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Improving data content: Help-to-Buy statistics

We’re conscious that OpenDataCommunities has implications not just for you as users of our data, but also for us as publishers of official statistics. So in a pioneering move, from 1st August 2014, we’ve been publishing DCLG’s official statistics on the cumulative number of Help-to-Buy sales exclusively on OpenDataCommunities.

The data are available for Local Authorities, Parliamentary Constituencies, and Postcode Sectors. We have also developed a demonstration application for you to explore the data, and inspire others to build innovative new tools and insights.

Help-to-Buy, Parliamentary Constituency Map and chart
Our Help-to-Buy demonstration application

We’re adopting this approach because we believe OpenDataCommunities offers you much more flexibility in accessing our data that a typical Excel table does. Non-technical users can browse to exactly the Local Authorities they’re interested in using the Geo Selector. Developers can query our data directly, over the web (via SPARQL endpoint) and re-use it in their own applications as soon as it’s updated. The data is available for reuse in a wide variety of formats, including CSV, JSON and RDF.

Crucially, such an approach is also compliant with the UK Statistics Authority Code of Practice governing the release of UK official statistics. Principle 8, Frankness and Accessibility, states that official statistics should be “disseminated in forms that enable and encourage analysis and re-use.” OpenDataCommunities addresses this by offering users DCLG data in a variety of forms, including programmatic access.

We realise there is more we can do to make our data more accessible and reveal insight more readily. We hope that forthcoming improvements to OpenDataCommunities, such automatic mapping visualisations, will help. But as ever, we welcome your views on how we can improve further. Please leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments below, or email us at ODC@communities.gsi.gov.uk