Latest Publications

Crime and Justice – Open Data Sources and Resources

In preparation for the upcoming Creation and Innovation Weekend of the Open Data Institute’s first Immersion Programme on Crime and Justice I’ve been pulling together some links to relevant open data resources.

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Ministry of Justice’s Open justice logo

data.gov.uk does a lot of the fine grained curation and linking already, of course and will often provide links to relevant datasets published by UK public sector organisations.

Then, within the scope of our Crime and Justice Series, the following links may also be interesting.

Crime and Justice Data

The Ministry of Justice maintains a page linking to it’s statistical resources, along with a publication schedule that looks forward 12 months. The Home Office publish the Police’s recorded crime as open data, which some people might be interested in comparing against  the British Crime Survey. And there is also Police UK’s API that “”allows you to retrieve information about neighbourhood areas in all 43 English & Welsh police forces and for the Police Service of Northern Ireland”"

People who don’t mind the challenge of scraping PDF documents might also be interested in the data behind IPSOS Mori’s recent survey showing that concern about crime is at a 20 year low. (more…)

Constructing a Crime and Justice #opendata wishlist

I’ve been writing a bit recently about the Open Data Institute’s first Immersion Programme on Crime and Justice. Part of my role as series lead is to advocate for datasets to be released by government on behalf of the participants. This post is calling for requests for the datasets that people want to be made openly available.

Open Data Institute logo

Open Data Institute logo

We’ve had a good response to participation so far. The conversations that we’ve had have included some very specific requests, such as the location of all the police stations in the UK, which isn’t yet available.

The location of stations can be very important when crime mapping and especially when looking at the prevalence of crime . For a variety of reasons some crimes are geo-located at the local police station. If you can’t allow for this then your mapping can make it look as though there is a mini crime wave around police stations.

Will Perrin has written about a proposed Transparency Charter for open justice. He listed the following data that he is interested in seeing published openly: (more…)

Measuring Outcomes – Producing Evidence – Demonstrating Impact

Over the past few months myself and Mike Cummins, as part of our nascent co-operative set-up, have been working with Gateway Family Services building a system to help them demonstrate the impact of their work with pregnant women. Gateway have a Pregnancy Outreach Worker project which works with women who have “indicators of social risk”.

gatewayFSLogo

This means that their living circumstances are such – they may have substance addiction(s), be living in temporary accommodation or newly arrived in the country, for example – that their pregnancy is in particular risk of having a poor outcome.

Pregnancy outreach workers (POWs) support pregnant women during their pregnancy, help them attend clinical appointments and aim for them to be more independent upon leaving the service. Often they will help them with access to another service and will hand them over to them when their POWs support finishes.

We’ve looked at a number of the different frameworks that organisations use when they are commissioning public health services that relate to pregnancy and maternity. From those we have created a system where a service provider, such as Gateway, can enter their summary data once, but can then publish it against any one of a number of the relevant frameworks. (more…)

Open Data Institute Crime and Justice series – taking part

Last week I wrote about the Open Data Institute’s first Immersion Programme on Crime and Justice. I’m series lead for this and part of the role means that I’ll be both encouraging people to take part and supporting those that do.

Balance justice

As a recap, the challenges that we have set are:

How can open data projects be constructed that achieve one of the following:

  • increase community involvement with the criminal justice system?
  • create further evidence for what are effective interventions for rehabilitation?
  • address the rise in personal crime?

An obvious question to ask is why would somebody want to take part in the series?
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Crime and Justice: an open data challenge

I’ve recently taken on a really interesting role working with the Open Data Institute. Over the next nine months I’ll be the series lead for their first Immersion Programme where we will be working with developers, data owners within and outside government and other interested parties to help establish some substantial and sustainable open data projects. This first programme has the theme of Crime and Justice.

Last Wednesday, 20th March, we kicked off with a day long session at the Open Data Institute where we discussed what three challenges should be set for participants in the programme. The day was arranged and co-hosted by Olivia Burnam from the ODI, who will continue supporting the programme when she returns to the Cabinet Office next month.

Open Data Institute logo

Open Data Institute logo

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Thinking about events

How do you decide how to structure your event? First, you really ought to decide what you are trying to achieve.

I spent a few days in Amsterdam the other week, attending a meeting of the Cross Innovation project that is being led by Birmingham City University. The project has 11 cities taking part and they are looking into policies that can help the creative industries influence other types of business, especially in more traditional areas of the economy.

