The Role of open government data in improving public service delivery: a case of Nairobi County Government
Kamau, Simon Njoroge
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Open government data is data and information produced or commissioned by a government or government-controlled entities, available to all to help the public better understand what the government does and how well it performs, and to hold it accountable for wrongdoing or unachieved results. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of open government data in improving public service delivery in the County of Nairobi. Specific objectives are: To examine the extent to which government’s open data availability influences public service delivery in the County; to examine the extent to which knowledge level on government’s open data influences public service delivery in the County; to examine the extent to which application of government’s open data influences public service delivery in the County of Nairobi. The research design applied was exploratory design to show the influence of open government data on public service delivery. The study targeted all thirteen County Government Sectors. The selected sample size from the target County Sectors was 172 employees. Out of the selected sample size, the researcher only managed to get a response from 132 employees (76.7%). The researcher used questionnaires as the main instrument for this study. The data were analyzed using descriptive analysis and multiple regression analysis to study the relationship between public service delivery and availability, knowledge level, and application of government open data. From the study findings, the availability of county government’s open data has the least influence in the role open data plays in public service delivery at the county. This is mainly affected by inadequate and non-comprehensive open data platforms and inadequate requisite infrastructure and knowledge on the value of open government data. For the existing open data, datasets are not wide-ranging and do not cover all the areas of county service provision/mandate. Also, these datasets are not released systematically and on time. On knowledge level about open data, the study found that most of the respondents are inadequately familiar with the concept and features of open data. On the application of government open data, most respondents strongly agreed that data accessibility and citizens’ engagement with the government are the main reasons for availing government open data. The study concludes that the County Government of Nairobi’s open data is not publicly available or not sufficiently provided to be considered open. The existing data falls short of availing adequate and enriched open data to the public to offer comprehensive access and use as well as play a significant role in the provision of public services. The study thus recommends that the County Government of Nairobi avails more data to the public through collaborative efforts with various stakeholders, implement better open data platforms that will offer real-time engagement with citizens and other stakeholders such as a citizen’s dashboard and enhance capacity building to its employees on ICT skills and the value of open data. Also, substantial reforms/initiatives are needed at the county government to guarantee open government data platforms, policies on open data, and availability of high-quality data that is timely, easily accessible, and easy to use.