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Solace blog

1st March 2019

Open Data in Calderdale

Saturday 2nd March is Open Data Day. This is an annual celebration of open data all over the world and a great opportunity to raise awareness and show the benefits of open data (efficiency, transparency, innovation and economic growth).

Here in Calderdale we have proactively and enthusiastically embraced Open Data, putting it at the heart of our Digital and ICT Strategy and working to become ‘open by default’ because:

– we believe in transparency and we want our residents and our civil society to have access to data which helps to shift power and gives meaning to local democracy

– we have untapped hidden wealth of talent in our communities which we can unlock though access to data and shared conversations

We have published almost 250 datasets on Calderdale DataWorks (5 in the country based on datasets on, with a wide range of datasets such as business rates, spending, schools, workforce, land and building assets, air quality, parking, and libraries data. We publish a range of ward profiles and visualisations on digital inclusion, neighbourhoods, public health, population and poverty which provide more depth and value in these areas. This data has been popular with elected members and is well used by local community and voluntary groups for
research and to support funding bids.

We publish data driven by demand through regular FOI requests, to support our local priorities and to inform innovation events in the thriving digital sector locally and regionally. As founding members of ODI Leeds, we collaborate with partners in the public and private sector on projects, hacks and innovation labs on key issues such as flooding, air quality, sport, and physical activity, highways and transport.

Embracing Open Data is a different way of working for local government. It means accepting that we may not have all the answers (or the money!) and by making more of our data available (in the right formats), we can enable those with the skills, resources, and motivation to add value, find new angles, create solutions and help us to understand our towns and communities better.

We also have to accept that being transparent means holding us to account. But if that’s based on data, intelligence, and evidence, then that’s a good thing too. To make this easier, we’ve developed an interactive performance dashboard that allows citizens to interrogate our performance over 70 indicators linked to our key priorities and our Vision 2024.

Calderdale will be 50 years old in 2024, and we want the Calderdale of the future to be a place where you can realise your potential whoever you are, whether your voice has been heard or unheard in the past. We aspire to be a place where talent and enterprise can thrive. A place defined by our innate kindness and resilience, and by how our people care for each other, are able to recover from setbacks and are full of hope. Calderdale will stand out, be known, and be distinctive. We want Calderdale to be a great place to visit, but most importantly, a place to live a larger life; and
our commitment to transparency really supports this vision.

As part of our collaboration with ODI Leeds and Data Mill North, we’re running a survey to get feedback on who is using our open data, how they are using it and what they would like to see more of. If this blog has stirred your interest, please take a few minutes to share your thoughts – Open Data Feedback.

A post by  Robin Tuddenham,  Chief Executive Calderdale MBC and Claire Broadbent, Performance and Business Intelligence Lead Calderdale MBC.