Data can contribute to a well-functioning administrative and democratic system. To be considered as a government that is service-oriented and transparent, we need to have the right data and be able to share (open) data at the right time and in the right way.
Some government data are open. That is to say: publicly available, free to use and free of copyrights or rights of third parties. To qualify as open data, the data must be easy to find, accessible and reusable. However, according to the privacy legislation, open data may not be traceable to identifiable persons or companies. The Dutch government has open data about every conceivable topic, including the economy, security, transport and health.
These data can be found on data.overheid.nl.
Data are of public importance
Open government data contribute to a transparent, readily accountable government. Open government data offer companies the possibility to develop new, innovative business models. In addition, government data can benefit citizens and civil society organisations, for example, via initiatives that improve neighbourhood safety. And last but not least, data sharing creates new networks between government, business and civil society organisations.
For a number of years now, the government has been making more and more open data available.
The next step will be to improve the quality, usability and findability of that data.
Improving the quality and usability of government data is also carried out within a European framework. The Netherlands are contributing to a new European directive for better re-use of government data.
Automatic local council information
Data in order is a prerequisite
Data can only be reused if the information is accurate, complete and up-to-date. Moreover, data must be properly managed and used correctly. In short: government organisations must have their data in order. This applies to both closed and open data.
Of course, there are also legal requirements that organisations must comply with. Within Europe, for example, it has been agreed that governments will not unnecessarily request data from citizens and businesses. Important data, such as names and addresses, are listed in the base registers. Citizens and companies are not unnecessarily approached by the government for this information. The cabinet coalition agreement states that the base registers will be modernised and that citizens will have more control of their personal data.
The new Open Government Act (Wet Open Overheid) ensures that the government does a better job of storing and managing data. Part of this Act is the Multi-annual plan for improving data management. At the heart of this is the launch of a National Platform for Public Sector Information (Landelijk Platform Openbare Overheidsinformatie), where all the documents of administrative organisations are made public and can be easily found.
Demand is key
When the range of data is better tailored to the demand of the user, data becomes more valuable. That is why data need to be ‘FAIR’: easy to Find, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable.
Reusable, for both man and machine. Part of this is the use of meta data: data about data, such as the subject and the owner of the data.
A collection of data is also called a data set. To increase the use of data sets, we focus on those with the highest social value. These have a high socio-economic added value or contribute significantly to a transparent and more accountable government. We call these high-value datasets.
Many government organisations already have extensive knowledge of and experience with accessing, processing and using data within their own domain. Quite often, they already have a national and international network and already make a substantial amount of data available. These include Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on statistics and the Land Registry in the geo-domain. There is already much cooperation. Such as that between the water boards, provinces and the Department of Public Works and Water Management, all of whom provide access to data regarding the water level management of the waterways.
The government wants to make smart use of these existing resources and collaborations. This will help to create a transparent government and a properly functioning data system. The cooperation between Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the Land Registry and the Dutch Official Publications Office (KOOP) is particularly vital. We must, therefore, ensure that we invest in this. The aim is for the re-user to proceed to one central point: data.overheid.nl.
Improving the population and business registers of citizens and organisations
- Together with other departments and local authorities, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations is developing a vision for a compulsory use of the base registers that will also cover the control of one’s own personal data. (2019)
- Together with administrators and policy-makers, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations is making an inventory of all the basic registrations to identify the necessary improvements in the areas of quality and use of data from the system of base registers. This is how we can improve our service to citizens and businesses. (2019)
- The Netherlands Court of Audit will provide the results of its investigation into the base registers, seen from the perspective of citizens and entrepreneurs. (2019)
Improving the government’s data management
- The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations will improve the usability of geo base registers (such as data on soil substrates and buildings) via clarifying 3D images (2019)
- The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, together with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and the Dutch Standardisation Forum, is creating an inventory of which new standards are required. (2019)
- Together with local and regional governments, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations is developing the Multi-annual plan for improving data management. An independent advisory committee of experts is advising about this. (2019)
- The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations supports and co-finances pilots launched by local and regional governments that focus on improving the government’s data management (2019).
Promoting the re-use of open government data
The following actions are carried out by Statistics Netherlands, the Land Registry and the Dutch Official Publications Office (KOOP) on behalf of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy:
- We are improving the quality, traceability, findability and usability of the national open data register, data.overheid.nl, with better data sets and informative texts and visualisations. We are developing specific application examples and will regularly check the central register. (2019 and 2020)
- Together with TU Delft, we will provide the results of an investigation into the requirements of re-users of open data in order to improve the provision of open data. (2019)
- We are organising regular meetings about open data with user groups. (2019 and 2020)
- Together with municipalities, we are improving the government’s high-value data sets, and we are encouraging their reuse by providing a better description of them. (2019 and 2020)
- Together with the Association of Netherlands Municipalities, we are providing a smoother transition for converting data from municipalities into nationwide data sets. (2019 and 2020)