Validating Local Spending Data

In passing, I noticed on the Local Government Association (LGA) website a validator for checking the format of documents used to publish local council spending data, as well as various other data releases (contracts, planning applications, toilet locations, land holdings etc): LGA OpenData Schema Validator.

LGA_opendata_Schema_validator

I wonder how many councils are publishing new releases that actually validate, and how many have “back-published” historical data releases using a format that validates?! When officers publish data files, I wonder how many of them even try to download and open the data files they have just published (to check the links work, the documents open as advertised, and also appear to contain what’s expected), let alone run either the uploaded or downloaded files through the validator (it often makes sense to do both: check the file validates before you publish it, then download it and check the downloaded version, just in case the publishing process has somehow mangled the file…)

Guidance for the spending data releases can be found here: Local government open data schemas: Spend

Documentation regarding the release of procurement and spending information (v. 1.1 dated 14/12/2014) can be found here: Local transparency guidance – publishing spending and procurement information.

I’ve still no real idea how to make interesting use of this data, or how DCLG expect folk to make use of it?!;-)

2 comments

  1. not-a-fan-of-quangos

    This is funded by LGA. They’re paying authorities to use it through their incentive scheme.

    • Tony Hirst

      I think I’m in favour of it in principle, but as with many of these initiatives I imagine take up will be, erm, patchy… The best I think we can hope for in short to mid-term is procured IT systems to publish data consistently by vendor at least, using formats that can be mapped forgivingly (but consistently) to a reasonable convention/de facto standard or representation?