How can government manage data for social impact?

Do you want to support your local/ provincial/ national government department or other public entity with managing and using data for social impact?

Data management and sharing

Based on our work with government partners we've outlined a few of their questions and possible tools that can enable effective management and exchange of data, between government and non-government entities, to enable wider use and broader social impact. For a more detailed guide see the InTAcT Open Data Toolkit by Cities Support Programme and Open Data Durban. And these useful guides for managing sharing of data from Mexico, Switzerland and South Australia.

If looking to open data, it is important to be aware of possible confidentiality and privacy issues, especially in relation to personal data. The UK ICO has a practical guide on 'How to disclose information safely: Removing personal data from information requests and datasets'.

This is a working doc so get the updated version of our 'Government Data Canvas' here.

Contracting and licensing of data service providers

You can support your government department with how they contract data service providers or vendors, and ensure that public data is accessible for use within government and by citizens (where appropriate). This landscape of rights and licensing initiatives for data sharing gives a useful overview of some tools in the space. Also see the Contracts for Data Collaboration (C4DC) site for a framework and library of sample language.

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Resources and capabilities for data management and use

Many government entities are looking for open data from other government departments or agencies to support their own decision-making and planning. We continue to add to this working list of 300+ data sources for South Africa and there are some highlighted resources in this toolkit related to spatial, healthcare, air quality and a mini guide for working with spatial data.

Government entities also have limited access to skills or training on how to get more from their (and other entities) data. If you work in government you may want to find a data course online or join a nearby training. For example, the TrainUp workshops help to equip for non-tech participants with core data sourcing, analysis and presentation skills.

Toolkits like this one can be useful. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) recently (late 2018) published a Data Playbook they are using to improve data literacy across their organisation and affiliates, mainly through 30-60 minute conversations. In this toolkit we have packaged data resources related to spatial transformation (including a beginners tutorial) and healthcare for South Africa as a start.

Finally, you can also look to supplement government data capabilities with an injection of skills over a short (or longer) period. In Mexico, Open Data Squads guide government entities through a process of internal identification and classification of data assets, through to publishing. eThekwini Municipality has embedded data fellows from Open Data Durban to help build data skills and work on data policy.

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