More councils open up the books but transparency must be useful

September 17, 2010 11:45 AM


Further to my post last week showing which councils have published spending over £500, the excellent Guardian Data Blog have compiled the latest list of which authorities have joined the transparency revolution.

They highlight a few problems with some of the releases so far - the biggest ones being that they cover different periods (e.g. monthly and weekly, making comparison difficult) and that some councils have released data in pdf format. This can make it difficult and extremely time consuming to do anything useful with the data, or sort it how you want to etc.

It's obviously good news that more and more councils are doing this. But it would be very disappointing if some are purposely using pdfs to avoid proper scrutiny. As the Guardian Data Blog mentions, pdfs allows councils to "appear open without actually being open".

DCLG themselves have shown that this can be done with their release on supplier transactions over £500. Hopefully councils can follow suit.


Further to my post last week showing which councils have published spending over £500, the excellent Guardian Data Blog have compiled the latest list of which authorities have joined the transparency revolution.

They highlight a few problems with some of the releases so far - the biggest ones being that they cover different periods (e.g. monthly and weekly, making comparison difficult) and that some councils have released data in pdf format. This can make it difficult and extremely time consuming to do anything useful with the data, or sort it how you want to etc.

It's obviously good news that more and more councils are doing this. But it would be very disappointing if some are purposely using pdfs to avoid proper scrutiny. As the Guardian Data Blog mentions, pdfs allows councils to "appear open without actually being open".

DCLG themselves have shown that this can be done with their release on supplier transactions over £500. Hopefully councils can follow suit.

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