[@OKau] Catch up on what how the gov has been improving access to grants data

Rosie Williams BudgetAus at hotmail.com
Thu Dec 10 02:32:48 UTC 2015

I've been too busy of late to blog about the improvements in grants data so here is my catch up post:


Also a note- I have this data now by LGA, postcode & electorate combined with tenders calculated per head. Hopefully I can get this new version uploaded to the server soon. I've been busy with OpenAus:Charities which I should blog about in more detail next.

Catch up on data accessibility improvements
December 10, 2015

| No Comments<https://openaus.net.au/blog/2015/12/10/395//#comments>

Those of you following my story<https://openaus.net.au/about.php> will know that I have been working (without pay) on open data projects for some time now. Over this time I have seen the federal budget opened as a line-item CSV for use in OpenAus:Budget<https://openaus.net.au/budget/index.php> (formerly BudgetAus) and watched over the publication of Commonwealth grants data in a common and re-usable format. I am the first re-user of government grants data from all available agencies (so far as I am aware) and as such have been keen to provide feedback to government on how they can improve the accessiblity and quality of this data.

This blog post is to catch up on what has been happening in this area over past weeks/months. I have previously blogged about the failure of agencies to republish their grants funding data in a manner consistent with reporting requirements. Grant data is being prepared for a portal similar to Austenders (which provides tenders from all Commonwealth agencies in one place as a weekly export). This new platform is due to go live next year so requires all agencies to report the grants they award according to a common schema. Until the new platform is in place, agencies are required to meet their reporting requirement by publishing grants data for re-use on their own site.

Among others, I have been eagerly awaiting the publication of grants with a common schema so I can use all the data sets together. This was not happening so I emailed Malcolm Turnbull<https://openaus.net.au/blog/2015/10/13/letter-to-our-new-pm-re-indigenous-advancement-strategy-grants-data/> just after he took over as PM to remind the government of the reporting requirements.

Advocates of Indigenous peoples<https://openaus.net.au/blog/2015/08/21/we-need-to-talk-about-transparency-in-indigenous-spending/> wanted access to the Indigenous Advancement Strategy grants as open data (as opposed to only being able to search it on the site of the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet). I also wanted grants as open data from the Departments of Employment and Education as they did not appear to have any grants data online at all.

I was pleasantly surprised a few weeks ago to discover that all these data-sets had been made available for re-use at their respective websites so I set about adding them to theOpenAus database<https://openaus.net.au/>. There is still work to be done. Not all grant programs are published as re-usable data so I do not have a complete set. There were some confusing moments when I would try to open files purported to be .xls files only to find that they were actually HTML files named as .xls files<http://www.glump.net/howto/web/serve-html-as-an-excel-file-from-a-web-application> as a cheap and easy way to provide Excel downloads.

[Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 1.03.31 pm]<https://openaus.net.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Screen-Shot-2015-12-10-at-1.03.31-pm.png>

You can see with the drop-down box that the major agencies are now repubulishing the grants data for re-use - although the quality requires improvement. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the government for any cooperation they have engaged with to make data available for re-use in projects like OpenAus<https://openaus.net.au/>.

I look forward to the public consultations<http://ogpau.govspace.gov.au/> about to begin to create the Open Government Partnership National Action Plan and the user consultations<https://blog.data.gov.au/news-media/blog/datagovau-public-user-needs-workshop> for data.gov.au - the governments open data repository. Hopefully this will provide planning for more robust processes allowing the public and the government to work together to provide information back to the community to better inform and evaluate public services.

Rosie Williams BA (Sociology)
 NoFibs.com.au<http://nofibs.com.au> - Open Data Reporter | OpenAus<https://openaus.net.au> - Founder and Developer

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