Where we are now
The provision of digital services in the public sector has seen a revolution since the creation of the Government Digital Service. Its approach to redesigning digital services for high-volume transactions is centred on collaboration: sharing code sources, making their data more open, creating common interfaces for digital services (called “Government as a Platform”) and moving to the use of public registers as common, authoritative sources. The Government's Digital Service Standard is seen as best practice in the sector.
Oxford already participates in LocalGovDigital - a network for digital practitioners in local government that has an aim to raise standards in web provision and the use of digital by councils across the country. We have contributed to the development of a Local Government Digital Service Standard to best meet the sector’s needs. This will be supported by detailed advice and regional peer assessment.
There are a growing number of third party services being used to improve how people interact with local government, such as whatdotheyknow.com for Freedom of Information requests. By collaborating with these providers we can improve the service we offer to our customers.
Collaboration at a local level means better understanding our customers (business and residential) and getting closer to our local developer community. We can do this through involving them in the work we do and becoming more transparent with the information we hold.
To date we have made limited progress in making the information we hold more available. An open data approach can give our customers the information to make informed choices about the services they use, our managers the information to provide what our customers need, and businesses and the community or voluntary sector the opportunity to take the data released and produce goods and services from it.
How we need to change
- Be active participants in LocalGovDigital in order to benefit from national best practice in providing local government digital services
- Work to the Local Government Digital Service Standard, and participate in its regional peer assessments
- Work with Smart Oxford to develop an open data platform that residents, businesses and local developers can use
- Support local hackathons to develop practical applications from our shared data
- Educate our staff in how to make our data more accessible
- Explore the potential to use Government as a Platform to improve our services
- Collaborate with third party services that add value to our online presence
- Our website contains almost 600 downloadable documents - many in proprietary formats - that are difficult to access
- We received 778 FOI requests in 2015/16 with many of these directed from a third party website
- Defra has published over 14,000 of their datasets as open data