Tracking UK Parliamentary Act Amendments

A flurry of posts around the interwebs today (e.g. + A CONCEALED ASSAULT ON PRIVACY +) picked up on some proposed amendments to the Data Protection Act that have found their way into the Coroners and Justice Bill that I posted about last week (Data Sharing is Good, Right? Or is HM Gov Evil?).

It struck me that it would be really handy to have a tool that could alert you to proposed amendments in your favourite Act in whatever Bills happen to be live at the moment.

A quick look at one of the websites provides an advanced search form that lets you search over current bills – UK Parliament Advanced Search:

Running a search on the phrase “the Data Protection Act 1998” and sorting the results by most recent first gave me a URL I could tinker with…

So here’s a pipe that’ll grab the most recent bills mentioning a particular act:

Clicking on a link should take you to the point in a Bill that mentions the Act you’re interested in:

Being a pipe, I get the RSS/JSON feed for free… which I can now subscribe to and use as an alerting service (for as long as the pipe’s screenscraping part works!) Ideally, of course, the parliamentary search would make results available as RSS…

As ever, this pipe took almost as much time to blog as it took to create…!

So maybe Charles Arthur should rethink If I had one piece of advice to a journalist starting out now, it would be: learn to code and instead focus on Learning to Think Like A Programmer?;-)

PS see also: They Work For You: Free Our Bills and They Work For You: Free Our Bills (Techy Stuff).

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

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