Making data easily accessible is something all Welsh public bodies should be doing, whether it’s Welsh Government, your local authority or your local health board. It’s probably fair to say that in reality there’s room for improvement. The good news though is that we’re working together to find ways to do things better.
As public bodies we’re all required to publish equality data about the people who work for us. We are obliged to do this under something called the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED). Whilst we all currently do this it’s not always easy to find the data as different bodies publish it on different parts of their websites. Also the data is not always available in the most easily accessible format. Most of us publish the data within a report in PDF format which is not great if you want to get at the actual data.
So, what’s the solution?……..Open Data
To address these issues all we need to do is publish our data as open data in spreadsheets alongside our reports. Whilst in theory this is pretty simple this is not currently the usual way that public bodies have presented such information. So to help, we recently developed some straightforward open data guidance, along with a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document. We also hosted a couple of webinars (basically an online seminar), in English and Welsh, so people could ask anything not covered by the guidance documents we’d produced.
It was really encouraging to see how positive the various public bodies were in publishing their data as open data. However, it’s important that if people want to use this data they need to be able to find it in the first place. Particularly if people are interested in gathering the data for all the public bodies. So to make it easier for people to find the data we’ve created a page on our StatsWales site that contains a list of links for each of the public bodies that we’ve work with so far. Clicking on the links take people directly to the data for the relevant public body.
We’re really pleased that a large proportion of public bodies have already published their PSED data openly. For those who have not managed to do so just yet we’re hoping to continue working with them and get them added to the list as soon as possible.
We understand that different bodies may be using different categories which may pose a few problems for those wanting to make use of this data, however this is an important first step in making these data easy to find and access.
Post by: Rachel Dolman, Knowledge and Analytical Services, Welsh Government