The Data Sharing and Governance Act 2019 was enacted in March 2019. It is proposed to commence the Act on a phased basis. In April 2019 certain provisions were commenced including Part 5 which underpins the Single Public Service Pension Scheme and Part 6 which will allow work to begin on the creation of a unique number to identify businesses which can be used for transactions with public bodies (the Unique Business Identifier).

 

The Open Data Unit in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform leads policy development in relation to Ireland’s Open Data initiative. An overview of progress since the launch of the initiative is as follows:

Ireland’s national Open Data Portal provides access to official data in open format and was ranked 1st in the European Maturity Survey for 2017 and 2018. Significant enhancements have been made to the portal since its initial launch to include a showcase area, developer’s corner and to make the portal more responsive.

  • Open Data Licencing/Technical Framework

The Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY) was selected as Ireland’s Open Data licence of choice following a public consultation. A Technical Framework was developed by the Public Bodies Advisory Group to ensure that the publication of datasets on the portal is done in a consistent, persistent and truly open way. The key components of the Technical Framework are licence, formats, metadata, standards and Unique Resource Identifiers (URIs).

  • Capacity Building

Framework Agreements have been put in place to assist public bodies with regard to open data training and technical support.

  • Outreach

The Open Data Initiative involves significant engagement with citizens, business, researchers, and public bodies. Since the launch of the Open Data Initiative a number of outreach, dissemination and collaboration events have been arranged by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The Open Data Strategy 2017-2022 aims to expand on this engagement via conferences, seminars, workshops, hackathons, competitions and promotion via traditional and social media. The first annual Open Data Conference took place in November 2018 which was attended by some 130 public servants. The next conference is scheduled to take place in November 2019.

  • The Open Data Engagement Fund

This fund is designed to promote awareness and provide support towards improving the usage of public sector data on the Portal Data.Gov.ie. It is a competitive fund which encourages applications from any organisation or individual including public bodies, SME’s, students and academia.

 

A number of benefits have accrued from the Engagement Fund in the 3 years it has been run in terms of user engagement, capacity building and data usage. Each year the call for proposals has generated interest from a broad spectrum of open data users such as academia, research, business, public bodies, library and information professionals and civil society groups. A number of very successful projects have been produced through the Engagement Fund such as:

    • GetFitIreland provides a map of outdoor exercise facilities in local parks with guides on how to use the equipment;
    • Counciltracker.ie  that enables you to check how Dublin city councillors have voted on since 2014;
    • Dwellist.ie that helps home owners research areas before buying property;
    • Other examples are available on the Open Data Engagement Fund page of the Open Data portal.

The 2019/2020 call for proposals under the Engagement Fund was launched on 25 July 2019 with less of a focus on outreach and engagement but increased emphasis on innovative use of data and research on the impact of Open Data in an Irish context. The total amount available for pay-out from the fund is €30,000 (max €5k per project). The deadline for applications through a new online form on the Open Data Portal is the14th October 2019.

 

  • Open Data Impact Series

The value of Open Data ultimately lies in the use made of the data, and the promotion of use cases (examples of use) helps provide and maintain the momentum of this Initiative and supports the publication of high-quality open data. The Open Data Unit continues to promote awareness, adoption and use of open data by bringing experts from private industry, academia and government, publishers and data users together at conferences and events. To date three sessions have taken place in the Open Data Impact Series exploring the following themes:

  • Creating Business Opportunities with Open Data focused on the availability of Open Data in Ireland demonstrated the huge potential that Open Data represents for the economy.

  • Driving Open Transport Data focussed on how Open Transport Data is being adopted and used, what challenges stakeholders face, and what other transport data could be made available to power innovation. Panel discussions took place on the subjects of smart cities, real-time transport data and the future of Intelligent Transport Systems.
  • How Open Data can help our Environment focussed on how Open Data is a valuable resource that can provide key insights to help protect our environment and support sustainability.

A further session is planned for Q4 2019

  • Open Data Newsletter

The first Open Data Newsletter issued in April 2019 and it is intended that the newsletter will provide regular contact with users so as to keep them up to date on upcoming events, latest news etc.

  • Open Data and Recast Public Sector Information Directive

The need to assemble a national catalogue of High Value Datasets (HVDs) held by public bodies was stressed by the Commission at the joint meeting of the Public Sector Information (PSI) Group and the Working Group on the pan-EU Open Data portal on 14/15 May.  An Expert Group to assess HVDs for inclusion in forthcoming Implementing Acts for the Open Data Directive is being established by the Commission.  The Open Data Advisory Group will provide advice to Ireland’s members of the Expert Group on datasets for inclusion in Implementing Acts resulting from the recast Open Data and PSI Directive 2019;


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