Patrick O’Donovan TD, Minister of State for Public Procurement, Open Government and eGovernment, welcomed the announcement that Ireland has achieved first place in the European Commission’s Open Data Maturity assessment for 2017, on Friday 17th November.

According to the assessment, Ireland is best in class in Europe with an overall open data maturity of 96%, followed closely by Spain (94%), the Netherlands (92%), France (91%) and Finland (90%).

The assessment, which was carried out by Capgemini Consulting on behalf of the European Commission, is the third in a series of annual studies and explores the level of open data maturity in the EU28.  A series of indicators were selected to measure Open Data maturity including the level of development of Open Data policies, an assessment of the features available on national Open Data portals as well as the expected impact of Open Data.

Ireland scored highly on Portal maturity due to the comprehensiveness of the national Open Data Portal at data.gov.ie. The Portal contains some 5,500 datasets of high quality, spanning a range of areas including housing, water quality, real time passenger information and Oireachtas data. Features of the Portal include a showcase page which demonstrates how Open Data can be used, as well as visualisations of data.

Commenting on the assessment the Minister said, ‘This is a fantastic achievement for Ireland especially considering that our Open Data initiative only commenced in 2014.  We have made excellent progress in 3 years and this ranking could not have been achieved without the work and commitment of public bodies themselves in making their datasets available as Open Data. I would also like to acknowledge the commitment of the Open Data Governance Board who are leading Ireland’s Open Data Initiative and the Public Bodies Working Group who provide technical and other support to the Initiative as well as the Open Data Team in the Department.  I want to congratulate them all on their efforts and thank them for their hard work and commitment.’

The Minister continued “Studies have shown that access to official, open format non-personal data supports more effective decision-making and empowers citizens to take a more active role in their communities and I would encourage all public bodies to fully engage in Ireland’s Open Data Initiative and in opening up this valuable resource. This is key to ensuring that Ireland remains top of the class as a country where the economic, social and democratic opportunities and benefits of Open Data are recognised and achieved by all stakeholders’.

Full details of the Report can be viewed and downloaded here

ENDS

Notes for Editors

Open Data is about making the data held by public bodies available and easily accessible online for re-use and redistribution. Publication of data in open format facilitates the reuse of the data for new purposes such as the creation of new products and services, increasing openness, transparency and accountability of public institutions, promoting citizen participation and improving data analysis of public bodies and more effective decision-making. It can be used, for example, to understand and therefore improve our health services, our transport infrastructure and our air quality. A key output from the Open Data initiative to date is the national Open Data portal which links to over 5,400 government datasets in open format.

An Open Data Strategy 2017-2022 was published in 2017 and builds on the substantial achievements made in implementing the Open Data Initiative since it was instigated in 2014. The Strategy was prepared under the leadership of the Open Data Governance Board with input from key stakeholder representatives from business, civil society groups, researchers/academia, librarians/information professionals and the Public Bodies Working Group on Open Data.

Two core objectives are the publication of high value government data in open format, making it publicly available and freely reusable; and engaging with a broad community of stakeholders to promote its social and economic benefits.

Open Data is aligned with key Government priorities such as the Public Service reform programme and the ICT Strategy and can lead to more transparency and accountability of public bodies, better data discipline in public bodies providing for greater efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery and more citizen participation and inclusion. In terms of economic gains, these are expected to be generated in the areas of business innovation and creation by creating opportunities for Open Data inspired products or services and job creation.