Gov 2.0 Taskforce in a nutshell

Government 2.0 Taskforce Recommendations and the Spatial Industry

In the vein of open government, the operation, funding and findings of the taskforce are transparent and well documented on http://gov2.net.au. This is the first time I have seen such wide and high quality discussion of data sharing including the cultural change needed to support it. The Federal Government responded in May, endorsing 12 of the 13 main recommendations. There is a new AGIMO blog to track progress.

What the report said (in a nutshell)

There are deep cultural, organizational traits that have to change Taskforce member Alan Noble explained to me, adding that this is a journey that will take years. Psychologically relinquishing control is never easy.

Public servants have been trained to be cautious and risk averse. They are keen on due process but we would be disappointed if agencies used data quality as a reason not to publish because there is huge value in timely publication…GIS managers should think of themselves as custodians, not as owners. Rather than being afraid of the spotlight shining on your data think of how crowdsourcing could improve it.

Discussing quality of the information, its reliability and currency at considerable length, the Taskforce agrees these matters such be carefully considered in agencies’ management of Government 2.0. They should never be seen as reasons for preventing PSI from being open.

The Report warns that charging for access to information is a major inhibitor of serendipity. Many serendipitious discoveries arise when a prepared mind makes a previously unnoticed connection between seemingly disparate pieces of information. The more people have access to more data, the more likely you are to get something really good. There may also be some unexpected or inconvenient truths.

The Taskforce calls for structural reforms to provide a platform for system wide information policy development across government and supports the Government proposal for an Office of the Information Commissioner.

This is exactly what the spatial industry has been lobbying for a coordinated, cross government approach that does not require individual departments to battle for budgets or work in isolation. Obviously resources and budgets have to established but the ball is rolling. Track progress on the AGIMO blog .