invigorating the data champion network.

After an initial workshop in June, the next data champions network workshop – for central and local government agencies – is scheduled for early December. The workshop will focus on data strategy and governance, leveraging a case study of recent data strategy and stewardship work in Environment Canterbury.

 

data.govt.nz enhancement

Work is underway to enhance data.govt.nz, with a new look and feel launching in December. The website now has top-level navigation labels that better match data-related tasks, based on research with users of the website.

A template for step-by-step guides has been developed, and changes to the search functionality implemented so users can search for datasets or content.

 

New content

Draft Data Strategy and Roadmap (Roadmap)

The Roadmap provides a shared direction and plan for New Zealand's data. It sets a responsive and flexible foundation for organisations to work together and align their data initiatives.

Initially the Roadmap examines the government's role in enabling a well-functioning data system but this will broaden over time to include non-governmental organisations, local government, and the private sector.

Commissioned by the Government Chief Data Steward (GCDS), the Roadmap will be regularly reviewed and updated.

 

Algorithm assessment report

This first-of-its-kind algorithm assessment report by the GCDS and Government Chief Digital Officer provides insights into how some agencies use algorithms.

It highlights how algorithms help agencies to deliver better policies and services, and makes recommendations on how algorithms can be improved for both fairness and transparency.

 

Data confidentiality report

The data confidentiality report looks at best practice principles and methods available for confidentialising data. Produced by Stats NZ, the report is aimed at technical experts and managers who supply and use data.

 

Community events and engagement

Open data meetups

Meetups in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin in September featured Mandy Henk from Tohatoha Aotearoa Commons, discussing Creative Commons licences: what they do, how they work, and how to use them.

 

DataLand NZ hackathon

DataLand NZ was an open data/open government hackathon that brought together the creative minds of tertiary students and young professionals – many of whom were new to the concept of open data – to collaborate on solutions to posed problems.

The two-day event was sponsored by Stats NZ who advised and supported the GovTech graduates who initiated and ran the event.

 

Contributing to conversations

The Open Data team has contributed to broader conversations by presenting alongside others at both the New Zealand Analytics Forum and the Data Driven Wellington Meetup.

Check out our Trello board for other events we've contributed to recently.

 

Changes to the implementation plan

Implementation plan tracking: Trello

Part of our open by design approach involves finding ways to work openly. So we're using Trello to track the Open Data Implementation Plan's evolution.

We're piloting making our Trello board public to make it easy to communicate changes, and enable members of the public see top level information, make comments, and ask questions. As a living document, the board will be regularly updated and will change over time.

Data.govt.nz will have both an HTML version of the implementation plan, and the Trello board.

You can access and read the implementation plan board, but to comment or ask a question you'll need to create a free account.

 

Benefits of sharing

  • Increases transparency, engagement, and openness.
  • Shows what's planned.
  • Demonstrates progress.
  • Makes tracking easy (internally and externally).

 

International Open Data Conference

Presentations and discussions at the International Open Data Conference held in Buenos Aires in September, demonstrated a shift in thinking towards adopting a more holistic, people-centred perspective across the closed-shared-open data spectrum.

 

Key themes

  • Put people at the heart of open data – provide them with the data they need, empower them, and be inclusive.
  • Make the best use of limited resources by prioritising and focusing efforts on the data that will have the most impact. Base decision-making on people's needs and focus on use rather than supply.
  • Open data is not an end in itself but part of a larger, more nuanced data system. Data standards, ethics, infrastructure, and governance are as important, and data strategies are needed to join up the components and coordinate efforts.

Insights shared into what data sovereignty means for indigenous people, included:

  • Don't analyse in silos
  • Consider and involve the communities impacted by the data, or who the data is about, before releasing
  • Tell the good stories – not just those about what appears to be broken.

These insights have relevance in other contexts too – wherever data affects, or is about, a community or section of the population.

 

Open Data Charter review

Open by default

During the Open Data Charter's (ODC's) review of principles, there was  strong debate on reviewing and updating the principle ‘open by default'.

It's held as a fundamental principle to guide behaviour towards proactive open government and maximising data's potential value.

People accept that for some the expression ‘open by default' needs to be more clearly defined. Some see it as aspirational while others see it as an undeliverable ultimatum.

For the latter, it needs to be communicated that ‘open by default' is about exploring the opportunity to open the data up front, examining the risks and how might the data be managed and processed to enable its safe release.

 

Publish with purpose

The idea of ‘publish with purpose' was discussed at length during the review. It's evolved to being seen more as a short-term strategy than a principle.

As a strategy it can be a way to prioritise the efforts to release data where it can have immediate impact addressing a high-profile problem, either locally, nationally or globally.

The need to access data to help measure progress against the UN's Sustainable Development Goals is one area where this strategy can be leveraged. It's also important to consider the process for determining the purpose behind prioritising data release efforts.

 

Privacy

Protecting privacy is an important issue, and one that's essential to maintaining trust and confidence – the social licence – to collect, store, share and use data.

The ODC considered establishing a separate principle around this issue, and/or whether the current principles can be strengthened, such as in supporting comments about managing risks as part of ‘open by default'.

 

Machine learning, artificial intelligence and algorithms

The ODC review has seen significant discussion about ethical use of data in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). It was asked whether ODC principles need to change in light of advancements in machine learning and AI.

The original purpose of the ODC principles was to guide the publication of data, not its use. There's a mechanism to influence the transparency of data in machine learning/AI through licensing open data with the requirement of attribution (eg, Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY 4.0)).

This legally requires data users to acknowledge the source of the data they've used, giving people affected by the algorithm the opportunity to check the data is fit for purpose.

A key learning from the discussion is the need to ensure the principles remain technology-agnostic, which will help them remain relevant over time.

AI and blockchain dominate discussions today. New technology is inevitably around the corner and effective principles will continue to guide good and safe practice no matter what the technology of the day is.

 

Public consultation

Public consultation on the review of the Statistics Act 1975 has now closed. The Act no longer has the flexibility to respond to the changing data environment and information needs, and is out of sync with other legislation, such as the Official Information Act 1982, the Privacy Act 1993, and the Public Records Act 2005. 

New data and statistics legislation will modernise outdated official statistics legislation and support the safe and responsible collection, management, and use of government-held data.

Close to 600 people either made formal submissions or completed a short poll. These submissions are now being worked through and advice prepared for the Minister of Statistics.

 

Stewardship framework for government

The GCDS is developing a stewardship framework to provide a cohesive and integrated view of the data practices agencies need to ensure they take a collective approach to data management.