Data Tsunami

The government has done another public spending data dump today. It’s one of the policies that I was really in favour of before the election and it’s good to see the coalition holding to it’s word with this release. The raw data is available from the Cabinet Office and should soon appear on the government’s data portal data.gov.uk. Reports of what is being done with the data is being followed by people like the Guardian Free our Data bloggers. Expect people like the Open Knowledge people to come up with some fancy visualisations of the data at Where Does My Money Go.

I’m sure there will be a number of stories about individual line items that get queried, something ministers want to happen. I’m hoping people will in general take a more holistic view of what’s being provided. It won’t benefit anyone if we tie up banks of expensive civil servants answering FOI requests to justify and contextualise individual items in the data set. However I’m hoping there will be some serious analysis on the trends of spending as well as leaving people more informed of what government actually does.

Personally I’m looking forward to next year when all contracts over 25,000 will be published. That should really make for some interesting reading.