Deloitte: Greater access to public data could improve services and public policies
Governments around the world are in a unique position to combine the vast amounts of research and data collected over the years with technology, the Internet and social media to improve social services and public policy, according to the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (DTT) report, Unlocking Government: How Data Transforms Democracy.

Fuente:   Fecha:  30.03.2010

 Deloitte: Greater access to public data could improve services and public policies

According to the report, government organizations are embracing the idea that public data, such as government officials' expenses, patent information, crime statistics, and health inspections, should be broadly and easily available in a 'reusable' format to all citizens, leading to greater collaboration between government and the community.

"Much of the power of public data is deep inside the transaction systems of governments," said Paul Macmillan, Deloitte Canada National Public Sector Industry Leader. "Governments have taken, and must continue to take, steps to adequately share this resource to increase their governing effectiveness."

"The revolution taking place is a result of the unprecedented advances in social media and technology," said Greg Pellegrino, DTT Global Public Sector Industry Leader. "The old adage that information is power is even truer today. Greater access to information leads to stronger decisions, greater and lasting change, and more effective solutions."

As outlined in the report, governments that previously focused on improving public reporting of financial information for more transparency and accountability have now expanded their mandate to the release of raw transaction data, representing a fundamentally new form of openness.

The report also explores how governments are evolving from data publishers to platform developers, making information more open, innovative, responsive and smarter. In the end, citizens will see greater public value in the form of higher quality services, greater benefits, and more effective business policy.

Additional highlights from the report:

• Governments are using public data sources to provide information on many different aspects of a community, including real estate values, criminal activity, and transportation resources, as well as creating applications that combine data from a variety of sources. For example, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gives users a snapshot of environmental conditions in their communities drawing on data from 12 different databases; and Denmark has created a National Health Portal that gives individuals and healthcare professionals a one-stop-shop for health related information and services. Citizens can use this site to access medical reports, check prescriptions and make appointments.

• Citizens are responding to governments' requests for new ways of applying public data to today's challenges. For example, an Australian-based non-profit organization has developed a database and resource of global patents by combining intellectual property and registration databases from around the world.

• Governments are turning to social networks to gain insight into the effectiveness of policies and programs, take the pulse on public opinion, quickly obtain real-time feedback on policies, crowdsource ideas, and identify service delivery problems. For example, when members of a California city government decided they couldn't wait the 12-24 months it would take hold community forums and elections to help solve their budget crisis, they developed a community feedback portal to implement a more immediate solution.

• Governments are developing the analytic capabilities to share and manipulate the data they collect, along with the increasing volume of unstructured data available online. For example, in England and Wales, the police department is using mapping technologies that combine geographic, and census data with land information and incidence reports to track and understand neighborhood crime trends. This information is available to the public through their websites.

"Many world leaders have recognized that the current economic environment, while challenging, provides a unique opportunity to lead more effectively," added Pellegrino. "A new approach to sharing information and engaging citizens will result in more informed and effective solutions to the most challenging issues, such as healthcare, climate change, and regulatory reform. Governmental organizations, businesses, and citizens are in an exciting and historical position to work together to design new services and improve existing inefficiencies."