Australian Government Big Data Public- Private Partnership with Community Insight Australia

ProBono Australia published the following article, “Partnership to Open Up Data for Social Enterprises”.

New Sydney-based social enterprise, Community Insight Australia will partner with the Federal Government to help social purpose organisations access data.

“There’s a lot of data openly available that’s not being used to target and design services for those in need,”  Community Insight Australia founder, social impact investor and analyst, Emma Tomkinson said.

“Spreadsheets really put people off using data, so we’ve replaced the spreadsheet with a map.

“Community Insight Australia will be a translation of Community Insight in the UK, which was nominated for an innovation award by the Open Data Institute.”

Tomkinson said Australian social purpose organisations will be able to define an area to analyse and then tailor their services to the needs of people in that area.

“The new web-tool will incorporate over 50 key data releases by all levels of Australian Government, including Federal, State and local councils, for example, datasets from the Australian Bureau of Statistics,” she said.

“Community Insight Australia is working in partnership with the Federal Department of Communications to identify useful and relevant datasets for inclusion in the tool.

“The Department is providing in-kind support through facilitating a User Group with representatives from other Federal Government agencies to identify appropriate data and, where possible, make the data openly available through data.gov.au.”

Tomkinson said the Community Insight Australia initiative is an example of how Government data can be used and re-used by organisations that serve Australian communities.

She pointed to a speech on open Government data to the Locate 15 Conference in March 2015, where the Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull said, “Governments hold an extraordinary amount of unique data, collected directly and indirectly in the course of doing our job. It is there. We have it. But there is no point in keeping all that data stored away. It needs to be accessed, analysed, understood, used and reused.”

Also behind the new social enterprise is Brigitte Poletto, a winner of the University of NSW 2014 Start-Up Games.

“Poletto is one of a new generation of skilled young entrepreneurs who are emerging from University with an appetite for running their own businesses,” Tomkinson said.

“It’s really exciting to be working directly with the custodians of Government data. This is a great opportunity for us to make key data more accessible,” Poletto said.

“We want to help people planning new services. If you can find out before you start how many families don’t speak English at home and how many households don’t own a car, you can deliver a more tailored service from day one.”

Tomkinson said Community Insight Australia is currently securing funding to build the tool via a 3-way match; $50,000 institutional loan, $50,000 from ‘angel’ co-investors and $50,000 in pre-subscriptions.

“Community Insight Australia is seeking community organisations, businesses and Government agencies to pre-subscribe as ‘Foundation Partners’.”

Contact Community Insight Australia via jaime@communityinsightaustralia.org.