Transparency in Government - Open Data, Linked Open Data and how UNIT4 can help
As one of the leading providers of ERP software to public sector organisations in the UK, UNIT4 is committed to our customers in this sector. As part of that commitment we are leading the way in helping our customers address the government’s requirement that post-January 2011, local authorities should publish information on local spending data over £500 online.
Customers of UNIT4’s Agresso Business World solution already have the tools needed to meet the government's requirements and generate open data in the correct CSV file format on a monthly basis – without external assistance.
To address the linked open data requirement, UNIT4 has developed a utility, Linked4, which will allow customers and non-customers of UNIT4’s suite of products, to have access to their data in a linked format - exceeding the government’s current requirement.
Linked4 – the new open and linked data generator from UNIT4
Linked4 enables any public sector organisation to publish data in a linked format via the web allowing it to be cross-referenced and available to search by anyone, in any combination. This provides an advantage by allowing UNIT4 customers to provide more meaningful transparency and will also accelerate the Government’s aim of holding public bodies to account, delivering better value for money in public spending and helping cut the record deficit.
Our customer, the Royal Borough Windsor and Maidenhead was the first council to publish their data in this format and it is hoped that many more public sector bodies will follow suit. The more that do this, the greater use will be made of this spending data, and perhaps the increased likelihood that more public sector bodies will be able to reduce spending through learning and adopting how others have managed their spending agreements and contracts with suppliers.
Linked4 provides the ability to be 5 star open data champions according to the Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the world wide web) rating system:
The five Stars of Open Linked Data
* Make your stuff available on the web (whatever format)
** Make it available as structured data (e.g. excel instead of image scan of a table)
*** Non-proprietary format (e.g. csv instead of excel)
**** Use URLs to identify things, so that people can point at your stuff
***** Link your data to other people's data to provide context
Open and Linked Data Webinar – recording available
If you would like to receive the recording of a webinar jointly hosted by UNIT4 and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, looking at how they have produced their data online, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The recording also details:
- An overview of the guideline requirements - what data is required, how often should it be published, what format is required.
- The practicalities of publishing the data – how did RBWM approach this and what has been published, the set up of the browser enquiries and handling redaction.
- The Linked4 Linked Open Data utility – what is linked and open data and how does the Linked4 utility work.
http://data.gov.uk/ - The home of national & local data for free re-use.
http://data.gov.uk/blog/local-spending-data-guidance - Guidance for Local Authorities on how to comply with the Prime Minister’s call to publish each financial transaction over £500 from January 2011.
http://data.gov.uk/resources - Links to pages supporting aspects of data.gov.uk
http://lab.linkeddata.deri.ie/2010/star-scheme-by-example/ - A breakdown of the 5-star deployment scheme by example.
http://www.sustainablegov.co.uk/central-government/procurement-finance/erp-brings-openness-and-more-transparency-to-the-public-sector - A news item related to the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and UNIT4's contributions towards greater data transparency.