The Political Mashup and Open Data

According to Wikipedia, there are many types of mashup. Now, thanks to David Cameron and Nick Clegg there is a new type of mashup – the Political Mashup (if I could copyright that, I would). 

I’ve been having tremendous fun reading “The Coalition: Programme for Government” this morning with my Open Data glasses on looking for more carrots and sticks to “encourage” data out of WCC. It seems Dave and Nick have heard my furious swearing after yet another unsuccessful phone call with one of our data huggers (that’s what I call them on a good day). Here are just a few extracts from the programme that should help local authorities overcome some of the problems we are currently having: 

  • Setting government data free will bring significant economic benefits by enabling businesses and non-profit organisations to build innovative applications and websites
  • We will require public bodies to publish online the job titles of every member of staff and the salaries and expenses of senior officials paid more than the lowest salary permissible in PayBand 1 of the Senior Civil Service pay scale, and organograms that include all positions in those bodies
  • We will publish government ICT contracts online
  • We will require full, online disclosure of all central government spending and contracts over £25,000
  • We will create a new ‘right to data’ so that government-held datasets can be requested and used by the public, and then published on a regular basis
  • We will require all councils to publish meeting minutes and local service and performance data
  • We will ensure that all data published by public bodies is published in an open and standardised format, so that it can be used easily and with minimal cost by third parties
  • We will implement the Sustainable Communities Act, so that citizens know how taxpayers’ money is spent in their area
  • We will oblige the police to publish detailed local crime data statistics every month

I’d like to end on a positive note as I feel I may have overplayed how difficult I am finding getting data out of WCC. On the whole, everyone has been marvellous at getting me their data and been very supportive. The ones that haven’t, you know who you are.

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