July 31st, 2013

More Flaws Emerge in Government Transparency Website

The Register has followed up Guido’s story yesterday about the government’s less than transparent new transparency website. They have delved a little deeper and found that when they downloaded the raw data of a department selected at random , this is what appeared in Excel:

Useful. Invariably, downloading the data merely gives you the limited information in the colourful boxes above in table form. But only for each sub-category of each department at any one time. So if you wanted a comprehensive spreadsheet of all the data across the whole government, across one department even, you would have to spend hours doing it yourself. In fairness to the Cabinet Office this is a beta version so they do the opportunity to iron out these faults. If they do GIST does have the potential to be a useful tool. And after all, all the best people in tech do go and work for the government…

UPDATE: A co-conspirator points out the maths is dodgy too:


  1. 1
    Sally Bercow says:

    I Like to spread sheets.


  2. 2
    Lord Stansted says:

    The tossers should use org-mode.


    • 12
      Spartacus says:

      the tossers should use something other than a computer that is little more than a kid’s toy


  3. 3
    Amazed says:

    How do you guys find out this stuff without maintaining any means of communication?


  4. 4
    Owen Jones says:

    Kampus sepi ye. Yaiyalah pin, cuma lo doang yg rajin mau lebaran gini ke kampus


  5. 6
    Fluffy Thoughts says:

    IEEE floating-point numbers. Standard output when attaching a JET-engine or HSSF rowset to a worksheet. Don’t see the issue myself….


  6. 7
    SNR says:

    I downloaded some of the data to look at the numbers.

    Under OSCAR, there appears to be no budget for the NHS pension scheme. Armed Forces has £5.5bn and Atomic Energy Authority has £253m but NHS is £0? And the Dept for International Development only has a budget for the 4th quarter of £52m, £0 for the other 3 quarters.

    If you look at the QDS data, the 4 quarters don’t add up to the year total on the summary page.


    • 26
      LB says:

      And if you look in the accounts, there is no mention of pensions. That’s because it would be obvious what’s going to happen if the numbers were published.


  7. 8
    Piers Morgan says:

    Simon Jenkins is against heavy Twitter regulation, but thinks Owen Jones’ tweets needs it. *slow handclap*


  8. 9
    Sad men says:

    Given the frequency of comments about “feminazis” here, I wonder how many are responsible for sending r*pe threat tweets. How brave you are, hiding behind a PC and sending disgusting violent threats to women online because of your own deep seated inadequacies.


    • 11
      Yawn. There's nothing new under the sun. says:

      Usual Lefty tactics. If you don’t like the message attack the messenger or as is more often concoct false charges.


      • 16
        Sad men says:

        “If you don’t like the message attack the messenger”

        You mean there’s a value to the message of “I’m going to kidnap, r*pe and kill you”?


        • 19
          Tweet Off says:

          Wrong site bud. If you want to be offensive or act like a loon then Twitter is the place you should go.


        • 20
          Cardinal Biggles says:

          The only time I’ve seen anyone on this blog write ‘I’m going to kidnap, r*pe and kill you’, is you, above.


          • Sad men says:

            “The only time I’ve seen anyone on this blog write ‘I’m going to kidnap, r*pe and kill you’, is you, above”

            Except that I never claimed those words were said here. I said there are frequently comments of a misogynist nature.


  9. 10
    Owen Jones says:

    How to make minestrone soup with green pesto: http://dld.bz/vnUY


  10. 13
    Sandra in Accounts says:

    Where is the spend on the EU?

    Where is all the “off the books” spending that Gordon & George love to hide from the balance sheet & taxpayer?


  11. 15
    Heel patch says:

    More opaque than transparent then, perhaps translucent?.


  12. 17
    Heel Patch says:

    LOL, the missing £18 billion must be the cost of setting up the website.


  13. 18
    A Taxpayer says:

    It tells you all you need to know about our civil service.

    Whoever is the head of the civil service should be fired. Today.


  14. 21
    Penfold says:

    Sabotage, sabotage…..blame the usual people.


  15. 22
    Ed Balls Ed Balls ED BALLS Ed Balls Ed Balls Ed Balls Ed Balls Ed Balls Ed Balls Ed Balls Ed Balls E says:

    How to save thro’ spending.


  16. 24
    To be fair ... says:

    In 2010, the government did say that it would make the raw data available, despite the fact that much of it comes from quirky legacy systems.

    The BBC and the Guardian frothed about the uselessness of it all, if it couldn’t be interpreted easily. But the government’s argument is sound – the data is there for anyone with an interest to delve into it and to find meaning.

    Of course, the government lies about so much …


  17. 25
    majorfrustration says:

    What with Government demands and the BBC we need to import more Techy people asap.


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