At Talk About Local we hope that in time local websites become major beneficiaries of greater transparency in local public data. It’s a great tragedy that fear of crime has increased while actual crime rates have fallen in many cases. Accurate and responsible use of data about crime and the justice system can help tackle a misplaced fear of crime. Local people running local websites, to my mind have little incentive to sensationalise crime.
I have written a fair bit on this on my Kings Cross site and have at times even done my own analysis of local crime data. A number of local website publishers feel particularly strongly that the public isn’t served well by the ante-diluvian rules surrounding the publication of results from local magistrates courts. To tackle fear of crime, which is a localised phenomenon, you need to show justice being done locally – that isn’t possible in England today. I contributed as a member to the Local Public Data Panel’s submission to the Home Office work on ‘Policing in the C21st’.
I’m delighted to be invited onto the new Crime and Justice Sector Panel on Transparency. The government is convening sector transparency panels in several areas of public policy to help drive work open data forward in greater detail than the central transparency board could manage. It’s unpaid, and given the state of the public sector there probably won’t even be any biscuits.
The first meeting is next week and the terms of reference have just come around and are pasted in below. I’ve not yet met all the members but I can see some contrasting views in there which should lead to a healthy debate. It’s normal at a first meeting to discuss the TOR – I’d welcome any comments that I can feed in or any general observations on the subject area.
Crime and Justice Transparency: Sector Panel Terms of Reference
Chair: Kieron O’Hara, University of Southampton
Purpose: Champion the release of public data and information sharing across the crime and justice sectors.
Secretariat: Home Office / Ministry of Justice
• Allan J. Brimicombe, University of East London
• Will Perrin, Talk About Local
• Liam Maxwell, Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead
• Emer Coleman, Greater London Authority
• Ailsa Beaton, Metropolitan Police Service
• Joe Tuke, Victim’s Commissioner’s Office
• Jeff Gardner, Victim Support
• Phil Golding, Office of the Senior Presiding Judge
• Meagan Mirza, Information Commissioner’s Office
• Gus Jaspert, Home Office
• Cass Chideock, Cabinet Office
• Steve Finnigan, ACC Lancashire, Performance Management
Terms of reference:
• Constructively challenge the Strategic Board on its overall direction and how best to achieve its overarching aims.
• Challenge the pace and manner in which greater transparency is introduced in the crime and justice sectors.
• Provide advice to the Strategic Board on the impact of its work on the views of the public and the developer community.
• Provide expert advice to the Strategic Board on how to balance the need for greater transparency with privacy concerns.
• Support the work of the Strategic Board by forging and maintaining effective partnerships with relevant organisations.
• Support the Strategic Board to achieve its overarching aims by promoting and communicating them effectively amongst its main audience groups.
Declaration: in 2006/7 I commissioned for Ministers the Power of Information Review that kicked off much of the recent central government work on open data. And pursued that work subsequently when I was a civil servant. I left the civil service on ‘special leave’ to set up Talk About Local in 2009 and resigned from the civil service in 2011.
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