ODI begins public service data programme

Institute makes funding available to support work in using data in redesign of services

The Open Data Institute (ODI) has launched a programme to encourage public sector service designers to learn from each other and encourage best practice in the use of data.

Scrabble pieces spelling 'DATA'Ed Parkes, an open data and innovation strategy consultant currently working with the ODI, said it is part of an effort to find models, develop prototypes and produce learning materials for services that are focused on data.

As part of the effort, the ODI is setting up a stimulus fund – the size of which it has not stated – and inviting organisations to apply for a share to support the redesign of services.

There are four main elements to the programme, one of which includes working with a small group of public sector organisations and service designers to learn from their activity to feed into new learning materials.

The others are to: identify models of service redesign that focus on the use of data; gather and collate current learning materials; and develop and test prototypes for new learning materials.

Februrary closure

The programme will run until late February 2018, in which time the ODI also plans to pull together research on public service models that focus on data.

Parkes pointed out that there is currently no comprehensive training course or manual for using data in service design and delivery.

There are, however, a number of sources to support elements of the effort. These include features in the GDS Service Manual for using performance data to improve services, and innovation charity Nesta’s Wise Council report documenting data techniques used by UK local authorities.

“Redesigning services so data is used better within them can bring new organisations into the service delivery chain, from start-ups to social enterprises,” Parkes said. “Involving these organisations can bring new efficiencies, help to reduce risk and make public services as a whole more resilient by diversifying the delivery chain.”

UKAuthority is staging the Data4Good conference, a showcase and exploration of how data can be used for the public good, in London on 24 October. Information and registration details are available on this link.

Image by justgrimes, CC BY 2.0 through flickr