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Best Practice: High Level Support

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This is one of a set of Best Practices for implementing the (Revised) PSI Directive developed by the .

Creative Commons Licence Share-PSI Best Practice: High Level Support by Share-PSI 2.0 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Open data actions must be supported by senior officials.


All open data actions need support at high level to be effective at overcoming those objections and, no less importantly, securing resources and refocusing priorities. When done correctly, the sponsor could also start advocating the actions him/herself.


Open data actions must be supported by senior officials who are empowered to provide top down authority where required.

Why is this a Best Practice?

Public sector bodies normally have their own procedures for securing high level support, such as ministerial support. However, such support is often most readily made public by the inclusion of an introduction to the document by the senior official. Written support in other formats (eg press releas, internal e-mail, social media, web page etc) could also be beneficial for your open data actions.

How do I implement this Best Practice?

To reach high level support for your open data action, you should:

  • Understand, who's support do you mostly need? How broad is the action? Who are your main targets? Eg national government strategies will typically need ministerial support, ideally including the Head of Government him/herself. When you need to reach IT-specialist, a government/ministerial CIO is more suitable.
  • Be very simple and clear in the message that you need from him/her. It's best that you have a fine draft ready for reviewing.
  • Think of ways to reach him/her. It could be just as simple as a e-mail or could include several meetings with lower officials to convince them of this need
  • Ask for permission to use his/her name in different media. Most probably you have to coordinate it with his/her communication experts.
  • Have the name of the senior official supporting the open data action in question readily discoverable. You can also include a quote from him/her also in a press release, internal e-mail, social media, web page etc.

Where has this best practice been implemented?

This best practice has the following implementation examples:

  • In Flanders, since 2011 Open Data and Shared Services have been at the center of the eGovernment strategy. The Open Data Programme was set up that realising that in a well-functioning, transparent and democratic society, citizens and business must be able to access government data and information and to share and reuse that information, freely and with minimal restrictions. The government decided on a top-down approach to implement the open data strategy. A concept note was drawn up and signed by all ministers.
  • In Germany, successful open government needs broad political commitment at all levels of government due to its cross-level importance and the necessary cultural transformation of policy-making and administration. It will be especially important to find a powerful sponsor and further high-level supporters for the project who identify with the development of open government.
Country Implementation Contact Point
Belgium The Flemish Open Data Program
Germany Open Government Data Germany (EN, short version)


Local Guidance

This Best Practice is cited by, or is consistent with, the advice given within the following guides:

Contact Info

Noël van Herreweghe, Program Manager Open Data – Government of Flanders in Belgium

Issue Tracker

Any matters arising from this BP, including implementation experience, lessons learnt, places where it has been implemented or guides that cite this BP can be recorded and discussed on the project's GitHub repository

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