Openly Local

Openly Local is a recently launched “first draft of getting hold of and making accessible local government data in a consistent and useful form”.

There is generally a lot of support for open data from central government in the UK – particularly from the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI), the Cabinet Office and with Gordon Brown’s recent announcement that he is asking Tim Berners-Lee to help open up government data in the UK. We are pleased to see that OKF Director Rufus Pollock’s call for Raw Data Now, which Sir Tim cited in a talk at TED, has played a prominent part in his advice!

However, open government data does not seem to receive such attention in local government.

Openly Local has made a start on opening up local government data:

To start off, I’ve concentrated on getting the basic information — current councillors, committees, membership of those committees, and minutes for those committee meetings. I started off with a little over a dozen councils (though that’s since increased to over 40 of them).

At the time of writing this includes information on: 61 councils, 3797 councillors, 2065 committees and 11922 committee meetings.

We’d love to hear examples of local government data that is already explicitly open – and suggestions for local government data that you’d like to be made open!

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Dr. Jonathan Gray is Lecturer in Critical Infrastructure Studies at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, where he is currently writing a book on data worlds. He is also Cofounder of the Public Data Lab; and Research Associate at the Digital Methods Initiative (University of Amsterdam) and the médialab (Sciences Po, Paris). More about his work can be found at and he tweets at @jwyg.

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