The European Commission has awarded Helsinki Region Infoshare with the European Prize for Innovation in Public Administration. The prize is 100,000 euro, which will be used to develop services further including access to public information about city decision-making.
The Commission’s prize was part of a public sector innovation competition and awarded in the competition’s section on services for the benefit of citizens. Helsinki Region Infoshare (HRI) is a service that opens public sector data for citizens. HRI compiles public datasets and makes them available online from one source. The service is provided by the region’s cities Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen in cooperation with Forum Virium Helsinki. HRI is open to everybody and available to all users free of charge. The information can be used for both commercial and non-commercial purposes. HRI already comprises more than one thousand datasets, including statistics, maps, city financial data and location information.
HRI has earned the cities of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area a place among the pioneers in open data in Finland. Open data often refers to such crude information produced or gathered by public administration, companies, other organizations and citizens that has been made as easy as possible for anyone to use, without restriction and free of charge. Open data enhances the efficiency of public administration, increases transparency and democracy as well as triggers new services and new businesses.
An internationally unique new addition to HRI is public access to Ahjo, the electronic decision-making system ofof Helsinki, from the service interface. SSince March 2013, Open Ahjo has made the system’s public documents and all of their attachments available from one source in a machine-readable format. Ahjo comprises all agendas and minutes of Helsinki’s City Council, City Board and other boards, and its content is produced by about 5,000 Helsinki City officers and persons of trust.
“The prize sum will be used to improve the compatibility of the Ahjo data with other city data including financial and location information as well as statistics,” says Asta Manninen, Director of City of Helsinki Urban Facts, adding that open public data should also encourage the development of new innovative services for citizens. Manninen affirms, “We intend to share our experiences with other actors in the field both nationally and internationally.”
Helsinki Region Infoshare’s European Prize for Innovation in Public Administration was accepted by Asta Manninen and Project Manager Ville Meloni of Forum Virium Helsinki at an award ceremony held in conjunction of the Week of Innovative Regions in Europe (WIRE 2013) in Cork, Ireland on 6 June 2013.
The European Commission’s innovation competition received 203 submissions from around Europe. The competition for the European Prize for Innovation in Public Administration sought new ways to improve public administration. The prize went to nine initiatives. According to the rules of the competition, the prize should be used for further development of the project and public information.
The jury selected the winning initiatives on the basis of four criteria: (1) the originality and replicability of the initiative; (2) the economic relevance for the community concerned; (3) the social relevance for the community concerned; and (4) the planned use of the prize sum.
The Helsinki Region Infoshare service makes regional information accessible to all. The data may be used by citizens, businesses, universities, academies, research facilities or municipal administration. The data on offer is ready to be used freely at no cost. The service is funded by the cities of Espoo, Helsinki, Vantaa and Kauniainen, as well as the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. The operative execution of the service is managed by City of Helsinki Urban Facts and Forum Virium Helsinki.
Project Manager Ville Meloni at Forum Virium Helsinki, tel. 0400-260 000, ville.meloni(at)forumvirium.fi
European Prize for Innovation in Public Administration – Helsinki Region Infoshare