Summer 2014 Open data competition – Anonymised casework data

annual pie chart 2013to 2014: individual issues annual piechart

policy issues annual pie chart

Notes for Editors and Guidance for entrants

I realise that asking for an ‘infographic or application‘  makes the options very wide but I am looking for as much imagination and creativity as the data allows. I am happy for other (open) data to be included, for example someone might try to correlate certain casework with ambient temperature or air pollution…

The winner will be chosen based on the overall objective of sharing the data, which is to engage constituents with my constituency casework so that they understand better what I do as their MP, and more generally to promote the use of opendata. 

So we will ask the following questions as we judge the entrants:

•             How easy is it to engage with particularly for those who are not digitally literate?

•             How creativity does it convey the information about my casework?

•             How successfully does it inspire interest in the data specifically and/or the power of opendata more generally?

It is on the last criterion that an application might be more effective than in infographic but that is not necessarily the case.

Background to the data

•             I have two caseworkers (1.5 full time equivalents) and the data represents the cases they work on in a fortnightly reporting period. Most cases will be closed within a fortnight but complex ones may take longer and so may appear twice in a monthly dataset. An individual case can take between an hour (the minimum) and up to five to six hours though they will be outliers that take even longer.  A policy case can take between 5 minutes (for example a letter in response to  one of a batch of thirty or forty on the badger cull with exactly the same wording) and again up to five to six hours for complex policy questions, for example on  international tax havens. I am happy for you to make reasonable assumptions as to the distribution of the amount of time per case. Policy work will have more cases which take a short amount of time.  I will also spend time working on cases, particularly the more complex ones, so the total may exceed 1.5 FTE.

•             I do not believe any other MPs publish such data so I’m afraid there is no comparators at the individual or the aggregate level. Perhaps the results of this competition will encourage more MPs to do so!

•             Cases generally refer to an individual. We may be aware of other family members, for example in a child support case, but the case is referenced by the individual constituent who has contacted us.

•             I am happy to take feedback on what other data to capture to make future reports more interesting without over-burdening my staff.

•             Office enquires refers to more administrative calls to arrange an appointment or the delivery of documentation

•             Government departments refers to casework which is directed to a particular department such as the Home Office but is not on an issue frequent enough to be broken out separately like Education.

The closing date for entry is 1st October 2014.

For more details on the competition, contact Mark Simmonds at







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