Helm Corporation has been awarded a £250,000 contract by the European Commission to survey e-government initiatives taken by 25 EU member states and Norway, measure their impact on citizens and highlight steps needed to further commercialise the opportunities available through the re-use and re-sale of public sector information.
Data produced by the two-year study will enable the Commission to test the effectiveness of the EU Directive on the use of Public Sector Information (PSI) and will consider how governments make information available quickly, effectively and cheaply.
Damian Duffy, European Director of Helm Corporation, commenting on the tender award, says: “This is a very significant contract that consolidates our position as a leading provider of expert consultancy services to the Commission. It shows the confidence which the Commission has in our ability to deliver such a strategically important and broad ranging contract for the EU.
“It tasks us to develop the essential methodology to obtain the data and to set up the system needed to produce it to a defined deadline that will enable the Commission to determine what steps need to be taken to ensure that people can easily obtain the public sector information they require and that companies are able to explore new opportunities to access and market this information”.
“We will then carry out an in-depth analysis of the data and make recommendations for action by the Commission which will help create a more open and competitive market for public sector information,” he adds.
Tracy Meharg, Invest NI’s Managing Director of Innovation and Capability Development, welcoming the company’s latest success in Europe, says: “Helm is an outstanding success story. It has harnessed public sector consultancy skills, developed in Northern Ireland, to create a globally competitive business.”
“Another important feature of the company’s business approach is the development of strategic alliances in target markets and business sectors. As a result, it is now recognised by agencies such as the European Union, the Department for International Development and the World Bank as a first line supplier of expert skills,” she adds.
Helm has established a network of researchers in each of the 25 member states and Norway to undertake the study at local level. They will scan the relevant websites for public sector data in defined areas, such as business, geography, legal issues, meteorology, society and transport. Helm has also developed an online questionnaire and database for use by the researchers.
The PSI Directive is regarded as an important step in further European integration and is designed to change the way governments think and work. Feedback from the survey will enable the Commission to pinpoint and tackle obstacles to opening up the market for public sector information.