“There must be a change in government culture when it comes to the disclosure of information,” says Ronald Plasterk, the Dutch minister of the Interior and and Kingdom Relations. Today he announced that 550 new datasets appear online, the result of a government-wide data inventory.
Letter Open State Foundation
In September 2014 the Open State Foundation sent a letter to all ministries with a plea for digital transparency due to the social and economic added value.
In a response to this letter, Plasterk, who also serves as the coordinating minister for open data, let the Open State Foundation know that the government would start with an inventory to clarify which data sets are present per department and would publish this information as open data if possible. The inventory lead to 550 data sets that are directly available for re-use. There are also nearly 300 planned or under investigation.
Transparency enhances effectiveness and efficiency
In the letter to the Open State Foundation, the minister expressed that the awareness among all ministries is growing that open data is – and should be – an important part of the daily work process. The minister also recognises that through open data and increasing transparency in public administration there may be more effective and efficient types of co-operation between government, citizens and businesses.
The minister agrees with the call of the Open State Foundation to give insight to what datasets departments have and follows the line of Open State to also create an appropriate overview on when the data becomes available. In this way re-users can anticipate and be able to criticise the quality of the available data.
Local governments and Brussels: follow the example!
Open State hopes that local governments and Brussels will follow the example. For example: the results of a data inventory can help a municipality to prioritise which data sets should be unlocked on the basis of public demand.
Open State Foundation believes that legislation helps cultural change. On the 18th of July a European directive enters into force on the re-use of public sector information. The Dutch parliament is also working on a new Open Government Act (WOB).