Datashare: Oh Dear

This has been bugging us for a while: Colchester Borough Council’s Datashare dashboard.

It’s all about the data, stooopid.

Isn’t it?

And so the idea behind Datashare is that… data is shared.

It sounds simple, but CBC makes it an online minefield to try and navigate.

Openness and transparency in #localgov have been the buzzwords ever since that nice Eric Pickles attempted to open up Town Halls for more external scrutiny back in 2010.

It seems that CBC is still playing catch up.

Which is all rather odd, given that only last night the Governance Committee was discussing how to bring residents closer to the decisions being made at the Town Hall.

The main gripe with Datashare is that the data is made difficult to find.

We get an alert each month whenever the section involving expenditure over £500+ is updated.

We click through, and then after digging beneath the layers, we finally get a table that is not exactly easy to search.

You can download a CSV file.

But why not just upload a spreadsheet on a clearly signposted page on the CBC site?

We suspect that this all has to do with the backbone for Datashare. The rather odd ‘designed and built by Redbridge Council’ badge in the footer is a bit of a giveaway.

All of this confusion is just an open invitation to FoI’s – something which is then a further strain on resources.

Much like we blogged about yesterday: is there really no local developers in our Sunny Colch patch that could have provided a better solution?

Oh dear.