Posted tagged ‘open data’

That was the local government week that was

November 25, 2011

Our favourite blogs of the week

Yep, you guessed it: it’s time for our weekly round up of our favourite blog posts from the week.  With so many great posts out there it’s sometimes tough to pick just a few, so if you’ve got some great links to share with us then leave a comment or tweet us (@welovelocalgov) using #localgovblog

We know it was last week, but this piece on some open data apps appeared after our round-up so it’s a bit late.  The Guardian take a look at open data in all its glory:

The Appathon, a marathon for app developers, is a techie testing ground.

The idea was to give UK students some government data to play with, and the results provide yet more evidence that our talent and entrepreneurial flair is alive and flourishing, to match that in Palo Alta.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/public-leaders-network/2011/nov/18/open-data-all-in-app

It is unacceptable that you have not read this yet (unless you have of course, in which case well done) – a simply brilliant transcript of Chris Chant’s thoughts about the way IT in the public sector is done.  Of course, we agree with it all 100%, and appreciate that overall our current setup is not where it should be.

It is unacceptable at this point in time to not know the true cost of a service and the real exit costs from those services: the costs commercially, technically and from a business de-integration standpoint. So, how do we untangle our way out of a particular product or service. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had the discussion that says, we need to get away from that, and we can’t because of the complexity of getting out from where we are, and of all the things that are hanging on to that particular service, that we can’t disentangle ourselves from. (more…)

Asset stripping

August 8, 2011

And for my next criticism...

I find it difficult to rant about the things I should rant about. Oliver Letwin wants to spread fear in the public sector; I raise my eyebrows. Francis Maude calls it ‘absurd’ that people in the public sector should be paid the same as their equivalents in the public sector and I let out a tired but resigned sigh.

However, when Eric Pickles takes the opportunity of a quiet August Friday morning, when the news should be filled with previewing some form of sporting endeavour and commenting on a piece of toast with Britney Spears’ face on it, to claim that councils should be on an asset sell off I think my blood almost boiled.

What state of ridiculousness does this man live in? Could he not take August off from bashing councils and maybe focus on building some bridges with local government? Could he not have simply focused on the admirable aim of open data hiding behind his headlines?

The stupidity of his statements about councils selling off their assets (apparently shops, pubs and golf courses were his, easy, targets de jour) almost requires no response but here goes anyway:

1)      Selling off assets only releases a one off capital receipt. Thus, it might be possible to use one to fill a budget gap in year 1 but in years 2 and 3 that figure needs to be recouped in full, along with the other cuts needed for that year. In other words it simply delays the inevitable.

2)      If the asset is bringing in revenue then selling it removes that revenue from a council’s income stream and leaves them needing to find even more money to balance the budget in years 2 and 3.

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Where do the wealthy pay more tax?

April 18, 2011

The newsnight slayer

The Department of Communities and Local Government has, under Eric Pickles, been very keen to ensure that there is a regular stream of ‘open’ data to help the public get a deeper understanding of what their politicians are up to. Indeed, his very openness made the BBCs Gavin Estler look extremely silly on Newsnight.

However, on the same day that Mr Pickles was having fun at the expense of the BBC research staff, his department also released the latest open data attempt; a map summarising how much council tax is paid in each area of the UK. The map is shown below and for those without chronic short-sight you can see a full sized version here:

The map clearly shows that those areas that are populated by wealthy people are paying more council tax.

Aha, might say those in favour of council cuts; the areas that are the most wealthy, and paying the highest council taxes, are also those that received the smallest cuts. See, I told you it was fair.

Except, that’s not what the map shows at all.

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