[@OKau] Qn's from Government re GovHack

Markus Buchhorn markus at intersect.org.au
Fri May 15 00:22:50 UTC 2015

Hi Alisha

While I respect the principles behind SteveB's answers, and agree, I 
suspect they might be a bit confronting to a Departmental rep who is 
already a bit twitchy ;-)

Let me suggest some constructive points, and others can fix/build on them:

  1. If you, the Dept, want to talk with somebody for reassurance, there 
are great people out there, with formally-informed views (e.g. 
Baden at AusGOAL) and also widely-experienced views (e.g. Pia at DTO)

  2. The data used in GovHacks is selected, sub-setted and provided by 
you, the Department. You should already have an understanding of any 
formal risks in their release. Nobody is asking for sensitive data.

  3. The developers involved in GovHack are amazingly grateful for 
access to any data. It is not in their interest to bite the data 
provider, quite the contrary.

  4. Developers want to show the potential value of your data through 
new tools, better presentations,  aggregation with other data, and also 
the discovery/removal of any errors. All of these are likely to be of 
value to you.

  5. Participating increases engagement with many stakeholders, not just 
the developers. They include taxpayers, politicians, other 
departments/agencies, industry, etc.

  6. Nobody expects you to endorse the results, or support them in the 
future, though they would be extremely happy if you did.

  7. We are heading towards an environment where data release is the 
norm, and not-participating will be the exception. Now is a very good 
time to learn about it, in a controlled, friendly and supportive 

  8. If you really want a more formal cost/benefit argument about the 
broader open-access agenda, there are many economic studies that support 
it (insert reference to list here, from NickG, ANDS, UK, US, ...)

Is that helpful? I'm happy to help polish/extend them, and I'm sure many 
others here would be too. The trick is to keep them concise and sweet as 
you say.

(I'm tempted to add a zero-eth bullet: "0. Yes, GovHack sounds like a 
confronting activity, but it is meant with much respect for the very 
talented developers working collaboratively with Government" :-) )

Tangentially for everyone: I agree, it is probably a useful exercise to 
develop this idea into a boilerplate Q&A document for other agencies 
with similar concerns, for both the GovHack context and the wider 
agendas. Anybody else want to get involved in that? I suspect there are 
already a few similar lists out there.


On 14/05/2015 2:11 PM, Alisha Ryans-Taylor wrote:
> Thanks all. J
> So, are there any short, key messages in response to those questions 
> that I should send on behalf of GovHack? The discussion is great, but 
> a bit challenging to distil into something short and clear for my 
> contact in the Dept of Health to pass on to his managers (without 
> feeling confident that I would articulate the most important/helpful 
> points).
> Anybody good and short, sweet, clear, and concise (which I’m not 
> brilliant at)?
> Warm regards,
> *--*
> *Alisha Ryans-Taylor*| Code for Australia Fellow | Contractor - 
> Business Information Services Branch |
> City of Melbourne | Melbourne Town Hall, 90-120 Swanston Street 
> Melbourne 3000 |
> GPO Box 1603 Melbourne 3001 | M: 0404 313 020 | Twitter: @alisharyansT |
> E: alisha.ryans-taylor at melbourne.vic.gov.au 
> <mailto:alisha.ryans-taylor at melbourne.vic.gov.au> | 
> www.melbourne.vic.gov.au <blocked::http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/>
> We value: Integrity | Courage | Accountability | Respect | Excellence
> Please consider your environmental responsibility before printing this 
> email.
> *From:*Pia Waugh [mailto:pia.waugh at gmail.com]
> *Sent:* Thursday, 14 May 2015 7:44 AM
> *To:* Unname
> *Cc:* rosetta.mills at gmail.com; ruth.pearson8 at gmail.com; Alisha 
> Ryans-Taylor; Geoff Mason
> *Subject:* Re: [@OKau] Qn's from Government re GovHack
> Hi Rosie,
> This is exactly why govhack is run by volunteers :) Basically people 
> can make projects that criticise the government, but don't tend to. 
> Often we get projects that use data such as budget data to better 
> understand how government spends money. Some departments are mote 
> sensitive to external interpretations than others but we have around 
> 15 federal agencies involved, 5 state and territory governments and 
> several councils. So they are managing the risk just fine. There are 
> no privacy risks because we only work with open data. There we always 
> risks and it is up to the department to mange their own risks, but the 
> risks are low. By supporting and participating in govhack, government 
> agencies aren't endorsing the outcomes and they get to choose who win 
> specific gov supported prizes. But there are non government supported 
> prizes too.
> In summary, there are always risks in doing public engagement and 
> community activities. But the benefits have far outweighed the risks 
> for many government supporters because the cost of innovation is so 
> high through traditional gov means, and govhack provides a friendly, 
> large and collaborative environment that brings community, gov and 
> industry together for the common good.
> Hope that helps,
> Pia
> On 13/05/2015 5:41 PM, "Lachlan Musicman" <datakid at gmail.com 
> <mailto:datakid at gmail.com>> wrote:
> Hi All,
> One of the GovHack/Code for Australia Fellows has been in 
> communication with a state employee from theDepartment of Health and 
> Human Services (Tobacco Unit) indirectly as a result of her work 
> within the council.
> They seem to be interested in participating in GovHack but have asked 
> her the following questions.
> I am not really the right person to answer these questions. I don't 
> want to ask "do we have canned responses" but I presume these are 
> regular questions that people can answer more eloquently than I. Pia?
> Is it possible you could identify any risks and how they are mitigated?
> Is there a risk the data could be misused in anyway or potentially 
> criticise the Department or government?
> Is there a risk the submissions such as applications or websites could 
> be used to criticise the Department or current government.
> Are there any privacy risks?
> Cheers
> L.
> ------
> let's build quiet armies friends, let's march on their glass 
> towers...let's build fallen cathedrals and make impractical plans
> - GYBE
> _______________________________________________
> okfn-au mailing list
> okfn-au at lists.okfn.org <mailto:okfn-au at lists.okfn.org>
> https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/okfn-au
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/options/okfn-au 
> <https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/options/okfn-au>
> This email is intended solely for the named addressee.
> If you are not the addressee indicated please delete it immediately.
> _______________________________________________
> okfn-au mailing list
> okfn-au at lists.okfn.org
> https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/okfn-au
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/options/okfn-au

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.okfn.org/pipermail/okfn-au/attachments/20150515/fa642289/attachment-0004.html>

More information about the okfn-au mailing list