Open Data


More links and things we’ve been up to: Care Data and some other stuff

Posted on 21st March 2014 by

The end of Stirchley Community Centre and some fab social reporting.

We’ve been working to get local volunteers and local officers sharing the changes around Stirchley Baths.  A couple of peopl we taught with out social media surgeries di some cracking social reporting of the last days of the Stirchley Community Centre (closed down because of a Tesco development and being moved to the Stirchley baths site when the work there is done:

Here a link with plenty of videos from Stirchley.   And here’s a video of the Stirchley Stitchers created by the brilliant Jess Allen – who’s natural social reporter.

Bishops Castle and Household Energy, homeless young people and women in Wolverhampton!

Steph has been all over this week – helping out some people starting a social enterprise in Bishops Castle – the Household Energy Service -  and also a group of women as part of the work we’ve been doing with Women of Wolverhampton.    Lloyd Davis has been an loved extension of Podnosh with our work with the Foyer Federation in Stratford,  East London.  Some young people in the E15 Foyer have started a site about life in East London (after a good discussion about ways to build stronger relationships with the local community and potential employers) – although we’ve still to crack the business of getting them publishing between out visits!.

Friends of Brandwood End Cemetery

We worked with fbec a good while a go to help them get a site set up which gave them control over what they could publish.  We also supported them with a number of sessions of one to one help to encourage them to share useful material and share it often.  Sometimes you look away and hope things stick.  I looked back today  and can see how often they’re publishing now – simple things like a notice for the AGM – or a report on a visit from the Lord Mayor.  I wonder if they’ll be bold enough to liveblog their AGM?

How much does it cost to look after people?

Lesley Curtis of the Personal Social services Research Unit in Kent has published this research on the Unit Costs of Health and Social Care 2013>  Only available as a pdf – would be much more useful if the data were available as a spreadsheet.   Potentially useful for Paul Bradshaw’s Help Me Investigate Health.

Unit Cost of Health and Social Care 2013.

The Sprit of BCCDIY rides again – an open data platform in a day in Birmingham

Posted on 20th February 2014 by

 

I often talk to people about BCCDIY.

In 2009 a group of local developers and bloggers got together and built an alternative to Birmingham City Council’s website. They called it BCCDIY.

They wanted to demonstrate that information could be better organised and more easily accessed.  They did it in a day (with some preparation) (you can see a version here) .  The council’s new website had taken one of the countries largest consultancy firms four years and they had charged £2.8 million pounds.

A group of people working on BCC DIY

BCC DIY taking shape in 2009 – image Dan Davies

When I tell public servants and residents about the cost of the council website they gasp. They’re not surprised, but they are angry.  When I tell them about BCCDIY they also gasp – with a sort of mischievous happiness. They are delighted to see people taking things into their own hands and showing where bad decisions lead to wasted money and effort. A councillor involved in spending the £2.8 million pounds response to BCCDIY – when I explained it to them – was “we didn’t have the knowledge.”

Now you do, or you can (come and talk to any local developer – they’ll help you learn).

And now is not the time to repeat the mistake of just doing what the big consultancies tell local government is right.

The lesson of BCCDIY was not learnt when the Library of Birmingham website was built (by the same contractor) for £1.2 million pounds.  I don’t know how much it should have cost – but I’m confident I know local agencies who would have been delighted to deliver it at a sixth of the price and to maintain it for much less than the current annual cost.

So let’s not make a similar mistake a third time, when the council eventually creates a place to put and share Open Data .

On Saturday Simon Whitehouse and some others will be building an Open Data platform for the West Midlands – in a day. You can join in, if you like.   In effect he’ll be doing the equivalent of BCCDIY before a silly sum of money is spent by the public sector…

This is what Simon says about the plan for Saturday:

In Birmingham we are holding an event at Birmingham City University where we are going to set up a West Midlands “Open DataStore In A Day”. The idea is quite simple. Over the day we will set up a website that can hold open datasets and publish what we can find to it. You don’t have to be a technical whizz to take part. Enthusiasm and curiosity are enough to make it worth your while coming along.

We’ll spend the day finding and collecting the data that people are interested in and we’ll put it all together in one place online, in the West Midlands Open Datastore. Once we’ve done that, it makes it all a lot easier to do something useful with.

If somebody can’t find the data that they are interested in then we will help them to write a Freedom Of Information request to ask for it. When those are answered we will add them to the Open Datastore.

I’m really pleased that Data Unlocked, the co-operative venture that I’ve recently helped to co-found, are providing the website for people to work on during the day, and that we will continue supporting it afterwards. We’ve helped to organise the day along with Open Mercia and RnROrganisation.

In Emer Coleman’s recent post about the City as a Platform she says that she has seen quotes of up to £200,000 for Data Platforms. We think that we can do a lot with some free open source software and the goodwill of people volunteering their time and skills.

Emer Coleman goes on to add that any datastore should be deliverable well within a developer budget of £20k.  It seems that  Saturday might  get local authorities in the West mids off to a flying start.

 

 

 

Making digital things should be as common for young people as making food, doing art or making music.

Posted on 28th October 2013 by

This is an offer to fund work with  young people (from 5 to 18) to encourage them to make digital things.  I’m told that the Midlands didn’t grab it’s fair share of this fund the last time it was offered so go for it.  (You’ve missed the Midlands day explaining it but there is an online one in November) – here’s lots more info that Amy at Nesta has just sent me:

The best link would be www.nesta.org.uk/digitalmakersfund

www.nesta.org.uk/digitalmakersfund

Nesta and Nominet Trust (proud supporters of Make Things Do Stuff) are pleased to announce a second open call for ideas to significantly increase the number of young people who participate in digital making activities.

We want digital making to go mainstream. We want making with technology to become as accessible an activity as making music or making food. Ubiquity is a long way off, but we want to support initiatives that can take us closer to that goal.

The second call is backed by a fund of £250,000 and we expect to make a small number of grants between £20,000 and £50,000. Alongside the grant a package of tailored support will be offered; this includes expert advice and mentoring and access to Nesta and Nominet Trust’s expertise, networks and event space.

 

1. What we’re looking to support

We expect successful initiatives will use young people’s existing interests, passions and pastimes as a gateway to digital making, inspiring young people to become creators, not just users of digital technologies. We’re looking for applications from organisations, or partnerships between organisations, that have the capacity to engage thousands of young people in digital making activities.

  • Use different interests and content to reach new audiences –how can digital making tie in with music, fashion, sport, film or brands that will inspire young people to participate?
  • The ‘making’ element is important. We want ideas that lead participants to the creation of a digital product that they can show to and share with others.
  • We’re interested in reaching different networks and communities for learning – youth clubs, libraries, after school clubs, interest groups and social networks speak to thousands of young people every day. How can they integrate digital making into their activities?

·         We take a broad view of digital making that encompasses 3D printing and physical computing, as well as coding and programming, and want to work with partners who are noisy advocates for the importance of digital making; who will use all the channels available to them to shout about and promote their projects.

2.If you’re interested in applying?

You can find out more about the fund’s aims and how it works by enrolling on one of our workshops or webchats (dates below).  Anyone who hopes to submit an application must attend one of these or if you’re interested in knowing more about the programme and networking with others we’d be happy to see you too.