Hold my feet to the fire using open gov data, pleads minister
Smell of burning socks to waft along Whitehall?
Head of the Cabinet Office Francis Maude has told journalists that he wants them to pore over government data and hold the feet of ministers "against the fire".
Opening a conference to mark the Open Government Partnership today, he gave a rallying cry to the media everywhere to use data to hold governments to account.
Whitehall will no longer "disguise and deny" he said, but would be pumping out "unprecedented amounts" of data, and Maude wants a lot of people to look at that data closely.
I don’t have any doubt that giving our press a lot of data to pore over will at times be uncomfortable for us in government. But that’s the whole point. A closed door culture encourages complacency at best and at worst corruption.
That’s why I’m issuing a call to arms to the media the world over to hold the feet of government officials and ministers like me squarely against the fire.
However it wasn't Maude's own feet that he was immediately offering up to hacks. The only particular feet that seemed to be on offer were those of GPs. He said:
For example, we are now publishing information on how GP practices perform when handling cancer cases, so patients can compare survival rates between practices and make informed decisions about their care.
No other specific examples of open data were given in the excerpt, but he did point out that data.gov.uk hosts the largest data resource in the world, with over 40,000 data files.
Maude ended up with a rousing cry to the world's nations to follow his example by opening data portals everywhere - equivalent to the UK gov's own data.gov.uk.
The UK is the senior co-chair of the Open Government Partnership, until September 2013. ®
Can we start with the mail and text exchanges between Cameron and Rebekah Brooks?
Re: They need to be careful here...
auburnman its not exactly what you want but its pretty close http://www.theyworkforyou.com/
They need to be careful here...
Releasing all the data could just as easily have bad consequences as good consequences. Taking the cancer survival rates for different practices as an example, people will naturally want a simple story of 'poor rate bad, good rate good' and infer that from the information released. Suppose the place with the 'bad' rate is actually a world leading cancer clinic which has a bad rating because they have a high proportion of low-probability survivors coming from all over the country? I'm all for this, but I think there will be rocky times ahead before people/the press learn how to handle the data deluge.
What I would like is a single website that lists all councillors and MPs across the UK alongside their election promises and whether those promises were kept, what they voted for against in bills etc. maintained by the Office for National Statistics.