Course on Open government and transparency in the knowledge society organized by Fundación Telefónica as part of the Summer School that the Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo holds every year in Santander. This was with any doubt a unique venue to discuss about one of the issues we are really passionate about and to share all the challenges faced by Euroalert as an 'open data company' which uses public sector data in order to create value services for SMEs in all Europe.
After the opening conference which highlighted the decisive changes prompted by technology on the capacity citizens have nowadays to take active part in the activities carried out by public sector, the first panel of the course focused on a revision of the concepts of transparency and open government. Panellists reviewed the current situation of the proposal for a Spanish Law on Transparency, Access to Public Information and Good Governance, its virtues and weaknesses, and forecasted that this law should probably be approved by the beginning of year 2013. It was also underlined how transparency in public sector's activity is crucial to support the credibility and confidence required in order to boost economic growth, as well as the importance of citizens' involvement in generating such process of transparency.
The last session left the floor to the discussion about the potential wealth creation lying on the re-use of public sector data. This panel where Euroalert had the pleasure to take part, highlighted the role played by the analysis of data related to public sector activity as a tool to improve its own efficiency and policy assessment. As an open data company, Euroalert had the opportunity to present its own case as a company using data held by public administrations and bodies in order to create services such as alerts of government contracts published by public administrations in all the EU, lists of successful bidders in EU public procurement or market reports based of public procurement data which help companies of all types to access new business opportunities and make their businesses grow.
By closing the first day of the course, Euroalert acted as a link for a second day which was more focused on the technical aspects of Open Data. The need to open up as many sources of data as possible, the challenge to aggregate data in projects such as the one carried out by Euroalert to create the first pan-European public procurement platform, the importance of data contextualization and the difficulties lying in their management, storage and linkage, were some of the issues pointed out during this session which are all faced by Euroalert every day in order to bring you better and better services to help you in your activities and businesses.
The course ended up by setting a roadmap for open government and by highlighting the fact that, whilst the success of this process for openness will strongly depend on the willingness of all those who are involved in it, it is with no doubt an opportunity for improvement and growth especially in difficult times.
You can download here the programme of the Course on open government and transparency in the knowledge society. We also share here the presentation we used in the Course (Spanish version only).