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GDS and LGA work on electoral data standard

21/02/18

Effort aimed at providing more consistent and machine readable form of publication

The Government Digital Service (GDS) has called for feedback on a standard for publishing election data in advance of the Local Government Association (LGA) using it in a trial this year.

Polling station signIts Open Standards Team has been working with the LGA on a standardised format for displaying election results. This responds to an understanding that a more consistent form of publication would increase openness as part of the Government Transformation Strategy.

document on the format has been published and the organisations have called for feedback, which will be used by the LGA in deciding which election it should apply to and how it could evolve.

As things stand some local authorities publish election data in open formats and link it to their home page, but others upload it in proprietary file formats that can be hard to read without the specific software.

In a blogpost, GDS said some authorities have even just uploaded a scan of a photocopied tally of the results.

Among the features of the standard is guidance on the appropriate labelling of entities such as the type of election, contested constituency and political parties.

The document for the standard says the schema specification is capable of being interpreted by human and machine readable techniques, and should not impose an extra burden on local authorities, but repeat the publication of current data in a secondary form.

It adds that the LGA is consulting with suppliers of proprietary electoral management systems to get their input and support.

Image by RachelH, CC BY 2.0 through flickr

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