[@OKFNau] a perspective from local government

Rosie Williams budgetaus at hotmail.com
Tue Mar 24 22:43:33 UTC 2015

Thanks for all that Rebecca, what was the government department?

Rosie Williams BA (Sociology)________________________________________

 NoFibs.com.au - Open Data Reporter InfoAus.net - Founder and Developer 

Date: Fri, 20 Mar 2015 20:01:59 +1000
From: rcameron.bis at gmail.com
To: okfn-au at lists.okfn.org
Subject: Re: [@OKFNau] a perspective from local government

Hi All I initially didn’t send this post to all, sending to Mike only. But as the discussion has taken a detour into the how and why of government open data I thought it wrth sharing I have just finished 18 months working for a government department making their data holdings open. The project assessed and published the data holdings of +250 source systems (the entire data holdings of the department) on open data. The publication of data was subject to a strategic well documented process with identifiable data stripped of names, address etc of clients and small cell population holdings managed for potential linkage risks. The return on investment (investment was 1.5 resources for 18 months) was realised in 12 months from completion. Due to the approach taken the short term benefits were twofold:1.       Internal business benefit.In order to secure a commitment by governments to publishing their data holdings there must be quick wins and long term business gains. A strategic approach which integrated open data publication into core business processes was developed in order to secure business benefits and ensure a long term commitment to the publication of data. Internal business benefits included:·         a single source of truth model under pinned by Open Data. The open data sourced model supports the existing silo’s for system management whilst enabling consistent data to be held across systems without requiring the implementation or management of data warehousing models. For example Regional boundary data held in system 1 and published on Open Data could be sourced by internal systems to ensure consistency in holdings, reducing the workload for managing information and system dependencies;·         improved data quality – internal and crowd sourced data cleaning;·         reduced data modelling and reporting, with Open Datasets replacing existing published reports;·        the Department's website information set up to source from Open Datasets creating a single source of truth for website information and reducing ongoing resource requirements for the management of website information;·         collaborative internal approach to data usage. Staff able to identify business opportunities and service delivery improvements through transparency and publication of data;·         publishing Open Data in standard formats with standard terms and categories (which are consistent with ABS and AIHW standards) enabling the linkage of the departments datasets and the linkage of department data with national datasets;·         single and consistent source of department data, with figures for Ministerial and other reports sourced from Open Data. Reduced risk of data inconsistency and data sourced from different points in time;·         spatial display of all address information;·         reduction in requests for data. 2.       External user benefitsThe development of new apps and websites in the market place were the most obvious short term benefits and included:1.       Previous hard copy publication of Business Discounts for Seniors and Carer cardholders by region editions replaced by the app Discount Directory for Seniors & Carers.  The App:·         provides card holders’ greater access to discount information including a spatial platform·         increased exposure of businesses to card holders and  increased exposure across geographic platforms·         increased usage of cards by card holders·         increased usage and platforms will potentially increase the number of businesses in the scheme·         decrease in government costs for the delivery of the service (app to replace paper based publication) 2.       A number of social service directory websites have been developed including  www.mycommunitydirectory.com.au. Mycomunitydirectory commenced in 2013 with a social services dataset published by the department and has since grown into a complete community directory for public, community and government community services. The long term benefits of social and community service open data should start to be realised in the coming months. As social and community service data relies heavily on trending information, the value of this information will be realised as the department publishes the third year of open data for a number datasets. Happy to provide further information on any of the above or share the experience of publishing the open data holdings of an entire department. ThanksRegardsRebecca
On Fri, Mar 20, 2015 at 9:29 AM, William McIntosh <WMcIntosh at geelongcity.vic.gov.au> wrote:

Hello all, short time subscriber first time replier…
I might chime in here to add a view from inside government.
A lot of us in government are working very hard to open up as much of our data as possible. From my perspective change is happening, but possibly not as fast
 as some people had hoped. This is for a whole range of reasons but partly because I think we’re only seeing Open data becoming ‘mainstream’ for Australian government in the last couple of years. Perhaps its simply taken some time to penetrate the different
 levels of government. I did see an example of this  at a recent meeting where some councils had been hit over the head with the idea of embracing Open Data. I like to call this ‘positively agitating’ councils into action. This is done by actively promoting
 the benefits of open data to each council’s community and giving them some clear achievable objectives to start their journey and the
MAV has done a very good job of this. You will see that even though some councils won’t embrace it straight away we are starting to see the light bulb flick on across many different councils right now (Manningham
 have just uploaded some of 
their data this month). 
It’s important to note that its not unique to those outside government to be frustrated with the rate of change with Open Data, this is something people inside
 government face also. All we can do is advocate the benefits to change the way of thinking.

