Open for comment – refresh of the Defra Network Open Data Strategy

We have published a draft version of a major refresh to the Defra Network Open Data Strategy for your comments.  In the spirit of being open this document has been published much earlier than we would normally publish a strategy to make sure we can capture views from the open data community from the start. 

The first Defra Network Open Data Strategy, published in June 2012, provided the backbone for our work and identified some initial commitments.  I and my colleagues across government are working to make digital services a reality and we see open data and transparency as an important part of that work.  We have learned a lot over the last year and recognised that although the previous strategy laid the important groundwork there is still a lot that we need to do.  In particular we recognised that changing the culture within Defra to make transparency part of the way we work is as critical as the list of datasets that we promise to make available.  

We could have worked in isolation to publish a finalised strategy, but we would have missed an opportunity to build on the interest and debate that exists in the Open Data Community, particularly the wider interest in the environments in which we all live, work and relax.  Defra is keen to keep up with the demand from all, especially given the wide range of data for which we are responsible.  

We want to encourage challenge and re-use of our data and information to the benefit of those that ultimately pay for its creation.  We want you to be able to access as much data as possible, as early as possible but we can’t grant open access to all at the push of a button.  There are some datasets which need the personal data extracting and others that contain a complex mix of commercial and other constraints.  Our challenge is to establish some sort of priority order for publication based on user need.  

We already publish a great deal of data and are seeking your views on what else we should prioritise here.  Creating the Inventory has already begun to open up the world of Defra by providing a view of the datasets that we are responsible for.  

This strategy outlines how we want to move forwards not only with the growing inventory but also with some specific commitments for the coming year for us to be measured against.  We are keen to use your feedback on the draft over the next couple of weeks to add to an updated version which we will present to our Ministerial Team. 

Thank you in advance for you taking the time to read the draft strategy.  We welcome an open debate and if there is something you want us to consider outside the strategy then email transparency@defra.gsi.gov.uk. If you are interested in what we are doing a few of us Tweet from our Open Data Board #DefraTransparency. 

The draft strategy can be found here.

The revised strategy can now be found here.

Ian Trenholm

Director General - Chief Chief Operating Officer, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs