Nearly a third (28%) of New Zealand government departments are experiencing direct cost saving from the reuse of their public data, a government report into open data adoption found.
The 2014 Report on Agency Adoption of the New Zealand Declaration on Open and Transparent Government found the majority of government agencies are re-using other departments’ data to deliver their own services, with 72% of agencies reporting efficiency gains from reusing other agencies data. Efficiency gains included having direct access to data instead of making separate data requests, cost savings from not having to recollect data, less time being taken to further analyse data and improvements in data quality, the report found.
“More sophisticated re-use of open data is solving a range of economic and social challenges, improving agencies’ efficiency and providing greater scrutiny of government’s performance”, the report said.
“Government agencies are increasingly releasing public non-personal data in open formats for reuse,” and that “In turn, third parties are using that public data in increasingly innovative ways – creating a raft of new products, tools and services for use by industry and the wider public”, announced the Honourable Michael Woodhouse, Minister for Land Information.
Whilst the majority of departments were found to have improved their data releases over the previous year, departments needed “to be more vigilant about publicising their datasets on data.govt.nz and applying the required Creative Commons licensing statements to their open data and publications to allow innovative third party re-use”, the report said.
The release of data is also having an impact on the nature of Official Information Act requests. Some departments reported a reduction in requests, with a notable trend to increasing demand for more detailed data and raising expectations that data will be proactively released, the report found.
All New Zealand public data is released subject to the New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing (NZGOAL) Review and Release process.
New Zealand has long committed to open data, launching its Open Government Information and Data Programme in 2008.
In August 2011, the New Zealand government announced a Declaration on Open and Transparent Government requiring all government departments to release their high value public data for re-use, including all Public Service departments, the New Zealand Police, the New Zealand Defence Force, the Parliamentary Counsel Office, and the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service. “The government asserts that the data and information it holds on behalf of the public must be open, trusted and authoritative, well managed, readily available, without charge where possible, and reusable, both legally and technically. Personal and classified data and information must be protected”, states the Declaration.
New Zealand’s commitment to open government is paying off, with the country ranking 5th out of 86 countries in the 2014 Open Data Barometer for open data readiness, implementation and re-use impact.