Supporting the European Commission's open data policy
PwC’s work for the European Commission set the basis for a European open data portal connecting the national data portals of 19 countries
With plans to develop a European portal for open data – which is now available online-, to support the roll-out of the revised PSI Directive (Directive 2013/37/EC) on the re-use of public sector information, the European Commission needed to first raise awareness within the public administration of Member States of what open data is, how it can be used and for what purposes.
It also had to introduce standard ways to describe data, help administrations decide which data should be open and how it can best be licensed and published.
PwC is an international network of firms meant that we were able to have local-language experts offer training in each country, putting the training sessions in each national context, which was a significant advantage in helping participants understand what the training was all about and how it would impact their work.
Facing more than just technical challenges, the European Commission required a partner with a deep understanding of the specific standards available for open data, as well as the licencing aspects involved, intellectual property rights (IPRs), how to publish open data within the wider context of data management and which data has greater market potential, as well as legal expertise.
Able to deliver an ideal balance between technical knowledge and training, PwC’s tender was deemed the most fitting for the project. The whole team was well versed in the required technologies and could call on experts from PwC’s international network to give training in local language and place training in local context.
"because PwC is supporting a number of other projects within the European Commission that also focus on public administration, we benefitted from synergies across projects and could create standards for metadata that could be more widely applied."
PwC’s work on Open Data Support, between 2013 and 2015, included the development and deployment of a platform to allow for the preparation, transformation and publication of metadata in public datasets, underpinned by a common structure, the DCAT-AP (DCAT Application Profile for data portals) that describes public sector datasets in Europe.
A crucial part of the solution was training public administration staff to build the theoretical and technical capabilities within European Member States’ public administrations. PwC designed and developed 10 training modules covering different aspects of open data.
The modules have been translated into several languages and been made publically available under an open licence. Forty onsite training sessions were given to more than 1,800 public administration staff within 25 Member States.
Training materials were adapted and updated based on experience to make sure they offered optimal support.
The project helped significantly raise awareness of open data and how greater value can be derived from collected metadata.It also helped increase the maturity of metadata collection in those Member States lagging behind.
As a result of PwC’s pragmatic approach and fresh view on the subject, our effective management and ability to drive the project forward, the European Commission was fully prepared for the next stage of the portal project.
"The project not only delivered on its objectives, but also offered us the experience and expertise to be able to move on with the complex portal project we’d envisaged."
Thanks to the provision of data preparation transformation services by PwC and our ability to reach out across Europe, with the support of our European network, the European Commission had in place, for the first time, a platform that connected the national data portals of 19 countries.
We familiarised public administration staff with and trained them on the technical aspects of open data, as well as legal licences and data management, which was key to the Commission’s ability to put in place the European Data Portal. Using a “train the trainer” approach, the European Commission is able to continue the intense training programme and continues to update training materials as required.
The delivery of training content and the training given have turned out to be a flagship service. During the project, we experienced great interest in and a real need for developing data governance and management capabilities within public administrations.