Before you begin
This guide is a quick introduction to Victoria’s open data policy for government.
If you’re already familiar with the benefits and policy of open data, and know what your organisation’s information management policies and processes are, you can skip to the for the instructions on how to complete and submit data for publication.
Overview of Victoria’s open data policy
The Victorian Government holds, creates and collects a vast amount of data, ranging from demographic and economic to geospatial data and transport-related data. Storage formats include hardcopy, electronic (digital), audio, video, image, graphical, cartographic, physical sample, textual, geospatial or numerical form.
- to enable public access to government data to support research and education, promote innovation, support improvements in productivity and stimulate growth in the Victorian economy
- to enhance sharing of, and access to, information-rich resources to support evidence-based decision making in the public sector
As a result, Victorian government datasets will be:
- available to the public
- easy to find
- easy to use
Not all government data is suitable for release. Access to data may need to be restricted for reasons of privacy, public safety, security and law enforcement, public health, pre-existing contractual arrangements.
Practical resources support the policy
Where Victoria’s open data is published
What does the Victorian Government recommend?
All Victorian Government online services should aim to make data freely available to the public with minimal restrictions.
What standards must be met?
Data must be publicly available
You must make all datasets available to the public.
Data must be published on the DataVic website
Are there exceptions?
Yes. Your agency can restrict access for these reasons:
- public safety
- public health
- security and law enforcement
- other legal compliance
Manage public records
The Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) (under of the Public Records Act 1973) sets the standards for managing the public records your department or agency create. Always check with your department’s or agency’s records or information management specialist first for the approach to compliance.
Comply with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014, and only collect information you’re legally entitled to collect. You’ll need to craft and publish a privacy ‘collection notice’ (refer to the How-to guide, , or the ).
If your digital presence collects personal information, then the physical location of the servers where it’s stored must have the same level of legal protection for private data as we offer citizens in Victoria.
Information management (IM)
Refer to the guidance notes and policy documents on the information management section of . Includes guidance for managing records for Office 365 implementations, and a brief IM checklist for systems procurement and implementation. The framework gives an overview of information management for whole of Victorian Government.
Getting it approved
Open data-sets must be approved
Locate the person who manages the Information Management policies and processes for your department or agency.
To avoid repeating what’s already well explained elsewhere, the following section is a condensation of the topic, and written for those unfamiliar with open data.
How the DataVic website works: Victoria’s open-data discovery tool
The DataVic website is a ‘discovery tool’. Its essential purpose is to help people easily find Victoria’s range of open datasets – on one website.
DataVic catalogues, describes, and makes available for download every open dataset available for release.
Each individual page of information on the DataVic website is a ‘Data Record’. A Data Record exists as a webpage on DataVic.
The Data Record has:
- a title
- a detailed description of your dataset
- the download formats available
- the data owner (your agency)
- the open licence
The information about your Data Record on the web page is ‘metadata’ (that is, information about information).
This metadata describes the dataset you’re making available. It gives the person who might want to download it context about its collection and release, and if it will suit their purposes.
Make sure your data complies
The three compliance stages are:
Stage 1: Identify the data your agency will make publicly available
Stage 2: Follow your internal approval processes
You must complete the metadata template for your dataset to be published. It can't be published without first completing the template.
Good reads and tools
Reviewed 02 December 2019