Tag Archives: Public Sector Transparency Board

Comparison chart between Glasgow and national average

How Scotland made its council audit data less open (with happy ending)

Once upon a time Audit Scotland published performance data for every council in Scotland. The approach was simple: a spreadsheet for every council with dozens of indicators across several pages.

audit scotland data

Audit Scotland data from 2012/13

As far as open data goes it wasn’t ideal: comparing councils involved manually downloading spreadsheets and combining them, unless you wrote a scraper to do that for you. Which is what I did last year while working with the Sunday Post on a series of stories.

But at least you had the data in some sort of raw format.

If you look for the data this year, however, you will find things a little more complicated:

“The local government community now produce council performance information through the Local Government Benchmarking Framework.”

Now there’s a middleman. And here things start to go downhill (before a happy ending). Continue reading

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Why open data matters – a (very bad) example from Universal Jobmatch

Open Data stickers image by Jonathan Gray

Open Data stickers image by Jonathan Gray

I come upon examples of bad practice in publishing government data on a regular basis, but the Universal Jobmatch tool is an example so bad I just had to write about it. In fact, it’s worse than the old-fashioned data service that preceded it.

That older service was the Office for National Statistics’ labour market service NOMIS, which published data on Jobcentre vacancies and claimants until late 2012, when Jobcentre Plus was given responsibility for publishing the data using their Universal Jobmatch tool.

Despite a number of concerns, more than a year on, Universal Jobmatch‘s reports section has ignored at least half of the public data principles first drafted by the Government’s Public Sector Transparency Board in 2010, and published in 2012. Continue reading