Municipal midterms: four tips for the latter half

This week we mark the midterm of the municipal elections of 2014. Consider this a good time to take stock. Open State Foundation has made all local coalition agreements accessible and searchable. With Open Coalitieakkoorden you can find all local coalition accords that have been signed since the municipal elections of 2014. For open and transparent municipalities, we have four tips.

1. Make local data inventories

What already has been done by most government departments at a national level, should be done also on decentral level. An open data inventory helps cities to know what data they keep, collect and preserve but it also helps citizens, companies and civic organisations to understand what information municipalities hold.

2. Learn the law on the re-use of government information

Since the introduction of the law we noticed that Dutch government departments have not made the necessary decisions to implement this legislation. Also on a local level, civil servants are not familiar with the law and its implications. They are not familiar with open standards, machine-readability and there is a lack of incentive to respond to re-use requests in a timely manner.

3. Open municipal council data

In the Netherlands a first step is made with open data of municipalities to better understand the functioning of local democracy. With releasing meetings, agenda’s and other documents of local municipalities as open data, six Dutch municipal councils make already re-use of this data possible.

4. Openspending detail data

With budgets and spending data of all Dutch municipalities and regional authorities are already published quarterly. Each quarter all local and regional governments send financial information on budgets and spending to the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics. The data is then released as open data. However the data is released on an aggregated level. The next step is to open up detailed income and expenditure data of Dutch cities. Five Dutch municipalities already have released detailed openspending data.