Types of things that helps government become active open data participants:
Steve Bennett’s help
creating data schema standards for common datasets across councils has been a huge help. This helps in different ways such as councils have a clear objective to what their data could be cleaned up to
 look like, allows for easy combination of data across the state and also can be used to help list the metadata. This is only early days yet, but its important that these are communicated (and debated) now so that we end up with a well thought out and very
 functional spec for different data. 
Thinking further ahead to when most councils are uploading their data online and having ~50 – 70 datasets online (hopefully to an repository like data.gov.au)
 they will be looking at ways to automate this process. So creation of python/CKAN scripts to automatically update their data online could potentially be of huge value across many different organisations. At the moment besides talking to Surrey council I haven’t
 found many other people looking at this and willing to share. 
Hopefully this provides some useful information happy to field any questions/comments and chat further,
Looking forward to attending an OKFNau event in the coming months,

be awesome,

Will McIntosh
Coordinator Spatial Information Systems
City of Greater Geelong
Phone: 03 5272 4062


From: okfn-au [mailto:okfn-au-bounces at lists.okfn.org]
On Behalf Of Cobi Alison Smith

Sent: Thursday, 19 March 2015 3:05 PM

To: Open Knowledge discussion list for Australia.

Subject: [@OKFNau] speaking of values...

To throw the cat among the pigeons, I’m going to add a couple of points:
I don’t think OKFNau is in a great position to be pushing for change right now, given lack of transparency about upcoming plans & governance changes
 in the wake of broader OK changes. It’s easy to criticise; it’s harder to lead by example. Consider how hard it is for OKFNau to manage this – then consider government departments which have way more inertia & less knowledge. Yes, OK folk are volunteers whereas
 government employees get paid, and yes change should and will happen – but I think OKFNau is unintentionally complacent in the same way governments can be.


I want to echo and amplify Rosie’s comment that you can speak but that doesn’t mean people will hear. And when people express frustration via jokes
 about violence, it means those of us who are trying to be heard and create change within organizations have to deal with more barriers. The last thing we need in Australia is for transparency to be further undermined by perceived risks of kneecapping, kidnapping,
 or any kind of bogus security paranoia. Less hostility and more inclusivity please. The more folk from government who are on this list asking for help the better; making them feel unwelcome via sneers & such isn’t conducive to positive change.  


Incidentally, Rosie have you considered a Shuttleworth Fellowship?
https://www.shuttleworthfoundation.org/applications/ I was being encouraged to apply while I was in Geneva last year – I think you deserve it much more.

Cheers, Cobi

From: okfn-au [mailto:okfn-au-bounces at lists.okfn.org]
On Behalf Of Rosie Williams

Sent: Thursday, 19 March 2015 12:19 PM

To: Open Knowledge discussion list for Australia.

Subject: Re: [@OKFNau] Examples of Use of Commercial Government Data


Just this week I had to try to convince a New Enterprise Incentive Scheme business advisor that what I do has value. His first comment to me was ' I suspect there might copyright issues'.
 I then explained to him the definition of open data and it's relationship to copyright. He seemed unaware of the concept, not to mention a bit sceptical. How he would 'advise' me remains to be seen. I spent a fair bit of the time trying to explain to him that
 tenders and grants data are actually different things. I didn't get far.


If I am not able to convince this person of the value of what I do I will be put to work cleaning hospitals. I don't mind the work but it would be sad if I have to stop doing what is so valuable
 for society because of the lack of appreciation of open data in wider society. I guess when it comes to convincing people of something you can speak but that does not guarantee the recipient will hear what you say. Still, I live in hope ;-)


Apologies if you've been visiting BudgetAus this week, I've been making huge changes and for long periods and both at home and the library where I work the internet has been up and down like
 a yo-yo.  It's starting to look good now though and giving me the opportunity to try new things.

