The Open Data Scotland team has been working with four local authorities in Scotland (Edinburgh and East Lothian, Aberdeen and Clackmannanshire), supporting them to utilise open data sets to create new digital public services.
We have appointed five ‘in Residence’ Fellowships - four developers who work on a one to one basis with a local authority and one designer who works across all four authorities. The ‘Fellowship’ model is one which has been used in projects such as Code for America, Code for Europe and Code for Africa - by importing in a developer to work alongside the local authority team, you bring in additional skills, a fresh perspective and a different way of working.
In effect, we are asking these Fellows to be change agents. This might seem like a big ask - no one individual can change the culture of public agencies, but each of the four local authorities and the Fellows have managed to achieve a great deal in the time so far.
It’s not simply about the front end apps they are creating; it’s about the culture shift. We wanted to prove that both the city authorities (who arguably have more resources and a head–start through local Hack and Code events) and the smallest local authorities (who have never worked in this area before) would be able to create an impact using open data sets.
This project has been about creating an infrastructure within local government for open data digital services. In this area, our achievements so far include:
The apps in development are wide ranging and include to date (some are yet to be named and others are coming 'on stream'):
Although our developers are working individually with each local authority, they have also worked as a team on an informal basis and this is definitely to be recommended.
We also intend to share what we have learned on this programme through a ‘How to’ guide which will be ready by spring next year.