The Institute of Government did a great blog post recently about the need for government to ‘dogfood’ using its own data. This built on a previous IoG publication looking specifically at impact indicators.

In the most recent post they quote Jeni Tennison talking about ‘data infrastructure’: “the governance models, standards and lines of responsibility that need to sit around data sets if they are going to be useful”.

This blog post is kind of a follow-on from my previous one about government data which itself was inspired by the Data Citizen Project.

There’s a lot of work going on across government in this area at the moment and, along with many other people, I’m keen to here the outcomes. I have confidence in the intelligence, experience and leadership of my GDS colleagues who are involved in this – including the government Director of Data.

Much is made of the reality vs. the plans for open data in government. While some government organisations are doing amazing work in this area events like Accountability Hack are often used to highlight what still needs to be done.

While open data is definitely important, personally I’m more interested in the future of the massive amount of personal citizen data the government stores. As I discussed with colleague today, implementing something like Google’s Data Liberation Front for held citizen data would be impossible today but would be an amazing thing to aim for in the future. Similarly, Tom Loosemore’s vision for superbly simple services based on citizens giving permission for government to use their data will be very hard to implement without a new way of thinking.


The Open Data Institute has been asked by government to help help devise a strategy for how government will work with data in the future. As part of that work they are asking everyone who has opinions in this area to get in touch so that they can become part of the conversation on where we’re going and how to get there from here.

There’s much discussion to be had about the consolidation vs. separation of citizen data alone. This is something that previously lead to a campaign against the so-called database state and the inclusion of members of that group in data user groups in government.

It’s very early days but I’m hoping to see some Data Principles, similar to the GDS Design Principles, published in the new year. Alongside that it would be great if there was strong data transformation message in the refresh of the Government Digital Strategy.

Following closely behind that will need to be some decisive implementation. As ever, we need to continue to focus on ‘the strategy is delivery’.

I for one am really looking forward to it.