Open data government

Government Open Data User Group Holds First Meeting

Francis Maude has said an important step has taken place in the Government’s ‘open data revolution’

On by Tom Jowitt 0

The first meeting of the Open Data User Group (ODUG) took place yesterday, as the government hopes to deliver on its long-term strategy of being more transparent with the information it holds.

The meeting took place on Tuesday at Hackney House in London’s Tech City, and the meeting was hailed by Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, as another important step in the government’s ongoing “open data revolution.”

Group meeting

The group itself is made up of a number of open data experts from medium to large commercial entities, including Sainsbury’s and Experian, as well as experts from the public sector. The group is chaired by Heather Savory, who will report to the government on the group’s recommendations.

The idea is that the group will advise the government on what public sector information should fall under the umbrella of “open data”.

It will look at what public sector data “will have the greatest economic and social benefits for the UK and should therefore be released as open data,” the Cabinet Office said.

“To unleash the full potential of data, the raw material of our age, we need to release the government data that will best foster innovation, give rise to new businesses, help others to grow and enhance public services,” said Maude.

“The publication of our Open Data White Paper two weeks ago heralded a wave of new data releases, and the fact that the Open Data User Group is getting down to work is another significant advance in our open data revolution.

“As well as releasing more data, we need to ensure that what we release is of the greatest possible value to citizens and businesses – the Group has a key role to play in this.”

Lots of appliciants

“I am very pleased with the overwhelming response to our request for Open Data User Group members and would like to thank all who put themselves forward,” said the ODUG’s Heather Savory, citing the strong response to the open recruitment process for the group.

“We had many strong applicants and have been able to find a really talented membership who are geared up and enthusiastic about working with and on behalf of their communities to improve access to government data.”

“The group faces many challenges, but I am confident we have the right people to make a difference, both around the table and in the wider user community,” said Savory.

The complete list of the members of the Open Data User Group (ODUG) are as follows:

  • Robert Barr, Chairman, Manchester Geomatics
  • Jennie Campbell, Managing Director, MeteoGroup Ltd
  • Mick Cory, Chair, UK Location User Group
  • Sarah Hitchcock, Head of Network & Planning, Sainsbury’s
  • Dominique Lazanski, Head of Digital Policy, Taxpayers’ Alliance
  • Andrew Mackenzie, Open Mercia, and freelance consultant
  • Paul Malyon, Product Manager, Experian QAS
  • Christopher Royles, CTO, Pitney Bowes Software
  • Gesche Schmidt, Programme Manager, Transparency, Local Government Association
  • Jacqui Taylor, CEO, Flying Binary
  • Roger Taylor, Director of Research and Public Affairs, Dr Foster
  • Jeni Tennison, Director of Jeni Tennison, Consulting Ltd
  • Adam Tickell, Pro Vice Chancellor, University of Birmingham

Back in May, plans for the government’s newly created Open Data Institute were unveiled.

The ODI will be co-directed by Sir Tim Berners Lee, the inventor of the Web, and the prime directive of that group is to incubate new business start-ups where economic growth will be driven by the use of open data.

Also in May, it was revealed that Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales would help the government in its plans to make all academic research funded by the taxpayer freely available online.

Is your personal data scattered round the Web? Try our privacy quiz.

Tom Jowitt

Author: Tom Jowitt

Freelance TechWeek Reporter
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