Commitment 3: data and digital commitment
Action 1: Open up data relevant to other open government themes, such as key climate change datasets used by government for modelling and reporting, data on public transport and public sector expenditure.
Progress and next steps
Following discussions at the end of 2022 to draft a collaborative milestone for this action plan, we have engaged with the Fiscal Transparency Programme. Data colleagues attended constructive meetings with the project team to provide input on good practice in open data and data standards. This forms part of the data review document produced during the alpha phase of the project.
Encouraging conversations with Climate Change colleagues have taken place on the potential for opening up data to support engagement with the climate agenda. An initial possibility being considered is the energy and emissions data which underpin the modelling used to inform the scenarios for Scotland’s Climate Change Plan. Further work is needed to determine if there is a use case and whether data availability and licensing will make this a feasible option.
The Health and Social Care Data Strategy was published in February. It sets out the approach to opening up access to data that is useful, relevant and accessible for the public. It aspires to
- build trust through participatory engagement, increasing transparency and empowering people
- create the conditions for a mature approach to ensuring value from information, providing the right tools to staff
- introduce a more balanced, federated model of decision making, reducing variation across Scotland in terms of what can and cannot be shared
There are plans for a technical data standards board as part of the strategy’s implementation.
The Pilot Public Engagement Panel exploring data ethics was organised in 2022 by the Scottish Government, Research Data Scotland, Sciencewise and Ipsos Scotland. It brought together 30 Scottish citizens, representative of the broader population, to produce guidelines for the ethical use of data and a vision for continuous engagement with citizens on the use of data. Analysis of the panel’s feedback will be shared in a report. We intend to share findings from the report and insights from the deliberative approach with the other Open Government commitments.
- continue our engagement with the Fiscal Transparency Programme to support their Data Review and Data Strategy
- investigate the feasibility of opening specific climate change data, including the use case, data availability and licensing
- continue to offer our support to the Health and Social Care data strategy team
- share guidelines and insights from the Pilot Public Engagement Panel with open government commitments
Action 2: Run a CivTech challenge to evaluate if technology can make public sector data easy to find, assess outcomes and set out the way forward.
Progress and next steps
The Scottish Government is continuing to work with the Data & Intelligence Network and NatureScot on a CivTech Data Discoverability Challenge to evaluate if technology can make public sector data, held across multiple portals, easier to find, access and use.
The Beta version of the Dtechtive data discovery search engine, developed by Dtime, is now publicly available. It was presented to members of the Data Standards and Open Data Community of Practice in April to gather feedback on existing features and seek ideas for future development.
The solution can discover open data and commercial data with insights on data quality and dataset usage.
- discover hidden datasets using simple terms
- preview and download data from a single portal
- get notifications and recommendations on data sets and data providers
- give feedback to providers
- register and promote datasets
- gather insights on metadata, data quality and dataset use
- access an overview of the datasets associated with organisations, topics and regions
An application programming interface (API) can integrate the Dtechtive with an organisation’s own webpage search to draw out datasets more easily.
Benefits for users include saving time, money and improved decision making. Providers benefit by generating interest, improving quality, better understanding user needs and gaining competitive advantages.
Current data coverage focuses on Scotland. The future roadmap sets out plans to increase coverage, generate metadata, produce additional insights, provide an interactive dialogue with users and create machine readable formats from static datasets.
- gather user feedback on the Beta version
- Scottish Government branding for Dtechtive
- increase the number of data sources on the site and develop a roadmap for this
Action 3: Set up the Data Transformation Framework stating what ‘good data’ looks like and the process by which organisations can improve – this focuses on opportunity for organisations to improve data maturity, data literacy and adoption of standards, through collaboration and engagement with local government and other public sector bodies, to be useful for civil society.
Progress and next steps
Work is underway to use the knowledge gained from the two facilitated data maturity cohorts that have taken place so far, to build a modular, self-supporting approach to the programme. We plan to have a minimum viable product (MVP) available by late summer and to trial this later in the year. We will run a third cohort in autumn 2023 which will take into account previous cohort learnings, the MVP trial findings and the importance of foundational projects, as well as using our core personas to provide shared insights from the data maturity assessment all participants complete.
