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CityX: ideas into action

City Data Sharing Toolkit

Find out how the City Data Sharing Toolkit can help innovative UK companies and organisations to share data effectively; improving public services and developing useful applications for citizens.

To meet the complex needs of modern cities, the public sector is increasingly working with innovative UK businesses and other organisations. At the same time, data about the things that make our cities tick is being gathered in greater quantities.

This data can be shared and used to build better services and make cities work better for citizens.

But data sharing can be confusing. So at the Catapult, we’ve created a City Data Sharing Toolkit to make it simpler.


Download the toolkit here.

The Toolkit demonstrates how collaboration can help organisations to achieve their aims better and faster. It provides a guide to developing processes for sharing data effectively and securely.

Below, Toolkit Manager Tom Leaver talks more about what the Toolkit is designed to help you do.

We are still developing the City Data Sharing Toolkit and want to hear from you. Tell us about the types of data you want to share,  the barriers to sharing data, and what we might include in the toolkit to help you to overcome them. Contact Yalena Coleman.

Get in touch if you are interested in learning more or if you would like us to deliver a workshop on implementing the City Data Sharing Toolkit.

Q&A: The Evolution of the City Data Sharing Toolkit

Tom Leaver is the City Data Sharing Toolkit Project Manager. He sets out what the Toolkit is designed to achieve.

What is the City Data Sharing Toolkit? What does it seek to do?

The toolkit will help those working in city government roles and associated organisations (such as transport or public health bodies) to adapt their working practices in order to be able to share valuable non-personal data with others. It also explains how to receive data from other organisations safely, and how to use it.
It was developed after conversations with data sharing experts from around the country, as well as people from local government, innovative UK SMEs and think-tanks, all of whom helped to create the early toolkit. It focuses on the non-technical aspects of sharing data which are often overlooked but can be barriers to success.

The toolkit includes guidance, suggested approaches and resources for sharing non-personal data, with links to assessment tools, case studies and online learning modules.

What is the challenge that the City Data Sharing Toolkit will address?

Poor access to city data often prevents innovation and effective collaboration across organisations, which in turn can hinder the effective planning and delivery of services. It also blocks opportunities for UK companies to work alongside them to create the innovative new products needed for our cities of the future.

As more public sector organisations adapt to working together (for example in Combined Authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships and Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships), the need for data to be shared becomes more pressing, but organisations canlack the expertise to do this effectively.

Barriers include a lack of confidence among staff, inadequate knowledge, lack of data infrastructure, access to contracts and concerns over intellectual property. As a result, sharing data between government, health and transport bodies, businesses and universities in a secure, timely and responsible manner can be difficult.

We hope that the City Data Sharing Toolkit will demystify the process and help those working in the public sector and those supplying data services to find a common language and approach.

What are the main benefits of the City Data Sharing Toolkit?

Changing demographics, growing populations and limitations on public finance all point to a greater need for collaboration between organisations.The toolkit can help develop an infrastructure for data sharing and foster a culture of openness.

Data sharing is not just a technical process. It is also about building collaboration. By enabling the sharing of information, knowledge and wisdom between and through organisations, the toolkit will help them to work together to deliver social and financial benefits.

Sharing data implies an exchange of value – be that insight, resource or goodwill. By sharing data organisations can expect to gain:
Cultural value internally from new insights
Financial value generated by providing data to other organisations which then supports delivery of other services – for example, councils selling data to businesses and using the resulting revenue streams to fund essential services.

Data sharing can help to get the maximum benefits from data now becoming available via new technologies. For example, sensors that monitor traffic flow, driving apps, and fleet management systems all provide data which can be combined to make useful predictions about traffic flows in cities, helping address the common problem of congestion.

How can you help to make the City Data Sharing Toolkit a success?

This is the first version of the toolkit and we’re hoping to be able to develop further versions on the basis of further engagement with cities and innovative UK SMEs. The toolkit is published under a Creative Commons license which allows others to reuse the content and suggest further amendments.

If you work in the public sector and have a particular data set you would like to access or share we would like you to get in touch to discuss how we can help you by facilitating workshops to implement the toolkit in your organisation.

If you are a business, we would like you to tell us what city data you would like to access and why, and to share any examples of how you have tried to access city data from a council or local authority and whether you have been successful or not.

Contact us at (link) for a discussion about next steps
Find out how we co-created the City Data Sharing Toolkit in our blog

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