Andy Mabbett has an interesting post on his pigsonthewing blog about the difficulties surrounding open data for councils and subsequent media interpretations and reports.
Giving an example of grant funding and council spending, where conditions may involve money being spent on certain forms of advertising, he adds that often this is misinterpreted by some members of the press, unaware of the attached conditions or other related spending on important projects involved. As a result, the headlines focus on what appears to be unusual spending.
As a supporter of the principles of open public data, he says a solution needs to be found.
What can council’s do to prevent this scenario? Annotate every spend item in their published data? Surely impractical. List such items separately? I don’t know (and don’t get me wrong, I’m an open-data advocate; and this is a relatively minor matter, which shouldn’t stop such data from being published), but do I hope somebody has an answer.