Open government data: France creates the role of State Chief Data Officer

In a communication at the Ministers Council this Wednesday May 21, Mrs Marylise Lebranchu, Minister for Decentralization, State Reform and Civil Service reported on the progress of the open data policy led by the French government for two years.

Minister Lebranchu noted that in a world where new technologies are transforming our everyday lives, where digital tools accelerate the circulation of information, and empower citizens, open public data is a powerful lever serving the democratic, productive and creative renewal of our country.

Thanks to its ambitious and proactive government policy, France has today a strong voice in the open government data field. The new platform, launched last December, is the first site in the world open to citizens’ contribution, allowing users to enrich and improve public data and to share general interest data provided by the civil society.

France’s decision to join the Open Government Partnership (OGP) announced on April 24 at « the Paris Conference on Open data and Open government », has been welcomed by our international partners. Moreover, open data provides a resource  that is essential to the strategy for growth, inclusion, and trust in the digital arena that Mrs Axelle Lemaire, Secretary of State for Digital, promotes, especially by her support to innovative ecosystems.

In the communication made this morning, Marylise Lebranchu called for further expediting the movement in which the country has engaged and for developing an inter-ministerial use of data noting that « public data are resources to identify smart savings, improve the effectiveness of public policies and develop better services for our citizens ».

By June 2015, the implementation of the European directive on public sector information will be an opportunity to evolve the legal and regulatory environment in which the opening of government data is taking place.

Today, the Minister announced the creation of the function of State Chief Data Officer (CDO). Authorized to access the data held by the state administration and its agencies, the CDO’s mandate will include:

  • Organizing a better flow of information in the economy and within the administration, in respect of privacy and legal secrets;
  • Ensuring the production or acquisition of essential data;
  • Initiating experiments in this area;
  • Disseminating tools, methods and a culture of data within ministries and agencies, to the benefit of their respective missions and objectives.

France is the first European country to create this function that many companies and local authorities, in the United-States for instance, have already deployed, remaining at the forefront of public innovation.