In an earlier post I overviewed the progress being made in improving transparency in Commonwealth grants spending, exemplified (or so I thought) by the publication of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy grants data at the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet website.
Indigenous grants used to be administered and published by the Department of Social Services (along with all other grants they had been publicly reporting for years made available by yours truly). The Abbott government decided to take this responsibility away from the Social Services Portfolio and make it their own and along with others, I have been waiting for the grants data to go up on the DPM&C website so that I can use this data to meet the needs of the community:
— Wendy Bacon (@Wendy_Bacon) March 30, 2015
I was less than impressed upon taking a closer look at the IAS grants reporting at the DPM&C site to realise that I had jumped the gun in assuming they were using the new guideline to improve transparency. As there is no way to download the information as an open data set it looks very much like their interface is actually more likely to be an effort to control the means and results of how this data is interrogated. I immediately contacted the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet and was asked to email their web services to look into this. My email is here:
Congratulations on your searchable database of grants funding for the IAS. I would like to re-use this data as an open data set but can not find any way to download the data set for this purpose.An example of other agencies doing this is the Department of Industry where you can see at the top of the page the button for download of the data set in XLS http://www.industry.gov.au/AboutUs/LegalandLegislativeReporting/Grants/Grants-2015/Pages/July-September.aspxI know of many organisations, citizens and journalists who would like the benefits of having the IAS grants data made available in usable formats and these requests have been made public http://infoaus.net/wp/does-the-data-make-a-difference/I look forward to being able to use this data-set to meet the needs of the community and would appreciate a speedy response.
Thank you for your email. At the moment the website does not have the function to download the dataset in other formats. I will submit your suggestion to our development team for future consideration and will be happy to let you know if that function ever becomes available.