This chapter details a conversation between open data advocates and a civil servant in charge of the process, which reveals the challenges of getting government data made open. Without an injection of funds, an open data initiative called the Regional Data Lab, was in danger of winding down. Government had very little interest in making their data available, and even less enthusiasm for spending money during austerity. And open data was not free data; somebody had to pay for the labour of preparing data for release and building the necessary data infrastructure. What the Regional Data Lab does is take what data are already openly available and make them useable for those that lack the skills to build their own tools so they can use them in formulating policy. Rather than negotiating separate contracts every time, it would make more sense to simply centrally fund the Regional Data Lab to provide a suite of core data services. However, the advocates are more interested in the development of a national open data repository and access to more data, and a coordinated approach to providing data analytics for the public sector.
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