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October 20, 2011 / Jo Ivens

DataBridge report – Introduction

The DataBridge project came out of CityCamp Brighton in March 2011 from a conversation about how the voluntary sector could make the most of open data and capitalise on the burgeoning open data movement. After discussion with the sector and with project partners we adjusted the scope to look at how VCS use their own data, existing public datasets, as well as starting to discuss issues around data-sharing and open data.

Where we’ve discussed open data, we have used the LinkedGov definition:

Open data is non-personally identifiable data produced by a public body in the course of its ordinary business, which has been released under an unrestricted licence (like the Open Government Licence).

It is underpinned by the philosophy that data generated or collected by organisations in the public sector should belong to the taxpayers, wherever financially feasible and where releasing it won’t violate any laws or rights to privacy (either for citizens or government staff).

About Us

DataBridge has been run by Jo Ivens, independent policy advisor on the voluntary sector and local government, and analysts at OCSI, a research organisation focusing on data analysis and public service improvement. Support and advice has been provided by Emma Daniel at CVSF.

The Project

Six groups were invited to be part of the project following conversations at CityCamp, with CVSF and with SCIP. As this was a light-touch, unfunded project we did not to run a wider recruitment process.

We interviewed senior managers in the six organisations along with staff responsible for data management where appropriate, and wrote a brief report for each group with our observations and any recommendations for them in terms of data sources. We have drawn most of our findings and recommendations from these interviews, and from wider conversations with council officers and voluntary sector experts. A full list of these is at the end of this section.

In addition, OCSI undertook a brief research project with Amaze, using their Compass database of children with disabilities. This project was designed to generate transferable learning and OCSI have produced not only a report and a series of maps illustrating their findings, but some ‘How To’ guides designed to enable other organisations to replicate this work. These will be published on Friday 21 October in conjunction with our feedback event.

This Report

We have divided this report into four sections which have been published as separate blogs, but can be read together as one report:


  1. Groups’ characteristics
  2. Groups’ reflections


  1. On sharing data and needs assessment
  2. On open data

The Groups

We spoke with the following people as part of the project:

Vicky Watson, Brighton & Hove CAB

Paul Sweeting, Advice Partnership

Chris Lau, The Carers Centre for Brighton and Hove

Ann Hickey, East Sussex Credit Union

Colin Holden, East Sussex Credit Union

Rachel Travers, Amaze

Tina Brownbill, Amaze

Kat Marples, MindOut

Helen Jones, MindOut

Chris Brown, Grassroots

Kerry Dedman, Grassroots

Other Contributors

DataBridge project and early findings were discussed with:

Paul Colbran Head of ICT, BHCC and Chief Information Officer

Sophie Cox Business Engagement Manager, BHCC

Mark Watson Head of ICT Systems, BHCC

Claire Wardman Research Officer (Needs Assessments), BHCC

David Golding Senior Research Officer, BHCC

Richard Miles Performance Analyst, BHCC

Simon Ewing Data & Information Manager (BHLIS), BHCC

Mark Walker SCIP

Andy Winter Brighton Housing Trust

John Holmstrom Brighton Housing Trust

Dave Wolff Director, Community University Partnerships Programme, Brighton University

For more information about the project or findings please contact Jo Ivens (

Go to:

Chapter 1 – characteristics of the groups
Chapter 2 – reflections from the groups
Chapter 3 – recommendations for Partnership
Chapter 4 – recommendations on open data

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