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back to article Hold my feet to the fire using open gov data, pleads minister

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 …

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Including...

...who their landlords are?

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Excellent news

Can we start with the mail and text exchanges between Cameron and Rebekah Brooks?

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A twist on the "Yes Minister" story

about "Open Government". The Minister tells his staff he wants to know everything that happens in his department. Obligingly the civil servants ensure he has it. Receipts for pencils. Memos about tea rosters. They drown him in information. In the end he has to give in, and asks just to have the data he needs.

"But Minister, how do we know what you need to know ?" purrs Sir Humphrey.

By drowning the press in data, (and let's think here. What is the capacity of the press to handle data ? x Gb/day ?) the government will ensure they can hide anything in plain sight ... just pump out >x Gb/day.

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Re: A twist on the "Yes Minister" story

The press will know what they are looking for. Rather provide too much than too little.

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Re: A twist on the "Yes Minister" story

Yes! No better place to hide then right in the open!

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Facepalm

Nice idea. Shame the people implementing it are corrupt and incompetent, in about equal measure.

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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.

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Re: They need to be careful here...

auburnman its not exactly what you want but its pretty close http://www.theyworkforyou.com/

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Re: They need to be careful here...

Try TheyWorkForYou http://www.theyworkforyou.com/ run by the mysociety organisation - IT tells you what your MP is up to, voting record etc.

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Re: They need to be careful here...

I have heard of them before, but what I'd like to see is a site like that being run as an official part of the government, with the appropriate funding and mandatory duties for accuracy and balance that kind of structure could impose. Not that I'm dissing the folks behind theyworkforyou, mind, I just think this sort of thing should have guaranteed funding rather than being a charity. It would allow them to 'advertise' the website detailing MP's actions when the voting bumf gets sent out too.

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