Press coverage highlights from story:
- PublicTechnology.net, Getting local government excited about Digital by Default
- ComputerWorldUK, Hackathon shows how public sector data can be used for community apps
Stone Group, the UK-based manufacturer of ICT hardware and services specifically for the public sector, today announces it is supporting Spring Hackathon 2013, enabling developers to create web and mobile applications (apps) to make public information more accessible online to citizens.
Taking place at the Google Campus in East London on 27th-28th April 2013, and in association with hackathoncentral, the two-day hack ‘Building apps for local communities’ will bring together in excess of 50 developers to develop apps and APIs that enable easy retrieval of information from council websites by non-technical users, creating better online and mobile links between communities and local public services. Developers will have access to various publically accessible Local Government Association’s extensive datasets of local authority information in addition to the Police API and public data from all 43 polices forces in the country.
A March 2013 Better Connected survey by SOCITM – a members group dedicated to IT and the public sector – showed that local government had not signed up to the ‘Digital by Default’ agenda with council website performance scoring even lower than in 2012. Of all the 433 sites surveyed, only 9 per cent achieved the top four star ranking with the number of three star rankings at 140. According to the survey, visitor feedback on council websites recorded satisfaction down on all counts.
Daley Robinson, Director of Stone Group comments: “Stone Group is committed to fostering better use of technology across the public sector. By supporting this hackathon, we hope that some intuitive apps and APIs will be developed that help the public get the information they need out of their local authority in the most effective ways possible.
Milverton Wallace, leader of Hackathon Central comments: “I’ve been managing and directing hackathons for many years, and this has to be one of the most exciting to date. How citizens engage and get information from local authorities needs to be improved, as the SOCITM survey pointed out. The data is eminently out there, we just need to find better ways of querying that data and delivering to citizens so they can make the most of it. Whilst we are seeing the Digital by Default agenda widely embraced by central government, that is yet to filter down to local government.”
Developers will have access to extensive dataset information from various public sector organisations including the Local Government Association and APIs from all 43 police forces in the country.
The prize categories are: Best web app; Best mobile app; Best design; Best use of geographic data and Best app for disabled users. Prizes include $6,000 of Amazon Web services credits, Raspberry Pi and a Nexus 7 tablet.