31 October 2013

The Open Government Partnership Summit is now under way in London. New Zealand is attending as part of the cohort which will achieve membership status in April 2014.  Australia, Serbia  and Mongolia are in the cohort with New Zealand, but in an interesting coincidence, having faced-off against each other on the netball court tonight, so is Malawi.

The Guardian has created an Open Government hub as part of its Public Leaders’ Forum in conjunction with the Summit.  A rash of Open Government activities is breaking out.  The Open Data Institute set up 12 months ago by Sir  Tim Berners-Lee  to stimulate economic, environmental and social innovation through a system of open data sharing and analysis, has now launched  13 international centres, to bring together companies, universities, and NGOs that support open data projects and communities. And yesterday the 2013 Open Data Index was published by the Open Knowledge Foundation.  The pecking order is

1                     United Kingdom

2                     United States

3                     Denmark

4                     Norway

5                     Netherlands

6                     Australia

7                     Finland

8                     Sweden

9                     New Zealand

10                 Canada

It is not surprising with the commitments being made this week by Australia and New Zealand, that the top ten are part of the OGP.  The index measures as “open data” national information which can be freely used, reused and shared by anyone, anywhere, for any purpose. The evaluation is based on technical and legal qualities which ensure that free reuse.

Open data is one of the five themes of the OGP Summit. Making data available is seen as essential for better public services, growth and accountability.  The other themes are:

• Government integrity: fighting corruption and strengthening democracy through transparent government

• Fiscal transparency: joining a new global standard in the automatic exchange of information to ensure taxpayers can follow their money

• Empowering citizens: transforming the relationship between citizens and governments

• Natural resource transparency: working towards a common global reporting standard, ensuring that payments for extractives and natural resources are transparent and used for public benefit.