The government is funding £150,000 for training public servants to better understand the opportunities presented by open data. The money will go towards courses run by the Open Data Institute (ODI), which will train public-sector employees on how to make data more usable.
The funding comes as part of a £1.5m government push for open data initiatives, with money assigned to the Open Data User Group. A £50,000 fund will enable 74 key government department staff to attend ODI courses, while a further £100,000 will go towards embedding open data in public procurement activities, and training 120 procurement officers.
The ODI's head of training Kathryn Corrick told V3 that while many organisations are doing good work on releasing data for public use, progress needs to be made in order to make the information accessible for all, and not just machines.
"What people are struggling with is making data that humans can use," she said. Using the Office for National Statistics as an example, she said that while their data was very well presented for use by computer programs, for humans it was harder to make sense of.
She added that there was also a focus on ensuring no data protection laws would be breached when data was released.
The ODI's open data courses, which come in the form of one-day or five-day events, also cater for businesses looking to make better use of their data and focus on both teaching and sharing experiences from the attendees themselves, according to Corrick. "By the time they're done there's as much learned from each other as there is learned from us," she said.
Corrick explained that different organisations will have different ways of measuring success in their open data initiatives, with either apps or websites based around the data, such as those which have sprung up around Transport for London's openly accessible live transport data.
Further information on other organisations that have been awarded grants to assist with the spread of open data initiatives throughout the public sector will be announced in due course, the Cabinet Office said.
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