Resources for London

Best Practices for London

The Greater London Authority

  • The Greater London Authority (Mayor and Parliament) recognizes that some organizations already provide open access to their data and where appropriate we have provided a direct link to their website, all available from one place. However we feel that there are some instances where we can add value to this, for example by focusing on just the data for London, by saving you from having to download separate datasets for multiple years, or by making it available in a standardized and easy to use format. Developing a central repository will help datasets more accessible on the long-run.
  • The election of Mayor Boris Johnson two years ago heralded a new approach to transparency in City Hall with the publication of expenditure over £1,000. This was the pre-curser to the DataStore approach. Generally we want to improve transparency and accountability and lead by example. There are additional drivers such as stimulating economic development in the software developer sector in London who can (and have) build commercial applications with our data. So transparency, accountability and economic development were all drivers. In addition the public sector in London and UK is facing a huge fiscal challenge and if residents are to have a say in resource allocation in difficult times then they need to know what we know.
  • The biggest barriers are the cultural changes that are required in organization. The Mayor’s Office describes this as moving from a New Public Management model to a model of Communicative Governance. In essence they need to move from a broadcast model (telling people what government thinks people should know) to a communicative model (engaging in dialogue about rights and responsibilities). Data is a core part of this.
  • The only overarching policy is that if the data is available under FOI (Freedom of Information request) then it should be out there anyway without people having to ask for it.

[Pending updates]

Her Majesty’s Mandates on Government Transparency

The Government believes that we need to throw open the doors of public bodies, to enable the public to hold politicians and public bodies to account. We also recognize that this will help to deliver better value for money in public spending, and help us achieve our aim of cutting the record deficit. Setting government data free will bring significant economic benefits by enabling businesses and non-profit organizations to build innovative applications and websites.

  • We will create a level playing field for open-source software and will enable large ICT projects to be split into smaller components.
  • We will create a new ‘right to data’ so that government-held datasets can be requested and used by the public, and then published on a regular basis.
  • We will require all councils to publish meeting minutes and local service and performance data.
  • We will require all councils to publish items of spending above £500, and to publish contracts and tender documents in full.
  • We will ensure that all data published by public bodies is published in an open and standardized format, so that it can be used easily and with minimal cost by third parties.