The Prime Minister has recently reaffirmed the government’s commitment to open data, and in particular to publishing various types of transparency data, in an open letter to cabinet. This includes data on ministerial meetings, gifts, travel and hospitality, government spend and contracts, and workforce information such as organogram data.
In looking at how we can improve the publishing of organogram data, the data.gov.uk team has been investigating how our organogram visualisation tool is being used and whether it’s meeting user needs.
Our research has found that:
- the tool is being used for things that it wasn’t designed for, like finding out who to contact, and what their contact details are, and so users get frustrated when the tool doesn’t meet their needs
- some users want to visualise and use the data in different ways. We can’t build tools for all of those needs, but we can focus on providing users with high-quality data that they can visualise themselves
The current visualisation tool is on a technical platform that is unsustainable and the tool itself isn’t fully accessible either, so it needs to be retired.
We’re going to maintain the visualisation tool until Spring 2018 and at that point we will retire it. The organogram data will still be available, and the requirement for departments to regularly publish this data will continue.
In the short term, data publishers should continue to publish in the usual way. We plan to prioritise improving publisher tools that will help ensure that organogram data is of consistently high quality.
We remain committed to continually improving data publication, ensuring we meet the needs of citizens in the way we publish data and enable it to be found. Publishing government data is crucial for accountability, delivering the best value for money, cutting waste and inefficiency and ensuring every pound of taxpayers’ money is spent in the best possible way.