Open Community: data standards for local community-based services

This discovery hoped to understand what a ‘directory as a service’ could and should look like in 2019, using innovative approaches to data contribution, curation and consumption.

Every local authority, health organisation, police force, and voluntary sector partner is attempting to maintain some form of local directory-based information. However there is typically a lot of duplication of effort, and little or no co-ordination, data standards, quality assurance or automated data harvesting/publishing via APIs. Many directories have artificial geographical boundaries, resulting in poor provision of information to citizens located near administrative boundaries.

This project has researched and documented the current landscape and generated options for a high impact alpha phase, and produced a user research report.

Project outputs

All Local Digital Fund Discovery projects were asked to provide the following information at completion:

  • User research report
  • Benefits case
  • Recommendations for next steps

In April 2019, the project team submitted the following documents:

If you cannot access these documents, please contact the Local Digital team to receive them in an alternative format.

Feedback

Each project was assessed using these lenses by the Local Digital Collaboration Unit. We have provided feedback directly to the project teams and this is a summary of what we shared with them.

It aims to be constructive for both the project team and any other organisation wishing to learn about the project or make use of the work done.

  • The project team produced a website opencommunity.org.uk which included a blog and links to social media, as well as an online bookmarking tool randrop.io (an example) to provide an open project resource library. Together this made it easy to understand how the project progressed and helped to build a community of interest.
  • The project team did user research and their methodology was clear. The team were open and transparent about how the user research evidenced changed their assumptions. ‘We first thought’ and ‘What we saw’ provides a good model for other local authorities to follow.
  • The project team evidenced barriers to the adoption of data standards in the area of community services and in response, proposed iteration to an existing standard as well as imagining the supporting ecosystem that might be required to drive take up. The team should consider whether a ‘standards adoption playbook’ could be developed that might be applied to support data standards adoption in other service areas.
  • The team examined a number of options as part of their economic case. This might be useful for other councils considering this type of work.

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