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One of the ways the project is going to attempt this is by looking at brokerage, which they define as being “services offered by agencies that facilitate connections between sectors and individual firms where none previously existed”. The brokerage services that the project has looked into are often events.

It made me think how different events I have hosted and attended are constructed. Also, I thought about how much or little they focus on outcomes. (more…)

Telling stories with 1s and 0s

This was the talk I did at Pecha Kucha Coventry in November last year. It might sound a slightly odd title for a talk that is all about open data, but I was keen to do the whole presentation without using the phrase “open data” once. This was because I was part of an evening that had a variety of different speakers, not all of whom were technical, so I really couldn’t assume any prior knowledge of what open data is from the audience.

I also think that using the phrase is often a way of excluding people from the discussion. This was a useful opportunity to prove to myself that it’s possible to talk about open data in a way that is easy to understand for people who don’t want to know anything about the technical details.

I think that’s pretty much most people.

So, here it is. It is essentially me talking about three projects I’ve been involved with: the Birmingham Civic Dashboard, AidView and some ongoing work I’m doing with Mike Cummins about secondary school admissions.

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Out and about in November

I’m lucky enough to be involved in a number of events this month.

Chamberlain Forum logoOn the 15th November I’ll be going along, and probably talking, at the Chamberlain Forum‘s round table discussion on how open data and communication can help support a Co-operative Council. I’ve been involved in some work on open education data that I’ll be using as an example for that discussion.

The following Monday is our third HyperWM event. HyperWM is an unconference for local government in the West Midlands. As I write this there are still some tickets remaining but they might not be there for long. This year our hosts and sponsors are Sandwell Borough Council and we will be spending the afternoon at The Public in West Bromwich talking about how digital technologies can help us do things better in local government.

HyperWM logo

I really enjoy the spontaneous feel of an unconference, which is where the participants decide the agenda and pitch to run the sessions at the start of the event. It leads to a lot more enthusiasm about the subject matter and support for other people and their work. It proves that working life isn’t all about Apprentice-like competition, but is far more productive (and fun) when you work in collaboration with others.

Hello Culture logoLater that week I’ll be spending a couple of days attending Hello Culture. It’s one thing I’ve continued to be involved in since leaving Digital Birmingham, mainly because I’ve enjoyed the previous events so much. I also need to be there because I’ll be chairing the panel on digital and cultural collaborations. Come along and watch me ramble….

Also there at Hello Culture will be IC tomorrow, a Technology Strategy Board programme that “….stimulates innovation and economic growth in the digital sector, by breaking down barriers and opening doors for a new generation of entrepreneurs.”

There is an opportunity for 10 businesses to present at their ‘Meet The Innovators 3′ session which will be held on Wednesday November 21. It’s a chance to pitch an idea to a group of cultural organisations and also in front of the people running the IC Tomorrow programme. IC tomorrow Logo

Pitchers will also get to meet other people doing interesting digital work within culture and the arts. One organisation will also get a £5000 award to trial their idea with an organisation that IC Tomorrow will match them with.

Thursday 15th November ~ Chamberlain Forum Co-operative Councils ~ venue tbc
Monday 19th November ~ HyperWM ~ The Public, West Bromwich
Thursday 22nd November – Friday 23rd November ~ Hello Culture ~ Custard Factory

Development Data Challenge – reporting back

I attended the Development Data Challenge organised by Publish What You Fund at the Guardian offices over the bank holiday weekend. There is a really good write up of the whole day on The Guardian’s Global Development site, Julia Chandler has written up her experience of the challenge and Laura Newman from the Open Knowledge Foundation has also written an excellent blog post, so I’m just going to cover the work that I contributed towards.

Development Data Challenge logo

The group I was with tackled a number of challenges relating to traceability of aid flows. In plain language traceability is being able to follow the money from a donor organisation or government right through to an individual activity or project in a recipient country.

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Development Data Challenge – 25th/26th August

Since April I’ve been doing a few days a week working for aidinfo on the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). IATI provides an agreed open data standard to which organisations are publishing their aid data.

aidinfo are one of a number of supporters of the Development Data Challenge at The Guardian offices at the end of August. Co-ordinated by Mark Brough from Publish What You Fund, it promises to be a stimulating weekend of data wrangling and visualising.

Having spent the last few months getting up to speed on what people are doing in this area I’m really looking forward to seeing what people create over the two days. (more…)