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 20 August 2008

Case Law

Posted in: ATOM Feed | REST API              

37 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: Francis Irving

Public Sector Information Holder: HM Court Service

Information Asset: Case law

The problem

Case law is a vital part of British law, which it is necessary to have access to in order to understand and obey the law.

Some case law is published via the independent charity BAILII. However, it is essentially proprietary information.

BAILII prevent it from being accessible to the general public via standard search engines, and prevent reuse in imaginative new projects.

My ideal solution

Publication of all case law by all courts on either the court, or the court service, website.

Failing that, simply publishing the same raw feed of decisions which is sent to BAILII would be excellent.

What I would do

Initially, simply enjoy all the new people finding decisions with search engines.

Others will create simple email alerting and RSS projects, to help people keep abreast of new cases.

Later, feed all the data into projects such as the Free Legal Web.

Posted at Wednesday, 20 August 2008 20:53:07 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [0] #   

 10 July 2008

School Performance Tables

Posted in: DCSF | REST API | XML              

3 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: Ave Wrigley

Public Sector Information Holder: Department for Children, Schools and Families

Information Asset: School Performance Tables

The problem

The DCSF school performance tables are available on the DCSF website ( but not in a format that is easily usable.

My ideal solution

I would like to access this data in a more convenient format (preferably XML, or through a REST API). I would also like to link this data with other information sources about schools (e.g. Ofsted reports) so it is important to have a universal system of school identifiers (currently DCSF and Ofsted appear to use independent systems).

What I would do

I would use it in my google maps schools mashup ( to help people to access information about local schools more conveniently.

Posted at Thursday, 10 July 2008 17:30:09 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [0] #   

 8 July 2008

National Planning Appeals

Posted in: Planning | REST API              

2 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: Richard Pope,

Public Sector Information Holder: Planning Inspectorate

Information Asset:National Planning Appeals

The problem

Planning is a volunteer run free service that emails people when a planning application has been loged near where they live. We would like to be able to add national planning appeals to this service (ones made direct to the planning inspectorate).

My ideal solution

A data feed of national planning appeals ideally in this format: but any machine readable format is fine.

What I would do

Use it to email people when a national planning appeal is made.

Posted at Tuesday, 08 July 2008 10:37:37 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [1] #   

Schools database (EduBase)

Posted in: ATOM Feed | DCSF | REST API              

1 Supporter so far - add your name

Posted by: Feargal Hogan

Public Sector Information Holder: Department for Children, Schools and Families

Information Asset: EduBase

The problem

June 2006 I was setting up a school governors website and was very interested in allowing new members to say which schools they are associated with. I asked DfES for a list under FoI. Scottish, Welsh and NI lists are available.

DfES directed me to Edubase who 'allow' download of 150 school details for free but require payment (via "Go Direct" on 01943 854854) for larger tranches.

My ideal solution

A spreadsheet, similar to, published regularly but containing the fields listed in the Edubase dataset.

What I would do

Build a feed to make this available as RSS/xml

Posted at Tuesday, 08 July 2008 10:03:12 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [1] #   


Posted in: Bills | Parliament | REST API              

4 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: John Cross

Public Sector Information Holder: UK Parliament

Information Asset: Bills

The problem

The way bills are currently published makes it excessively difficult for people/organizations to provide:

(i) email alerts where a bill mentions something of interest
(ii) information about which amendments an MP has voted for
(iii) allow people who understand bills to annotate them
(iv) many other useful services

In short, the way bills are published makes it more difficult for campaigning groups and charities to bridge the gap between the people who pass the laws and everyone else.

My ideal solution

The bills should be published as structured data. This is relatively easy and inexpensive but once it is done people and organisations can start the real work of building useful applications.

One such organisation MySociety has already gone as far as setting out how the data could be structured and has estimated the initial cost to be around £10,000. They have also estimated that no more than one full-time employee would be needed (while Parliament is in session) to published the bills in a structured form.

See technical details suggested by MySociety here:

What I would do

I am not a software programmer so if the data was published I would have to wait for organisations like MySociety or Friends of the Earth or Unlock Democracy to build applications that I could use to:

  • sign up to email alerts to find out about things I care about
  • find out how my MP was voting on bills/amendments
  • find out what amendments actually mean
  • lobby my MP to vote for/against

Posted at Tuesday, 08 July 2008 09:54:18 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [1] #   

 7 July 2008

London Gazette Supplements

Posted in: ATOM Feed | London Gazette | OPSI | REST API              

2 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: Harry Metcalfe

Public Sector Information Holder: Office of Public Sector Information

Information Asset: London Gazette Supplements

The problem

Notices & Supplements are not available in any machine readable format. They contain a wide range of extremely useful information about the activities of government and business.

My ideal solution

I would suggest two improvements that should run alongside each other:

  • A REST API to query the existing database of notices and supplements. Data should be returned in XML or some equivalently useful format, and the API should be able to perform text searches, limit results by date or the type of notice/supplement, etc.
  • An Atom feed for new notices. The system should provide a "see everything" feed as well as allowing users to specify what they'd like to see more narrowly, along the same lines as the database search API. This is essentially the same as the API, but provides 'live' access to the latest information in the gazette, rather than a search for its back catalogue.

What I would do

This is a rich dataset that provides many opportunities for innovation. One could use the information to monitor for the registration of company names of interest and to be notified of corporate insolvencies. Notifications of upcoming major roadworks could be overlaid onto a map, as could applications to discharge fluids into national waterways.Various notifications of applications for planning are published in the Gazette, which could be of great interest to those affected by them, and could be worked into services such as

There is such a wide variety of data in this dataset that the possibilities are limited only by imagination.

Posted at Monday, 07 July 2008 09:20:33 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [0] #