The confluence of a number of initiatives around the UK Government’s transparency agenda has opened up a significant and exciting opportunity to deliver the first of a number of applications that will be made available in the Knowledge Hub App Store. The foundations for this initiative include:
1. The transparency agenda requirement for all authorities to openly publish spending data in reusable from January 2011 onwards.
2. Announcement about the publication of Government spending data
3. LG Group Practitioner Guide to publishing local spend data
4. ESD-Toolkit project to develop an online tool that will convert council csv files on spending into RDF, Linked Data format.
5. The announcement by Talis to offer UK Local Authorities free Linked Data hosting for published expenditure data
6. The Knowledge Hub project to provide an open platform for community collaboration and development of value-added applications (mashups etc.).
The key differentiators between this KHub app and the many and varied apps and websites that are now publishing details of government or local government spend data are:
1. The purpose is to provide insight and opportunities for improving local council performance and efficiency and not just to know where and how money is being spent. This will be achieved by including additional contextual data from sources such as ONS, to provide data on spend per head for specific service lines, e.g. social care.
2. The app and the business intelligence it offers will support the work of local council officers and heads of department; it can be used by citizens though this is not the primary audience.
3. It is, as the name suggests, using linked data to add context to open spend data, i.e. delivering the benefits of a semantic web application. (What is open and linked data?)
The proposed KHub App will interface with an aggregate store of local authority open spend data, hosted on the Talis platform. The App will enable the user to perform deep-dive queries and visualisation of specific spend data categories, and spend data comparisons across local authorities.
The specification of the Linked Data Spend App is currently work in progress, but some ideas for what the App could potentially deliver include:
- Spend by category: charts and tables, drill down into service
- Spend by supplier: charts and tables
- Supplier by categories: who are the suppliers and who do they supply: table with links to companies house information
- Spend by region or council by category: overlaid on an interactive map
- Spend by region or council by service: overlaid on an interactive map with drill down into service and category
- Spend over time
- Productivity measures: spend per head on social care, spend per head on bin collection, spend per mile of highway maintenance.
Outputs from this project, apart from the app itself, will be:
- Documentation on how the application(s) could be hosted on any web site.
- Published code developed for the visualisation application(s) under open source license.
The Linked Data Spend App will be launched early 2011 and will be one of many apps delivered as part of the Knowledge Hub App project.
Data flows for the Linked Data Spend App.
See also the Talis blog on this project.
More details will be provided as part of the launch communications. In the mean time I will be happy to respond to any questions.
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