Pathways products for data strategy and data governance are being built by capturing resources from the previous data maturity cohorts so they can be included in the modular approach.
We have completed a second persona project which has provided representation of people in the public sector most likely to engage early with the Data Transformation Framework and help develop pathways and guidance. These are already in use, both for the development of a data standards pathway and for a University of Edinburgh consultancy project, which produced recommendations on approach and techniques to encourage engagement with the Framework.
This work will feed into strategic guidance and principles for the four foundations to data improvement (leadership, data governance, data strategy and data discovery). Alongside work on data strategy and data governance, knowledge gained through engagement with the advisory group for the CivTech Dtechtive work will inform the discoverability foundation.
We are also in the early stages of considering potential options for a peer network for public sector data leaders to support the leadership foundation.
We have taken the first steps to consider the structure and mechanism to populate a public-facing wiki to share the materials supporting the data transformation framework in an open, collaborative and participative way.
- continue work on the MVP for the modular, self-guided data maturity programme
- complete pathway products for data strategy and data governance
- share knowledge from the CivTech data discoverability project to inform the discoverability foundation of data improvement
- create a suitable wiki platform to make data transformation framework resources openly available
Action 4: Review the front end of our official statistics open data publishing platform, www.statistics.gov.scot.
Progress and next steps
We are looking to simplify some of the technical language on statistics.gov.scot, using the Hemingway Editor. This provides a reading age for written text on the site and will be helpful in making the open data platform more accessible to users.
- we plan to test out some of the language on statistics.gov.scot, using the Hemingway Editor
- we are currently considering options to commission further user research on the journeys to focus improvements and maximise impact from the data that we publish on the site. This user research is subject to funding, which at present is unclear
Action 5: Increase the amount of Scottish public sector open data being published, through collaborations such as the Data Standards and Open Data Community of Practice.
Progress and next steps
Over the last 9 months or so, we have been growing a Community of Practice for Data Standards and Open Data within the Scottish public sector. The broad aim of this community is to further our common goals of increasing the adoption of data standards and the publication of more open data within Scotland’s public sector, which are vital if Scotland is to succeed in its economic, social, and environmental ambitions. So far, we have well over 100 members, with over 25 specific data champions representing organisations across the public sector, and momentum is growing. Since the start of 2023, we have organised twice-monthly drop-in sessions for community members and more widely on a range of topics in the open data, data standards and maturity, such as use of open-source tools such as github, the CivTech challenge on making data easier to find and in June, we will be running a session on the open government action plan data commitment. These sessions have not just been led by colleagues in the Scottish Government; we strongly encourage all members of the community, and colleagues from elsewhere to present and share good practice and learning in the spirit of collaboration. A particular event of relevance was a Community of Practice workshop on making the language around open data and data standards simpler to follow. This should enable greater understanding of some of the technical terminology in the area and encourage the uptake of greater publication of open data to improve outcomes and ultimately be a more open government.
In March we appointed a supplier to deliver a series of public workshops and conduct research to inform refreshed guidance for open data producers. This builds on initial stakeholder conversations to scope the requirement that took place at the end of 2022. The guidance will help organisations understand and realise the benefits of open data and the practical steps to help them on their journey to open up data.
The desk-based research will review the open data landscape in Scotland and elsewhere, providing case studies and exploring the cultural, technical, operational and strategic policy context for opening up data. It will provide thorough evidence to inform our understanding of the open data landscape across other administrations, the successes, good practice, challenges and impacts.
The workshops aim to test out thinking and gather user perspectives of what the refreshed guidance should and should not include. We will invite representatives from the public sector, private sector, academia and civil society to take part. The workshops will explore how we can help organisations see the value in opening up data, overcome barriers and increase the value and impact of opening up data in a sustainable way. We will seek views on how to collate examples of good practice, communicate and disseminate the refreshed technical guidance.
The work is taking place between March and August 2023. We will share a report on the outcomes of the workshops with those taking part and we intend to publish the desk-based research.
