Tuesday, February 10, 2009

If that is strong then what is weak?

Last year, the Goevrnment did a competition caleld Show us a Better Way that was driven by the Power of Information Taskforce and wanted ideas for how information could be better presented to the proles. Basically crime maps and that sort of thing. According to Tom Watson, in a written response in Parliament "[t]he Show Us A Better Way competition generated a strong public response, with over 450 entries."

Now, if you please excuse my rampant cynicism, if 450 responses from an electorate in excess of 20 million is considered a "strong" response, I'd hate to know what level of response would have been considered weak. I'm now left wondering what the cost of the website and operating the competition actually was.

Perhaps a kindly MP's research assistent may read this and ask the question. Fingers crossed!

11 comments:

Roger Pearse said...

I'm not sure what point you're making. Would it be better that they didn't bother consulting the proles? Surely not.

dizzy said...

Largely I am wondering how 450 responses can be considered a "strong" response. As I said, Im curious how much the process actually cost as well.

Lola said...

Mr Brown? Let me show you a better way. Over there. The door marked 'exit'. Just mind the drop on the....oh sorry.

Childprotector said...

I think you are being a little unfair. At least this initiative gave the public a much-needed opportunity to engage with the system and see that their ideas could make a difference. The competition invited ideas for websites that would use Government information for public benefit and many of them (eg location of recycling facilities, schools and postboxes and information on how public money is spent)were rather good. Clearly, if the whole thing cost a fortune, like that ludicrously expensive eco-town website that you have highlighted, those involved should be censured, but let's allow some credit for the idea.

dalesman said...

"Childprotector", is any idea a good idea then?

Childprotector said...

dalesman (14.41) I didn't say that any idea is good - but several of those submitted to the initiative are, and let's not discourage them. At least it's a tiny sign that the system listens to us occasionally

Oldrightie said...

dalesman (14.41) I didn't say that any idea is good - but several of those submitted to the initiative are, and let's not discourage them. At least it's a tiny sign that the system listens to us occasionally
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The system listen? You must be mad or daft or both!

Thatsnews said...

Presumably Jacqui Smith would be down as fraud on this Crime Map, then? Or no?

Simon Dickson said...

The 'Show Us A Better Way' website is actually a very cleverly designed blog, running on Typepad. It was built (at least in part) by Tom Loosemore - ex BBC, then at Ofcom, now at Channel 4.

I'm guessing it's a pro account, which gives full design and branding flexibility: cost £76/year, covering both the application and its hosting. (I think that's ex VAT, although the page doesn't specify. With 15% on top, that's £87.28.)

http://www.sixapart.com/uk/typepad/pricing/

Personally, I'd say 450 was a pretty healthy return, especially for that kind of cash outlay.

dizzy said...

The cost price and what was charged to Government will be very different things surely?

tomski said...

That reminds me, I never did get round to expensing the TypePad Pro account. So the Government is quids in, at least for the £80 the TypePad Pro account cost me.

I did get a freelance to do the design, templates and code/host the idea submission CGI using the TypePad API. Think that cost a couple of grand, including 12 months hosting of the CGI.

Took 3 weeks from Ministerial nod to go live. As all such projects should do, frankly.