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Dutch Court of Audit: Open data in the Netherlands: work to be done

Author: Adrian Offerman

Although the Dutch government is actively working on initiatives to make government data publicly available for re-use, it's not doing enough. According to the "Trend report open data 2015" recently published by the Dutch National Audit Office (Court of Audit), the level of available open data has not substantially increased over the last year, departments are using their own websites instead of the Dutch open data portal data.overheid.nl to publish their datasets, and most of the available information is geo-data provided by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (Rijkswaterstaat). Data related to government processes and finances allowing the public to monitor their government, i.e. transparency information, is lacking.

Recommendations

In their conclusions, the authors of the report provide four recommendations:

  1. State ambitions and milestones in a concrete action plan. The results of the current data inventory being conducted at the central government by the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations should lead to a concrete agreement between government and parliament on the release of specific datasets.
  2. Create legislation that forces public agencies to make their data publicly available.
  3. Create a National Information Infrastructure as part of the action plan, providing guarantees as to the public availability of data regarded to be of the highest interest to society.
  4. Start providing and using open data to improve policies and transparency, for example as part of the current decentralisation of social services.

The UK and the USA are recommended by the authors as examples of advanced countries with regard to open data provisioning and legislation.