Birmingham Data & Skills Hub

Project timeframe: Sept 2014 - Mar 2015

A Digital Birmingham led consortium including partners - Aston University, Boilerhouse, Podnosh and RAWN - has received around £124K funded under the Release of Data fund that will help accelerate and automate open data extraction and publication processes from Birmingham City Council's proprietary systems onto Birmingham's new Open Data Hub.

Funding from the Cabinet Office supported the development of a Birmingham Data & Skills Hub this will act as a catalyst to encourage citizens, communities, third sector to understand the value of open data to help solve community issues that matter most to them.

Community groups in Birmingham, such as Open Mercia, West Midlands Open Data Forum, and Balsall Heath Forum have voiced a need to understand data to help them campaign, plan and influence commissioning of services and support service planning. However the lack of awareness and data literacy skills is preventing greater social benefits and opportunities occurring.

To tackle this, organisations - Podnosh and RAWN are developing a range of open data engagement activities that include use of the award winning Social Media Surgeries and working with existing neighbourhood groups to develop residents' interest in data and enhance the activity of networks.

Funding also includes the development of easy to use visualisation tools by Boilerhouse that will help create a level playing field in the use of data for third sector and communities, avoiding the need for technical skills by providing simple to use interfaces and applications.

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