[ok-scotland] Open Data and PSI Awareness Workshop, 19th January 2015

Roz.Thomson at scottish.parliament.uk Roz.Thomson at scottish.parliament.uk
Fri Feb 6 12:49:24 UTC 2015

Dear Ewan

I wanted to highlight to you, following on from my brief talk at the last open knowledge event, that the Parliament’s Standards Committee has today made its recommendations on lobbying, including the following section extolling the virtues of open data. Relevant section attached below.

Please could you forward this on to the open knowledge crowd for information, the full report and news release are available here:



In addition, if anyone wants to comment on the report, including the open data element, there’s a discussion on our facebook page later today and we already have a good few comments on twitter #SPlobbying

And if anyone wants to discuss more generally the Parliament producing information in open data format and the opportunities that provides, they can feel free to contact me direct.

Many thanks and have a good weekend,


Accessible information

1.         There is a big difference between just being open and being open and accessible. For published information to be of any worth people need to know it is published and to be able to find it easily. Information is more valuable still if people can easily compile all relevant information of interest to them on a particular topic.

2.         The format of such information depends on what the citizen wants to know. One person might be interested in the lobbying activity of one particular organisation; another might be interested in lobbying activity taking place by lots of organisations on a particular bill; a third might want to know which organisations a particular MSP has engaged with.

3.         The Committee envisages that the information on the register would be readily searchable alongside all of the other relevant information held on the Parliament’s website. For example a search for a particular organisation’s work on a bill could generate information sourced from: its register entry; evidence to a committee; accompanying documents to the bill detailing engagement with the Government during the policy’s formulation; events or visits for MSPs captured in the Register of Interests; attendance at Cross-Party Group meetings; and references to the organisation in the Official Report of Chamber debates (possibly based on briefings issued to MSPs to inform the debate).

4.         There is also value in producing information in a format that allows it to be viewed alongside details of lobbying activity elsewhere. For example Who’s Lobbying, which describes itself as a parliamentary monitoring organisation, combines datasets from different sources on a website (including the UK Parliament and the UK Government) to “give us easy access to information about who is trying to influence government.”[1] If this type of website incorporated information from the new register of lobbying activity, this could provide the citizen with a picture of a particular organisation’s activity across more UK political institutions.

5.         To be of use to these web projects, information needs to be produced by the Parliament as ‘open data’. Dr Andy Williamson, Democratise, states in his submission to the UK Parliament Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy—
“Digital is a key enabler of public transparency and transparency helps increase trust and limit corruption. This doesn’t simply mean providing digitised versions of existing documents but ensuring that content is machine readable, correctly tagged and indexed so that it can be found, matched, verified and re-used by third-parties: build it open and encourage others to use it, mash it up and repurpose it!”[2]

6.         As part of the Digital Democracy movement, the Scottish Government, local authorities and numerous other public bodies are pursuing an open data agenda to make information as usable as possible for the public. The Scottish Parliament has its own Digital Parliament Programme which has a focus on ensuring Parliament published information reflects the citizen’s needs and interests.

7.         Information published by the Parliament should be made more easily accessible to the citizen. The Committee supports the work of the Scottish Parliament’s Digital Parliament Programme that has an emphasis on this aim. The Committee considers that—

·           once a register is established, Parliament website searches should generate information on lobbying activity in a way that is as responsive as possible to what the citizen wants to know; and

·           the Parliament should seek to provide information on lobbying activity in open data format as this could help the public to look at the influence of lobbyists across a number of political institutions.

From: ok-scotland [mailto:ok-scotland-bounces at lists.okfn.org] On Behalf Of Ewan Klein
Sent: Saturday, December 06, 2014 8:04 PM
To: OK-scotland at lists.okfn.org knowledge list
Subject: [ok-scotland] Open Data and PSI Awareness Workshop, 19th January 2015

Scottish Government Digital Public Services and the National Archives will run a one-day Open Data and PSI Awareness Workshop on Monday 19th January 2015 in Edinburgh.

The workshop is intended for people working within the public sector, and will provide an opportunity for attendees to find out more about Scotland's Open Data Strategy, the principles set out in it, and what it means for their organisation.  It will also provide attendees with practical advice on how best to prepare for the amended re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations.

The event is free of charge. To register your interest, please contact: Rowena.Simpson at scotland.gsi.gov.uk<mailto:Rowena.Simpson at scotland.gsi.gov.uk>

Developed by a cross-sector working group, a document describing Scotland’s Open Data Strategy is due to be published soon — a draft<http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Economy/digital/digitalservices/datamanagement/MeetingsandPublications/DMBMeetingFive/DMBMeeting5Paper3> is already available.

The European Directive on the re-use of public sector information was amended in 2013, with measures to increase the number of public sector bodies subject to it, to require certain public sector bodies to allow re-use and to extend the scope of re-use to museums, libraries and archives in certain circumstances. Member States are required to implement the amending Directive no later than 18 July 2015, although the UK intends to transpose ahead of that date<http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/information-management/re-using-public-sector-information/psi-directive-transposition/>.

Ewan Klein
Open Knowledge Ambassador for Scotland
Skype:  ewan.h.klein |  @ewanhklein
http://scot.okfn.org/  |  @okfnscot


[1] whoslobbying.com<http://www.whoslobbying.com> [accessed 5 January 2015]

[2] UK Parliament Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy, Democratise written submission, Available at: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/speaker/digital-democracy/Digi018_Andy_Williamson.pdf [accessed 4 February 2015]


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