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The Leeds Data Mill is based on a concept of open data where government acts as a partner in a collaborative open data platform, rather than as the central provider of open data.


  • Austerity is forcing Leeds to rethink the way it delivers services.
  • Leeds is taking a collaborative approach to open data in the hope of shifting the demand for services away from the council and fuelling the local economy.
  • The city has seen early benefits in tackling homelessness and reduced FOI requests, but more data is needed for serious analytics and third-party use to become feasible.

Features and Benefits

  • Demonstrates how a cash-strapped city can get started with open data.
  • Identifies ways to overcome the challenges that can frustrate attempts to set up open data.

Key questions answered

  • What does Leeds City Council hope to achieve with open data?
  • What hurdles did Leeds have to overcome, and how did it do it?

Table of contents


  • Catalyst
  • Ovum view


  • You can kick off open data on a shoestring
  • Draw up a plan that works for you
  • Recognize that open data is more about culture than technology
  • You cannot collaborate without collaborators

Opening up data in the era of austerity

  • Austerity is changing the way Leeds delivers services
  • Leeds is taking a collaborative approach to open data

Lessons learned

  • Success needs to be publicized
  • Opening up data is more about culture than technology
  • A small start is a good start
  • Open data can be made to work anywhere
  • You cannot collaborate without collaborators


  • Methodology
  • Further reading
  • Author

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