Category Archives: exemplar

Credit Where It’s Due

As well as getting information out of government, the Power of Information agenda is about better ways of getting information into government. The development of an interface to by Michael Houlsby at East Hampshire Council is a great example of a public official taking an initiative in this area to improve the service for both the public and his authority.

It has rightly also been picked up by the Minister for Transformational Government, Tom Watson MP, as an example of good practice.

Richard Allan, Task Force Chair


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Washington DC Competition and Data Catalog

The District of Columbia in the US is running an interesting competition called AppsForDemocracy along similar lines to our ShowUsABetterWay competition.

Entries are requested for innovations using data that is being offered by the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO).

The data is really well presented in a Data Catolog.  This appears to be both very comprehensive and user-friendly fulfilling the requirements we have set out here for an Access Layer.

The Terms of Use are also interesting as they simply add some extra terms specific to RSS feeds and data files onto the normal terms and conditions for using the public website.    The emphasis in both documents is on disclaimers about information quality and liability rather than on any form of copyright enforcement.

Richard Allan, Task Force Chair


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International Development Blogging

I have spent some time looking at the Department for International Development blogging site and am impressed by the way it operates.

The terms and conditions it sets out for users are very clear.

The use of mapping is good, especially given the wide geographical scope of potential posters.

It offers RSS feeds in a clear and prominent way.

And the posts so far have managed to hit a good blog tone of mixing personal impresssions with substantive content.

Well done, DFID.

Richard Allan, Task Force Chair


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Last Chance to Show Us a Better Way

The Task Force has been running a competition called ‘Show Us A Better Way’ to generate ideas for good uses of public data.

Over 400 ideas have already been submitted covering many public services and personal interests.  They range from simple outlines of possible applications to more fully worked up prototypes.

The competition closes on Tuesday 30th September so it’s your last chance to submit an entry.

There’s a very quick and easy process for doing this on the ShowUsABetterWay website and all ideas are welcome.

The Task Force will be passing all the submissions on to relevant people in Government so none of your thinking will be wasted, even if you don’t make it as a competition winner.

We will post up more information on the competition judging process next week.

Richard Allan, Task Force Chair

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London Crime Mapping Live

We saw the official launch of the Metropolitan crime mapping service this week after a few weeks of beta presence online.

The FAQ page covers the issue of data protection that we discussed on this blog a while back. The relevant Q+As are:

Has the Information Commissioners Office been consulted in respect of the MPS approach?

Yes. The MPS has consulted fully with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) and the ICO is satisfied that the MPS has considered the data protection issues in crime mapping and that there are sufficient safeguards in terms of protecting the identity of victims of crime in relation to burglary, robbery and vehicle crime. The MPS will continue to seek advice from the ICO as the site continues to be developed.

In the USA crimes are published at street level and to a “point of occurrence”. Why can’t the MPS maps do the same?

In the UK the MPS is bound by the Data Protection Act and Human Rights Act. The MPS is not allowed to publish data that may inadvertently identify a living individual with that data; to do so would be in direct contravention of these Acts. These acts ensure that individuals and victims physical safety and emotional well-being are protected. The MPS has worked closely with the Information Commissioners Office to ensure full compliance with legislation governing which and in what form crimes can be released.

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The Task Force is delighted to announce the launch of , a competition inviting the public to suggest ideas for new products which re-use public information

There’s a prize fund of up to £20,000 to take the best ideas to the next stage of their development, and the competition if open until the end of September.

Go on, Show Us A Better Way…


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Government Jobs

Tom Watson MP has identified the listing of Government job vacancies as an interesting area which might benefit from a Power of Information approach.

He has written an article on his blog identifying a range of government job vacancies web pages and seeks comments on this subject.


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Opening Up Legislative Bodies

There are a number of projects around the world aimed at opening up the legislative process through creative re-use of the records produced by parliaments, congresses etc. It is worth looking at some of these power of information exemplars.

UK –

US –

EU – (How MEPs Work)

Australia –

There are some interesting lessons to take away from the approaches taken by each project to sourcing, mixing and presenting data.


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Crime Mapping – proof of concept

The Taskforce has been investigating what an ideal crime map might look like. Rather than a ‘fear of crime map’ how could one show the trends in crime in someone’s area and on the same screen provide information about police priorities in your neighbourhood and a one click connection to local police. That is providing information and reassurance alongside hard data.

The slideshow shows proof of concept mockups. We would welcome any suggestions from the GIS or policiing community (or indeed anyone else) on how these could be improved and their strengths and weaknesses


Filed under Crime, exemplar