Open Data Policy Collection

Bellevue, WA

Management Policy (Aug 1, 2016)

View original policy

Sunlight provided assistance with the development of this policy.

Note: Exact date within Aug 2016 unknown.

Version 1.0 – August 2016

Bellevue Open Data Principles

  1. We develop and grow an accessible and usable data portal — We provide non-discriminatory access to data on a central portal in open formats that make it easy to find, access, understand and use the data. Implement to the extent possible, open standards related to data formats, interoperability, structure, and common identifiers when collecting and publishing data.
  2. We focus on publishing high quality and high value data sets — We release high quality, high value data sets which are accurate, timely, up to date, and adequately documented following internationally agreed upon standards, metadata and classifiers.
  3. We administer the open data program with a bias for open — We encourage government data is made open by default, while recognizing that there are legitimate reasons why some data cannot be released.

These principles have been inspired by the Sunlight Foundation and by the G8 Summit, including the U.S., hosted by the United Kingdom in July 2013. The “Open Data Charter” was agreed to during the Summit, based on the principles that government data should be open by default, of high quality and increasing quantity, openly licensed and provided in open formats with the purpose of improving governance and spurring innovation.

Underlying these principles is the Public Records Act (Chapter 42.56RCW) and the City’s Public Records Act Rules ( which define public records and guarantees access to certain categories of government information.

These principles will be supported in the City of Bellevue with ongoing program governance and policies.

Bellevue Open Data Policy


This Management Policy establishes guidelines for the City of Bellevue’s open data program. Through the adoption of this policy, Bellevue commits to using open data to advance certain city goals, including enhancing the public’s access to information, improving governance and service delivery, promoting government transparency and accountability, and furthering public engagement and collaboration with government data to promote innovation and drive economic activity. The Policy lays out a formal structure for the open data initiative, including details related to the governance structure, prioritization of data release, online platform for release of data, and a process for reviewing and reporting on program progress.


This management policy applies to all city departments, as well as the records of third party contractors that create data on behalf of a city department.

Program Goals

  1. Enhance City of Bellevue accountability and transparency with stakeholders
  2. Provide data that supports City of Bellevue strategic goals
  3. Foster public/private collaboration

Open Data Initiative

a. Bias for open

i. The city will develop and implement practices that allow it to:

  1. Release publishable, high quality data determined by the Bellevue Open Data Program to be related to the city’s strategic priorities and public demand, making it freely available in open formats with no restrictions on use or reuse, and fully accessible to the broadest range of users to use for varying purposes;

  2. Observe state and local laws (including the Public Records Act (Chapter 42.56RCW) and the City’s Public Records Act Rules) and internationally recognized standards pertaining to security, privacy, confidentiality, protection of personal data and intellectual property, trade secrets, and, subject to these legislation and standards, anonymize data prior to publication, ensuring that sensitive, personally-identifiable data is protected;

  3. Create a method for determining when data cannot be released that weighs risk versus benefit to the public.

b. Strive to publish high quality, trusted data

i. The city will develop and implement practices that allow it to:

  1. Release high quality datasets which are accurate, timely, up-to-date, and adequately documented, including the release of metadata and unique identifiers;

  2. Ensure datasets released to the public are complete and that all documentation accompanying data is written in clear, plain language that provides data users with sufficient information to understand the source - strengths, weaknesses, and analytical limitations of the data;

  3. When possible, ensure datasets released by the government are primary source data. Public dissemination will allow transparency around data collection and accuracy;

  4. Apply consistent information lifecycle management practices, and ensure historical copies of datasets are preserved, archived, and kept accessible for a reasonable period of time per City of Bellevue’s records retention policy;

  5. Strive to ensure data is up-to-date and implement processes allowing for the real-time release of data when possible.

c. Prioritize the collection and release of data

i. The city will develop and implement practices that allow it to:

  1. Give priority release to datasets pertinent to the city’s strategic goals;

  2. Determine datasets for prioritization based on frequency of data requests and other existing signals of interest from the public;

  3. Develop methods for consulting with data users and experts, including residents, internal users, other governments, and non-governmental and private sector organizations, to identify which datasets should be prioritized for release;

  4. Give priority to datasets which have utility that is time sensitive.

d. Establish, maintain, and grow an open data web portal the provides a central location ( for published city data

i. The city will develop an open data portal that encompasses the following:

  1. Users of the portal shall be given non-discriminatory access to data that is, to the extent possible, available in open formats that make it easy to find, access, understand, and use the data;

