Malleable Musings

September 15, 2009

Making data work for you

Filed under: Life at home — Brendan @ 9:12 pm

I got really cheesed off today because I went over to the Queen’s Road Post Office in Leicester having checked the Royal Mail website to see that it had a check and send passport service.

On getting there I was told that they couldn’t do anything and that my son’s passport application would need to wait. (As an aside I can’t believe he’s only five and he’s already on his second passport – it just seems so wrong.)

The staff behind the counter were very helpful and told me they get numerous people coming in about passports and other services that the website supposedly says they offer. The counter-staff were telling me that they’ve contacted the website people several times to try and get them to alter the information as I was muttering to myself and leaving.

However on getting home went back to site and re-read it. The issue is that the “Find your nearest Check & Send Post Office® branch” links to a generic find a post office tool.

I then found an alternative tool to find Check & Send Post Offices on the DirectGov website which seems to work correctly.

I’ve been a long advocate for organisations opening up their data. In my new job opening up of our agent data is one of the things I’m currently arguing for. However my experience today was an important reminder for me that extreme care needs to be taken with data in terms of ensuring accuracy and making sure the description is correct in order for it to become useful.

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