Council calls on Tech City to Hack for Hackney

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The venue where the hackathon will be held.

Hackney Council will join forces with local computer experts to improve council online services at the Hack for Hackney hackathon this weekend.

More than 100 people have already signed up to the event, the majority of which are software developers and start-up companies, according to organisers MiniBar Labs.

“We’re bridging the gap between the fast-moving agile world of geeks and start-ups and the council,” said MiniBar Labs’ curator, Christian Ahlert.

GuyNicholsonThe event has been designed to make council services more efficient and user friendly. Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said that Hackney Council is happy to take advantage of Tech City’s computing talent.

“Since there’s such a creative community in Hackney, it’s too good an opportunity to pass up,” he said.

Hackney Council has opened up data sets on birth, death and property data. Local computer whizzes will get 24 hours to improve public services in these areas.

Councillor Nicholson believes that this could be the first of many collaborations between the council and local hackers.

“This is very much a first step. There’s absolute thought given to expanding it; if the weekend is successful, there will be more to come,” he said.

Hackathons are often held in tech and digital industries as a way to get inspiration and match up people with different skills. With Hack for Hackney, the council joins a growing trend of opening up government data and collaborating with the general public to improve it.

“There is an emphasis and drive to run government as transparently as possible. In the case of this weekend it’s not just about improving transparency but about improving the efficiency of council services,” Nicholson added.