- plan and organise the workshop sessions with reporting by the end of June 2023
- carry out desk-based research during May 2023
- final project report due by September 2023
Action 6: Develop a public register of AI algorithms.
Progress and next steps
The Scottish AI Register was formally launched in March 2023 at the Scottish AI Summit. The Register provides information on the Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems in use or in development within the Scottish public sector.
Using the Register, both members of the public and those working in AI in the public sector can get to know the basics of the AI systems, examine them in more detail, and learn where we are using data to help make decisions.
Users are also invited to engage with us, asking questions and giving feedback, to help us develop trustworthy, ethical and inclusive AI systems.
For public sector users the Register is designed to help those starting out on their AI journey by providing them with structure and guidance to adopt a consistent, ethical and open approach to developing and using AI, which is essential to earning the public’s trust.
We are currently seeking ministerial approval to make use of the AI Register mandatory at least within the core SG, but in the meantime we are engaging across the Scottish Government and the Scottish public sector to incentivise participation by demonstrating the benefits of developing AI in the open and positioning the register as a shared central resource.
Two AI use cases are currently included, one from the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration, considering children at risk, and one from the NHS/Scottish Government, which aims to make access to public services easier for people with disabilities.
- we hope to make inclusion in the register a mandatory step in using AI in the Scottish public sector
- we will work with public and third sector users to help them investigate potential efficiencies through shared innovation and best practice
- we will continue to work with our contractor to identify national and international opportunities to highlight the best practice demonstrated in Scotland’s use of AI
2023 milestones under Action 1
The Scottish Government Data Division will work with the Fiscal Transparency Programme to share best practice and incorporate content on data standards, FAIR and open data principles, specifically within the Data Review Document developed in the alpha phase of the of the Fiscal Transparency Programme and the programme’s Data Strategy.
Support climate change policy and analytical colleagues to identify the specific data that can be published openly considering existing data and use cases for opening climate data.
Maintain contact with leads developing the Data Strategy for Health and Social Care to ensure guiding principles for relevant data standards are built into implementation plans from early on.
Promote lessons learned from Pilot Public Engagement Panel with other OG commitments.
2023 milestones under action 2
Publicly launch the Beta version of the Dtechtive data discoverability search engine in March 2023 and introduce Scottish Government branding later in the year. With the CivTech advisory group, consisting of public, private and third sectors, create a technical roadmap for developing the open data sources register to assist discovery and publish clear documentation supporting its use.
2023 milestones under action 3
With the public sector develop and trial a modular data maturity package to offer a self-supporting approach to data maturity and developing action plan.
With public sector organisations, develop data maturity pathway products for Data Governance and Data Strategy.
Provide principles/strategic guidance on use of the four foundations to data improvement - Leadership, governance, strategy and discoverability aligning to the pathway products.
Develop a new data transformation wiki site to gather and publish supporting materials in an open, participative and collaborative way.
2023 milestones under action 4
Improve the language used on statistics.gov.scot to increase user engagement and accessibility for users of the site.
2023 milestones under action 5
Run a series of public workshops to include different sectors to test out thinking on areas including overcoming barriers, demonstrating value and communicating open data guidance.
Start to develop refreshed technical guidance to help organisations understand and realise the benefits of open data and the practical steps to help them on their journey to open up their data informed by public workshop views.
Use the public sector Community of Practice on Data Standards and Open Data, which is comprised of central and local government and other public bodies to test out thinking for the refreshed technical guidance.
2023 milestones under action 6
In February 2023 launch the Scottish AI Register to share with the public examples of AI in use or development across the public sector.
Provide public facing information regarding the AI being used, the data sets which support it and clear user-friendly descriptions of the process and outcomes. We will also share details of the organisations that have access to the data, and the retention and disposal details.
Initially share two AI use cases, one from SCRA considering children at risk, and one from the NHS/SG which aims to make access to public services easier for people with disabilities. We will work with colleagues across the public sector to identify and record any potential future use of AI in their on-going work.
There is a problem
Thanks for your feedback