jueves, 30 de mayo de 2013

#GOVCIO2013 "Aporta: Building a whole-of-government ReUse of PSI strategy"

Guidelines for  the presentation
"Aporta: Building a whole-of-government ReUse of PSI  strategy" 
"Leading the way in eGovernment development" - Helsinki

Note: This is material for five minutes introduction to a debate on whole-of-government eGovernment policies

The Elements of the Modern State.
Raymond Carré de Malberg, a French jurist that lived in the first part of the twenty century, defined the Modern State as a political community that shares a territory and has its own organisation. I do not know what you think, but in my opinion if the French politician were alive nowadays he would have included a fourth element in his definition of a Modern State: The Government Data.
Government Data is the main asset of a Modern State, and perhaps the most valuable one. The data produced and held by the government defines the relationship between people and the natural resources of the territory, how they live and the economic flows of the country. The historic heritage of the community are pieces of information or we are transforming it in information through digitalisation. Even the legal framework of a State is a complex kind of data with a hierarchic structure. To sum up, the Government Data is the nexus that joins community, territory and organisation of the State and makes a country understandable to a human being, even if he has no previous relation with it.

ReUse of PSI virtuous circle
Making the Government Data available to the public has enormous benefits, both economical and social. However, the main benefit are the new dynamics that open data introduces in the relationships in the Society. It is what I call the ReUse of PSI virtuous circle.
Making the government data available to the public is the conerstone for open government. It creates a new dimension for a participation that has as its final consequence a society that understood better the limits of the government due to a continuous accountability. But it has another consequence, they also have in their hands the raw material to create those product and services outside the limits of the State and its public mission.
The set of new products and services created by the society enhance the competitivity of the country. Citizens and businesses have new tools for their daily activity and with these new tools its efficiency is increased. But also the Government obtain its share of benefits.
The implication that propells the virtuous circle is that government needs to develop less products and services because the society has already developed part of them. And therefore, resources are freed to release new government data and the wheel will not stop ever.

Bridging the demand-and-supply gap with a whole-of-government approach
Unfortunately we have a problem. There is a gap between demand and supply of government data.
On one hand, whatever the government unit that held the data, citizens and businesses demands it in open and free standards, under the same usage conditions crystal clear and written in a license, in machine readable format with the greatest granularity and accessible through a unified point of contact.
On the other hand, how information is managed and published is one of the best examples of the predominant "silo culture" in governments. The information a and data is handled in a highly decentralised manner and rarely shared, both for rational and irrational causes, and in this desentralised manner is supplied to the public. This desentralised management of Government impact has as a consequence that rarely is provided according with the society needs.
In order to bridge this gap a whole-of-government approach is needed. First of all, we need political backing reflected in regulations as harmonised as possible between the different government layers, with a general authorisation to reuse all the public government data and an obligation to use open machine-readable formats. Secondly, the open data arena should be a meeting point between public and private sector. An open data policy is as sensible as the data sets published are valuable for the society. And this is only possible with a public private partnership for identifiying the useful pieces of information and the model for their explotation. Last but not least, we should apply technology wisely, using DCAT and linked data standards  to create a federation or network of interoperable open data portals that helps the users to navigate in the endless sea of data.

Spain approach to a whole-of-government ReUse of PSI policy
In order to deploy the elements needed to build the bridge between the information holders and resusers, the Spanish Government launched in 2009 the Aporta Project. Aporta is a project where the Ministry of Industry and the Ministry of Public Administration joint forces to promote the Reuse of PSI culture and create awareness of the value of PSI, both among the Society and the Administrative units. The ministries are in charge of the Strategic level of the project that defines the legal framework, disseminate the policy and develop guidelines for its implementation. As for the operational level, Red.es, a Public Sector Company, provides the needed tools and instruments to make this strategy a reality. The company is in charge of the national catalogue of PSI, the management of the social network channels and other logistic and technical aspects.

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