2016 Open Data Competition

Take part in Chi’s 2016 Open Data Competition by submitting an app or infographic using Newcastle upon Tyne Central’s constituency casework open data for the last year. The entry who is the most innovative, interesting or useful in their use of the data will be judged the winner. The winner will be invited to tea with Chi in the Pugin room in House of Commons.









The closing date for entries is 17 September 2016.

Open Data is data that can be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone – subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and sharealike. Examples include insolvency notices in the London Gazette, Government spending information, natural environment information such as the presence and level of pollutants, and information from the Official National Statistics such as the census.

The data can be downloaded as an Excel file here or as an open spreadsheet file here.

Update 16/08: Because of the 2015 General Election campaign when there was, technically, no Members of Parliament, some of the casework data was attributed to the wrong month. This has now been corrected.


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.


For more details on the competition, contact Carol Stanners at carol.stanners@parliament.uk

One thought on “2016 Open Data Competition

  1. Green Energy Audits

    Thanks for the great share! I also like the idea of Home Energy. The best part I like is this: The reliability and availability of modern energy sources cause people to tend to assume that it will always be accessible. And as for the case of non-renewable energy sources, most people do not know or maybe even refuse to accept that it will eventually run out.

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