  2. Datasets published on the Open Data Portal shall be released under an open and unrestricted license and shall require no mandatory registration, allowing users to download data without being required to identify themselves;

  3. Datasets published on the Open Data Portal shall be made available through an Application Programming Interface (API).

e. The management of these practices shall be overseen by the Bellevue Open Data Program Manager.


a. Implementation of the Open Data Initiative will be overseen by Bellevue ITD, who will appoint a program manager to lead:

i. Coordination with CAB (Change Advisory Board) to manage each city department’s participation in the Open Data Program;

ii. Lead a project team to carry out the work of the Open Data Program;

iii. Prioritization of the release of datasets onto the open data portal;

iv. Development and implementation of a process for determining the relative level of risk and public benefit associated with potentially sensitive, non-protected information so as to make a determination about whether and how to publish it;

v. Establishment of processes for publishing datasets to the Open Data Portal, based on the guidelines laid out in the Open Data Initiative;

vi. Development and oversight of a routinely updated, public timeline for new dataset publication.

b. In order to increase and improve use of the city’s open data, the Bellevue Open Data Program will actively encourage department and public participation by providing regular opportunities for feedback and collaboration.

Report and Review

a. Within one year of the effective date of this Management Policy, and thereafter no later than March 31 of each year, the Bellevue Open Data Program shall submit to OPT (Operations Policy Team) an annual Open Data Report

i. The report shall include:

  1. An assessment of progress toward achievement of the goals and performance measures of the city’s open data program;

  2. A list of datasets currently available on the Open Data Portal;

  3. A description and publication timeline for datasets envisioned to be published on the portal in the following year.

  4. Dataset statistics, including popularity of datasets.

  5. An assessment on how well the program is working with current staff levels.

ii. The report shall be available for public viewing online.

b. During the review and reporting period, the Bellevue Open Data Program shall also make suggestions for improving the city’s open data management processes in order to ensure that the city continues to move towards the achievement of the policy’s goals.


a. “Data” means statistical, factual, quantitative, or qualitative information that is regularly maintained or created by or on behalf of a city agency.

b. “Dataset” means contents of a single database table, worksheet or defined view; data is provided as a single combination of unique rows (or records) and corresponding columns (or fields) describing that row.

c. “Open data” means data that is available online, in an open format, with no legal encumbrances on use or reuse.

d. “Open format” means any widely accepted, nonproprietary, platform-independent, machine-readable method for formatting data, which utilizes unique identifiers upon collection and publication, permits interoperability and automated processing of such data, and facilitates search capabilities.

e. “Data source” means technology or system that stores data, including databases, named spreadsheets, information systems, business applications, etc.

f. “ETL” means extract, transform, load: three database functions that are combined into one tool to pull data out of one database and place it into another.

g. “Geospatial data” means data related to the position of things in the real world, including boundaries or locations

h. “Metadata” means descriptive information about a dataset

i. “Tabular” means data that is presented in columns or tables

j. “Protected information” means any dataset or portion thereof to which an agency may deny access pursuant to the [state or city public records statute] or any other law or rule or regulation.

k. “Sensitive information” means any data which, if published on the Open Data Portal, could raise privacy, confidentiality or security concerns or have the potential to jeopardize public health, safety or welfare to an extent that is greater than the potential public benefit of publishing that data.

l. “Publishable data” means data which is not protected or sensitive and which has been prepared for release on the open data web portal.

m. “Unique identifiers” means reference numbers used to identify unique individuals, entities, or locations.

n. “Bellevue Open Data Program” means a program that works towards the development and growth of Open Data within the City of Bellevue. The Open Data Program is governed by the adopted Open Data Principles and Policy. The program is led by a program manager that works directly with dataset owners, existing committees (OPT, CAB, PIO) and an advisory board to maintain the open data portal, solicit and publish additional high value datasets, and engage with stakeholders.

o. “CAB” is the City of Bellevue’s Change Advisory Board. Membership reflects representation from all departments and its purpose is to enable collaboration with other Departments and ITD in support of the change management process, to represent departments in technology decision making, and to provide operational feedback on IT-related initiatives.

p. “OPT” is the City of Bellevue’s Operations Policy Team. It consists of Assistant & Deputy Directors from each department and its purpose is to provide a multi-purpose, cross-departmental group to address operational policy issues and proposals brought by members of the team, department directors, or others in the city. OPT provides a forum to seek broad operational input into citywide initiatives such as strategic planning, performance management, service delivery, etc.

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