Co-producing the data commitment for Scotland’s Open Government Action Plan

April 7, 2022 by No Comments | Category Data, Digital Scotland, Statistics

Hi, my name is Martin Macfie and I lead the Open Data team in the Scottish Government’s, Digital Directorate.

In my blog, Collaborating on Open Data in Scotland, which I wrote in September 2021, I mentioned that we were in the process of co-producing the data commitment for the next 4-year Open Government Action Plan with members of civil society and CoSLA. I’m pleased to say that the plan has been published on the Open Government Partnership website with a more detailed version published on the Scottish Government website last month. Now the plan has been launched, I wanted to tell you a bit about what is contained within the data commitment and how we created it.


As members of the Open Government Partnership, we’re working alongside governments from all over the world to open up government by committing to the values of openness, transparency, accountability and citizen participation. This is the third Open Government Action Plan that the Scottish Government has published and consists of a number of commitments spanning across government. These cover the following themes:

  • Fiscal Openness and Transparency
  • Health and Social Care
  • Data (which our area is responsible for)
  • Climate change
  • Powering Participation in Scotland

What activities are contained within the data commitment?

There are 6 broad activities within our commitment, whose full name is “Supporting Government openness, transparency and empowerment through open data”. These are to:

  1. Open up data relevant to other open government themes, such as key climate change datasets used by government for modelling and reporting, data on public transport and public sector expenditure
  2. Run a CivTech challenge to evaluate if technology can make public sector data easy to find, assess outcomes and set out the way forward
  3. Set up the Data Transformation Framework stating what ‘good data’ looks like and the process by which organisations can improve – this focuses on opportunity for organisations to improve data maturity, data literacy and adoption of standards, through collaboration and engagement with local government and other public sector bodies, to be useful for civil society
  4. Review the front end of our official statistics open data publishing platform,
  5. Increase the amount of Scottish public sector open data being published, through collaborations such as the Data Standards and Open Data Community of Practice
  6. Develop a public register of AI algorithms

The activities contained with the data commitment build on existing commitments in Scotland’s Digital Strategy and Scotland’s AI Strategy published last year, and support their delivery using open government principles. We also intend to share examples of the value generated from use cases and keeping sharing and learning from best practice in an iterative manner.

Collaborating to produce the commitment

We have used collaborative tools to produce and refine the content of the plan. For example, Albert King, our Chief Data Officer, and I participated in a public workshop on the data commitment. We also held a series of focused meetings with our Open Government civil society partners, in which they fed back the views of civil society. From there, we co-wrote and iterated the plan using a shared document over summer and early autumn 2021. We intend to publish more information on this process on the open government pages of the Scottish Government website.

We have welcomed both the constructive challenge and collaborative support from our stakeholders, in particular our civil society representatives for the data commitment.

The co-production of the data commitment serves as a great example of positive collaboration between Scottish Government and our stakeholders. This is vital if Scotland is to succeed in its economic, social and environmental ambitions using open government principles. Details of the data commitment can also be found on the Open Government Partnership website.

Please feel free to contact or if you would like to find out more.

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