Rosie Williams BA (Sociology)



 NoFibs.com.au - Open Data Reporter

 InfoAus.net - Founder and Developer 





Date: Thu, 19 Mar 2015 02:54:03 +1100

From: steven.decosta at linkdigital.com.au

To: okfn-au at lists.okfn.org

Subject: Re: [@OKFNau] Examples of Use of Commercial Government Data

You folks are cool :) great discussion going on here.


After being in Kiev and spending a lot of time with Government officials there I now realize just how lucky we are in Australia. Ukraine has 1,200 government services and of those only two
 are currently delivered via a digital medium.


There is zero bureaucratic latitude to do anything outside the law so every process change starts with a change to legislation.


Having said that I still hold to the belief that eGovernment is inevitable and open data that is generated by transparently operated digital government services is the 'killer app' for today's democracy.


I expect the Federal Digital Transformation Office will help create a wave of change through all levels of Australian Government and digital bureaucrats will become the norm in all agencies. 


Going 'native' now has a new meaning.



On Wednesday, March 18, 2015, Tennessee Leeuwenburg <tleeuwenburg at gmail.com> wrote:

Hi Lachlan,


In my frustrated moments, I think that about the whole world, not just government :). I think it's amazing when anyone manages to find a way to be successful through openness, and it's the
 way of the future. If only we could get there :) 


You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...




On 16 March 2015 at 15:02, Lachlan Musicman <datakid at gmail.com> wrote:
I deserve that rebuke and I think Pia makes a good point. But it's

also true that from *outside* government, it can be hard to be

anything but cynical, and I am not often seeing that change of

attitude that you claim - as someone bubbling with impatience on the

outside, I see feet draggers and excuse makers. I think that different

levels of government (Fed, State, Local) probably have different

opinions and different levels of commitment as well. I know I should

be differentiating between them, but in reality, I just see a wall of


Good to see the discussion take off ;)




The totalitarian society envisioned by George Orwell in 1984 should

have arrived by now. The electronic gadgets are here. The government

is here, ready to do what Orwell anticipated. So the power exists, the

motive, and the electronic hardware. But these mean nothing, because,

progressively more and more so, no one is listening. The new youth

that I see is too stupid to read, too restless and bored to watch, too

preoccupied to remember. The collective voice of the authorities is

wasted on him; he rebels. But rebels not out of theoretical,

ideological considerations, only out of what might be called pure

selfishness. Plus a careless lack of regard for the dread consequences

the authorities promise him if he fails to obey. He cannot be bribed

because what he wants he can build, steal, or in some curious,

intricate way acquire for himself. He cannot be intimidated because on

the streets and in his home he has seen and participated in so much

violence that it fails to cow him. He merely gets out of its way when

it threatens, or, if he can't escape, he fights back. When the locked

police van comes to carry him off to the concentration camp the guards

will discover that while loading the van they have failed to note that

another equally hopeless juvenile has slashed the tires. The van is

out of commission. And while the tires are being replaced, the other

youth siphons out all the gas from the gas tank for his souped-up

Chevrolet Impala and has sped off long ago.


The Android and the Human, Philip K. Dick

sourced from 

On 15 March 2015 at 11:22, Pia Waugh <pia.waugh at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi all,


> Just a quick one:


> On Fri, Mar 13, 2015 at 3:30 PM, Lachlan Musicman <datakid at gmail.com> wrote:


>> Government officials. I cannot express how grateful I am that there are

>> people in this organisation who can talk pretty because I just want to break

>> their kneecaps and push them into puddles with a sneer.



> It'd be really cool if people could remember that "government officials" are

> not a faceless enemy. There are a lot of us working in government to improve

> things, and comments like this certainly don't help. If you make it a

> "you're either with us or agin us" then you make it very hard to

> collaborate, educate or change the status quo. Personally I'm finding

> attitudes are changing within Australian governments (fed, state/territory

> and local) quite rapidly and I'm cautiously optimistic things will continue

> to get better. Meanwhile, I guess we'll start issuing knee protectors as

> standard issue across the public service ;)


> Cheers,

> Pia


> _______________________________________________

> okfn-au mailing list

> okfn-au at lists.okfn.org

> https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/okfn-au

> Unsubscribe: 



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Tennessee Leeuwenburg


"Don't believe everything you think"






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