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Labour Minister launches Open Data Competition

Chi Onwurah is the first MP to publish constituency casework data

Labour's shadow Minister for Digital and Open Government, Chi Onwurah, has launched an open data competition to find someone who can best create an application or infographic using her constituency casework data.

Onwurah, who regularly blogs for Computerworld UK on digital and technology issues in government, is the first MP to openly publish data of this kind.

The government is in strong support of the open data agenda, having recently opened its doors to the Open Data Institute in Tech City. Its founders Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the web, and professor Nigel Shadbolt have assembled a team to help government and business identify commercially valuable public data.

Onwurah believes that if open data is used properly, with privacy in mind and with no conditions attached, it can be a powerful tool to reshape how government and citizens interact with each other.

"Every month I publish pie charts summarising my casework so that my constituents can see why people come to me," she said.

"I'm sure there are better and more interesting ways of presenting the data and by making it openly available I hope to crowdsource a solution."

She added: "But I also want to show that data can be shared safely and creatively and that open data should be the default for those in the public and private sectors."

The person to create the best application or infographic will win tea in the House of Commons with Onwurah. An anonymised summary of a year of casework data can be found on her website.

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