What data should the Ministry of Justice open up?

The Ministry of Justice has listed 43 unpublished data-sets that could be opened up for public use.

It is part of a public consultation on the National Information Infrastructure (NII), a new initiative for improving government data.

The government is currently identifying which datasets should be included. For the MoJ, these include case management systems, language services information, custodial data and much more [listed below]. So far there is next to no feedback on these.

chaseIf you think these would be valuable open data sets, you need to create a data.gov.uk profile if you don’t already have one, and ‘add feedback’ under the dataset you’re interested in. You’ll be asked how opening the data will be beneficial to society/ the economy/public services etc. and to give some [public] comments.

That would probably also be the place to raise any concerns or suggestions about the way in which the data should be released.

Thanks to Max Froumentin at the MoJ for alerting me to this.

The unpublished datasets (listed alphabetically)

This entry was posted in academic research, access to justice, courts, criminal law, data, digital open justice, education, freedom of information and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to What data should the Ministry of Justice open up?

  1. This looks very exciting… but I can’t work out exactly what they’re proposing to do.

    I can’t help but feel that this consultation (if that’s what it is) has been cobbled together on a whim – it’s not very clear what they’re planning to do. How am I supposed to respond to whether I think it’s a good thing to make, for example, the Care Monitoring System or Family Man, dataset publicly available if I have no idea a) what fields that dataset contains, b) what level of detail will be made available?

  2. jtownend says:

    I agree the format of the consultation is a bit frustrating. It seems geared towards open data people / developers so may miss capturing the views of academics, journalists and lawyers etc. even though the NII blog post suggests they’re trying to reach a range of stakeholders.
    It seems likely that the data would probably be released in a much narrower format than the overall descriptions suggest and of course, they would have to think carefully about anonymity / security issues.
    I was keen to flag it up on the blog, as it is an opportunity to discuss the possibilities for opening up data (eg. could enable the development of case trackers; better statistical analysis) but perhaps (a) more information is needed before precise views can be given and (b) we need a more flexible consultation format.

    • Agree! Well, look forward to seeing what happens when the datasets are unleashed…

    • Yes, indeed. It’s worth noting that in soliciting views on the “National Information Infrastructure”, Cabinet Office are not giving any assurances that data identified as priorities will be released for open re-use (even if there are no barriers from data protection, etc.).

      All Cabinet Office seem to be planning to do with NII is feed some metrics back to the data-holding departments. They may be able to twist a few arms as well, but I doubt they will have much leverage at MOJ. (MOJ are after all the department with primary responsibility for information rights and public sector information.)

      I agree the NII exercise is geared towards “open data people” and developers. This has been an ongoing weakness in Cabinet Office’s user engagement process. There seems to be little recognition that the potential benefits from unlocking public data extend far beyond the relatively small subset of re-users who are tuned in to the policy arguments around open data and transparency.

      It will probably do no harm to vote for the datasets you want using the new Data.gov.uk functionality. The NII exercise is useful for purposes of data discovery if nothing else. However I have low expectations for any substantial outcomes, given how few data releases came out of the Coalition’s previous demand-led request process (i.e. the now-defunct Data Strategy Board).

  3. Julie Doughty says:

    Thanks _very_ much for this Judith as I had not heard about it elsewhere. I can see immediately which datasets are relevant to my research interests but that’s not quite the same as making a case that the wider public would want access to it, is it?

    • Arguably, “Open Data by Default” (Principle 1 of the G8 Open Data Charter to which the UK recently signed up) means that you shouldn’t have to make that case. The onus is on government departments to demonstrate why their datasets are not open. However it doesn’t hurt to give them supporting examples of how the data could be re-used beneficially, for purposes of prioritisation.

  4. One item I don’t see on that list is the CCJs dataset that Registry Trust maintains on behalf of MOJ. The dataset is available for commercial licensing but not as open data, so it should definitely be inventoried on Data.gov.uk as an “unpublished” MOJ dataset.

  5. Pingback: FOI ideas: the Ministry of Justice data that isn’t published – but could be? | The Help Me Investigate Blog

  6. steveharrison61 says:

    None of the data sets above look frightfully interesting to me and I can’t really see the value of this exercise – but I’m open to any ideas their potential usefulness!

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