Three new Open Data initiatives with economic and social benefits for Cardiff Capital Region

Three new initiatives that will use Open Data to achieve economic and social benefits have been announced in the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR).

All ten councils within the region have agreed to publish the Open Government Licence, and both Monmouthshire and Blaenau Gwent councils have secured funding from Central Government’s Gov Tech Challenge Fund.

The Open Government Licence is a copyright licence for Crown Copyright works published by the UK Government, developed and maintained by The National Archives.

To help promote and enable business development, Cardiff Capital Region’s ten councils have all agreed to apply the licence to the information that they publish via their websites.

This decision means that entrepreneurs, developers and members of the public will no longer need to apply for a licence or to register in order to use data published by the councils.

They will instead be able to use and re-use information that is available under the Open Government Licence. This includes the right to:

  • copy, publish, distribute and transmit the information;
  • adapt the information;
  • exploit the information commercially and non-commercially for example, by combining it with other Information, or by including it in their own product or application.

The benefit is double. The new licence provides an important source of information that companies can exploit to develop their businesses and products; and enables private sector companies to come up with solutions to public sector problems.

The Lle Geo-Portal, developed as a partnership between Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales, has already proven what can be achieved with Open Data.

And with Monmouthshire and Blaenau Gwent securing funding from Central Government’s Gov Tech Challenge Fund, more projects are underway.

The total £2.5m fund secured will allow local tech firms to bid to provide innovative solutions to tackle problems identified by the successful schemes.

Monmouthshire’s scheme concerns addressing loneliness and rural isolation by finding innovative ways of identifying and sharing transport capacity from open data sources. It will be one of the flagship projects that the CCR Open Data Group will be taking forward.

Blaenau Gwent’s scheme, in partnership with Durham, looks at how we can use data to improve service delivery, including recycling performance, parking violations, carriageway defects and infrastructure problem. The challenge consists of reducing costs without compromising on quality, through the installation of data-capturing technology which would enable residents and vehicles to interact with the council more effectively.

The competitions will open over the next few months. Successful biding tech firms will be able to attract up to £500,000 to implement their projects in either Monmouthshire or Blaenau Gwent.

Councillor Anthony Hunt, Leader of Torfaen County Borough Council and Co-leader on the CCR City Deal’s business and innovation portfolio, said: “The benefits of Open Data are multiple, and range from stronger economic growth in the private sector, improved efficiency of public services, to wider social welfare. The three new initiatives planned by the Cardiff Capital Region are representative of this diversity and are fantastic opportunities for Wales to unlock its innovation and performance potential.”

Councillor Peter Fox, Leader of Monmouthshire County Council and Deputy Chair of the CCR City Deal Regional Cabinet, said: “The next few years will be a transformative time for South East Wales, and the value of using Open Data should not be underestimated. Cross-sector sharing of data will enhance collaboration, participation and social innovation within the region, whilst avoiding unnecessary spending and supporting the creation of new business models. We welcome such projects with great enthusiasm and look forward to discovering the successful biding tech firms.”

The CCR City Deal is set to unlock significant economic growth across the CCR, which includes the ten local authorities of Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Torfaen and Vale of Glamorgan.

The aims of the CCR City Deal are to create jobs and boost economic prosperity by improving productivity, tackle worklessness, build on foundations of innovation, invest in physical and digital infrastructure, provide support for business, and ensure that any economic benefits generated as a result are felt across the region.