Posted by: Dain Morritt
Public Sector Information Holder:Business Innovation and Skill (& Education?)
Information Asset: Raw data from important physics experiments - including particle physics
With the rise of the internet and access to a huge range of often conflicting and unproven physics theories (especially particle physics), it is extremely difficult for individuals to test, prove or disprove these theories as they do not have access to good, raw data, to use to test any hypothesis. Many of these individuals have great ideas (and some mad ones!) but their collective brainpower is not being harnessed as they are outside the normal physics circles. Much of the UK's physics work, especially in particle physics is government funded.
My ideal solution
The provision of sample sets of high quality, well documented experimental data from key experiments. Examples could include: Young's slit experiments with single photons, high energy impacts that lead to the production of subatomic particles, raw atomic spectrum data, experimental quantum entanglement data. Not every experiment, just those seen as key to the corporate body of knowledge, and work that is centrally funded. This would enable those interested in Physics - students and those institutions who do not have access to key facilities - to recreate experiments virtually, and lead to an increased interest in the study of physics. There are a lot of armchair physicists out there who would jump at the chance to test their theories with real data.
What I would do
Personally I would focus my own research so that I could use some of the data to help my prove (or disprove) my 'alternative' theories. I would also be happy that physics had been opened up to huge numbers of people in a way that would encourage increased interest in physics and engineering.
Posted by: Sue Baillie
Public Sector Information Holder: DEFRA
Information Asset: National Park Authorities Members 'other interests'
National Parks currently have un-elected members on their authority boards. These members often wear a number of other 'hats' that the general public may not be aware of. These other interests could be seen as prejudicial to local decision-making. If these members were locally elected then the general public would KNOW who they were voting for and what other 'hats' these people wear.
My ideal solution
The ideal solution would be to make available to the public, in one place of access, a list of ALL other boards, authorities, councils etc., that National Park Authority Members have an interest in and what remuneration or expenses they draw from each 'seat'.
What I would do
Our group (One Voice) would make a link available from our website. We only inform and empower our members, it would be their decision as to how they may or may not use that information.
Posted by: Nick Gulliford
Public Sector Information Holder:DCLG
Information Asset: Family stability
When the Labour government was elected, the Social Exclusion Unit announced that there were eight indicators of deprivation, one of which was 'family breakdown'. However, when the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit and the ONS published the Neighbourhood Indices of Deprivation in 2001 there were only seven of them, plus an Index of Multiple Deprivation, the omission being 'family breakdown'.
No one has given a satisfactory explanation as to why there is no Neighbourhood Index of Domestic and Social Cohesion or 'family stability'.
No one will take seriously the Conservative Party's pronouncements on promoting family stability until it takes seriously the issue of measuring changes at a neighbourhood level. Whilst there is discussion of some aspects of family policy, the important issue of how measuring outcomes will be achieved is not included.
At the start of 2009 a Local [Neighbourhood] Index of Child Well-being was published – though not included in the Index of Multiple Deprivation; this was published through the DCLG which is now responsible for the Indices.
There seems to me to be every good reason why there should be a Local [Neighbourhood] Index for 'family stability'. Local authorities should - like Cambridgeshire - all have a policy to promote it and neighbourhood leaders - school governors, parish councillors, GPs and health professionals, clergy and community leaders - should all have easy access to it so they can measure the effectiveness of local programmes and policies for relationship education.
At present the neighbourhood indices become incomprehensible below the parish level as neighbourhoods are given numbers not names.
My ideal solution
The ideal solution would be to add a 'family stability' index to the Indices of Deprivation. Most of the important statistics are already collected.
The main problem is the statistics are either not published or are published in a form in which they are not much use in the context of measuring local changes in 'family stability' or 'domestic and social cohesion'.
Measuring every time a couple 'shack up' or 'split up' is extremely difficult, if not impossible.
But, there are some suitable 'proxy indicators'. A sufficient number of statistics relating to family stability and domestic and social cohesion are collected now, such as:
- incidents of domestic violence
- teenage conceptions
- out of wedlock births
- single parent households
- married households
At present the marriage and divorce statistics do not reliably record the post codes of the parties concerned. But I do not believe it is an impossible task to record the addresses of newly married couples and the previous address of a divorced couple. All that is required is the political will to make it happen.
There is likely to be some argument about what should be included among the components of an index of 'domestic and social cohesion', and what weightings should be given to those components. However, the other 7 indices of deprivation all have a mixture of components with different weightings, so I do not see the task to be too difficult.
One startling and indisputable fact that has emerged from the MPs expenses fiasco is that when a spotlight is shone upon the statistics, people sit up and take notice.
If we were able to view a broad range of components of 'family stability' or 'domestic and social cohesion' by neighbourhood, I believe we should start to see why some neighbourhoods are more successful than others in improving family stability and thereby reducing family breakdown.
What I would do
David Cameron and his colleagues keep telling us that the root causes of family breakdown must be tackled, but why should we believe them if they won't commit to publishing statistics so that changes by neighbourhood can be measured?
Why should we believe them when the Conservative controlled councils are not actually doing anything to promote 'family stability or 'domestic and social cohesion?
I would keep on rubbing it into politicians that it is actions not words that count. Until they are prepared to measure changes in family stability by neighbourhood, I shan't believe the rhetoric.