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Live from Paris

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.. Élysée Palace The Élysée Palace, full of good civic-minded folks.

Salut mes ami(e)s!

Nous sommes live from a hackathon organised by the French government, who are hosting the Open Government Partnership Summit. C’est vrai!

OGP16

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a group of countries who, in partnership with civil society organisations, set targets for opening data and making the process of government more transparent. Each government works with civil society organisations to establish a two-yearly National Action Plan — a programme of opening things. For example the UK has committed to a standard for elections data and aims for all election results to be published in a ‘standard, machine-readable and open standard’ by 2020.

Every year they get together to make some declarations and gee each other along a bit. This year, it’s in Paris! Rather sadly, it seems that the UK didn’t send ministerial representation to the event, even as one of the founding members. Hmm. This means we can’t bug a minister about more open election data…

Anyway, the hackathon runs throughout the three-day summit and organisers hope to advance a suite of digital tools useful for open government. There’s a complete list here, but Joe went around spotting some fun ones:

  • the Hong Kong folks thinking about organising a nationwide election (that is, a national vote run by someone other than government) — they might aim at a 30% turnout;

  • the Togolese chap trying to draw together climate commitments from African governments and to compare it with open climate data;

  • the French folks crowdsourcing open data on food products — now 60,000 datapoints-strong in France, with loads of use cases (including the Guess the Sugar game!). Check out the map of food producers too. It’s cunning, cos it’s really approachable data about stuff that people do everyday: eat. You can help them gather data — search for Open Food Facts on whatever app store you use!

…meanwhile Sym got excited about meeting the people in the French Government who have opened up their address data.

There’s two more days of OGP Summmit workshops — follow the hashtag for an idea. Tomorrow there’s someone giving a presentation on French polling station data! We’re excited.

EveryElection

We’ve been playing around further with election identifiers….and a quick question: is it important to differentiate a local by-election from a range of local elections, if they all happen on the same day for the same council? Let us know.

We’re keen to get this up-and-running soon — and we’ll use it to power the Candidates Crowdsourcer for 2017. If you can’t wait that long, and are already sitting on candidate data — several of the mayoral candidates are already known, for example — do let us know and we could start a temporary Google Sheet to capture the data.

Cashflow!

We’ve had some good news this week! If Sym can remember to sign the paperwork, we’ll be agreeing a two-year grant from Unbound Philanthropy, worth £100k overall. This is going to fund some new research on the democratic experience of under-represented groups — and work to ameliorate the situation — particularly in regard to registration and participation in elections.

We’re grateful to the gang at Unbound, who are also working hard to network on our behalf, and help us think about and act to build a sustainable, well-governed organisation.

Next time…

Do you know anyone who might want to intern for Democracy Club for a few months? We might be able to put them up in London, they would attend all the interesting civic tech and digital democracy events on our behalf, and help keep the show on the road. Give it some thought!

And plans are underway to roll out a new design, website and crowdsourcing offer…with stickers…

Forward!