Inputs to the Office of National Statistics

July 9, 2010

I’ve mentioned before that I’m interested in the data the Office of National Statistics (ONS) use for their reports. I mean the raw data they use. Through looking at local authority finances I’ve been able to add more to my picture:

The acronyms stand for:

  • The CSDB (central shared database) does not use an ORACLE database. I have some details about the CSDB, like its size and how frequently it is backed up. I requested the CSDB training materials but that request has been delayed. I’ve also, cheekily, requested a database dump of it. That request has also been delayed!
  • The CORD system (Centralised ONS Repository of Data) used for some parts of the annual production process in ELS does use an ORACLE database. I have the CORD schema, and have requested the CORD training materials, but this request has been delayed. Can you see a theme in how the ONS are handling freedom of information requests?

The acronyms for the input reports can be found in my previous post about local authority finances.

It would be my ideal if, in the future, the ONS list and publish the raw data they aggregate in their reports. I’ve written before, but it bears repeating, that if the publication of COINS taught us anything, it should be that within a week of publishing data the government can expect an impressive range of free, and in many cases open source, products to display the data. Surely this is good for public understanding and the public purse?

UPDATE: this document(PDF) is quite useful for insights into ONS inputs.

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