Support for government data journeys, vehicles, mechanical work

A collectively-resourced pool of content- and agency-agnostic support, available to government organisations (local and central).  This should be a feature of a National Infrastructure approach to investing in data infrastructure and New Zealand's capability to use it and the data that flow through it.  

The pool of support contains people able to help organisations with the practical What, where, when, how - and the why  - of their data-opening / data-accessing journey.  

The journey metaphor applies in the sense that there's a journey planning element (route, travel mode, fellow travellers, timing) as well as helping people with the "technical" "road legal" and "mechanical and civil engineering" support, right down to highly specific advice about specific data types or elements of data architecture and infrastructure (servers, security, compatability etc).  

 These are the kinds of people who're generally known across NZ's  small ecosystem of data people, and are currently in both private, public and third sectors.  The services would include:

  • help with the technical mechanics of opening up data 
  • help writing internal and cross-government business cases that enhance NZ's open data infrastructure (instead of proliferating non-interoperability)
  • help convincing CEs and senior managers that it's worth investing in mobilising, sharing, opening and using data more and better   
  • Help reassuring the above about the risks of Bad Things Happening
  • support for licencing and describing data (e.g. to  reduce the risk of Bad Things Happening to the data custodian while enabling openness) 
  • help convincing internal IT and information teams (and HR, legal etc) to make organisations' infrastructure and policies operate as part of a pan-government-wide system  
  • support for finding data and accessing it for particular decision-making ends
  • it could also include:
  • Help communicating to the public and stakeholders about open data in ways that excite and enthuse people  


Why the contribution is important

This support would fill the gap characterised by "Ah we know we should do that with our data / with data but it's just too hard / too much hassle / too much newness / too much swimming against the stream"  

This will help deal with the organisational (human) barriers to opening up data.  

The funding element is vital to address at the same time, but the argument below deals only with central government.    

The cross-government funding for this resource, and it being treated as one of the essential overheads of an effective public service, is a recognition that it needs to be treated as national infrastructure.  In other words, we have to stop messing around with little slivers of funding being invested by poor decisions in central agency silos.

The complement to collective funding is organisations (at least central goernment agencies) being forbidden from spending their appropriations on data / data infrastructure for their own purposes unless it is really, actually, properly contributing to a pan-government system. This will require a change in approach from Treasury, and a series of stage-gates to check whether the investment shoudl be allowed to proceed as a single-agency one.


by Isabella on August 24, 2016 at 04:13PM

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