Markell signs executive order to help public access to information

DOVER — Gov. Jack Markell Wednesday signed Executive Order 57, establishing an open data portal for executive branch agencies.

That portal will allow members of the public to access and obtain general public data maintained by those agencies.

In addition, the order:

Jack Markell

Jack Markell

• Creates a Data Governance Council that brings together a team focused specifically on making more data available to members of the public. The council is tasked with establishing a statewide data strategy and recommending standards and policies related to the posting of non-personally-identifiable public data and to data sharing among state agencies;

• Directs every executive branch agency to identify datasets they maintain containing non-identifiable public information — meaning information not linked to an individual — that can be made available on the Delaware Open Data Portal;

• Ensures the data made available through the portal is published in a standard format that is accessible through the electronic devices commonly used by members of the public;

• Encourages state agencies and officials who are not part of the executive branch to work with the Data Governance Council to identify data they maintain containing information that may be appropriate for posting on the Delaware Open Data Portal, and

• Directs the Data Governance Council to issue a public report on its progress within six months, and to issue its final plan for statewide integration of open data by Sept. 30.

Delaware Chief Information Officer James Collins who heads the state’s Department of Technology and Information joined Gov. Markell Wednesday. His agency will begin working in partnership with the Delaware Government Information Center to build the portal.

The Open Data Portal builds on the Markell Administration’s work to improve openness and transparency in state government, including Executive Order 31, signed in 2011, which established uniform Freedom of Information Act policies across executive branch agencies to reduce the time and expense of making a FOIA request and to ensure that agencies collaborate to produce public records.

In addition, the governor signed a package of legislation in 2012 that expanded disclosure of campaign donations and improved lobbying laws.

Currently, a page on the state’s website provides links to state agency websites where data may be found, but the posting of that information is not currently guided by uniform policies or formatting standards.

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