Balneus

Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Posts Tagged ‘Gov2.0’

Most Oz Auditors-General do not provide RSS feeds

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-04-13

It’s bleg time… for people who’d like to get all Auditor General offices to provide an RSS feed of announcements and reports.  I’m after ideas (a list of questions near the bottom of the post) and even cosignatories for a request that each audit office provide such a feed.

These days, with Gov 2.0 a buzz-word, and given the excellent work by Club Troppo‘s own Nicholas Gruen, you would expect almost all agencies to provide RSS feeds, and preferably, like the parliament, a range of news feeds for different purposes.

You might expect that an Auditor General would provide RSS feeds, as such an agency is not responsible to the executive, but to the parliament.

Yet only the audit offices of Western Australia (http://www.audit.wa.gov.au) and the federal ANAO (http://www.anao.gov.au) provide RSS feeds, or are getting them set up.

I’d searched both with Google (http://google.com/search?q=RSS+site:audit.vic.gov.au) and visually through the Victorian Auditor General’s site (http://www.audit.vic.gov.au) for news feeds, with no joy, so sent a nice polite email to the office asking for a link to their feed for new reports and/or media announcements.

I received a polite reply as follows, but no joy. (I’ve linkified the relevant bits).

Dear Dave,
We do not have an RSS feed for our reports as we have a subscription service.
We use this purely to send alerts when we publish our reports.
You can subscribe vis this page:
http://www.audit.vic.gov.au/reports__publications/subscription_service.aspx
Regards,
Lesya Bryndzia
Communications Assistant
Victorian Auditor-General’s Office
Level 24, 35 Collins St. Melbourne Vic. 3000
t: (03) 8601 1666 f: (03) 8601 7010 e: lesya.bryndzia@audit.vic.gov.au

Well, I knew all about the subscription service – I get those emails.

But I want an RSS feed, easy to read, easy to share, and would have thought any agency would want their work spread easily – unless burying something is an aim.

I want the same in RSS as I get via email, a paragraph or two per report, and a link to the main report page – but one RSS item per report, and with a useful subject line.

<p>Because setting up an RSS feed is pretty trivial compared to an email subscription service (with all the costs associated with keeping an address list of private citizens private), I’d have thought the agency responsible for reviewing value-for-money issues would jump at the chance for a cheap way of making it’s work well known.

The privacy issue of an email subscription list is non-trivial – especially as subscribers are likely to be a grumpy bunch, wanting the official dirt on government – a list of people of interest to political minders.

It is hard to think of a valid reason why an audit office cannot or should not provide RSS feeds – after all, the audit offices federally and in WA do, or are in the process of doing so.

So… the bleggy bit…

  • Do you think all audit offices should provide RSS feeds?
  • Do you think RSS feeds are trivial to implement?
  • Should a common letter be sent to all audit offices, (excluding the "good guys" in WA and the ANAO)?
  • Should the national Auditors General Club (http://www.acag.gov.au) get a copy?
  • Should government and opposition spokespersons get a copy of the letter, (and if so, in your state, who are they)?
  • Would you consider being a cosignatory to the email I plan to prepare?
  • Do you want to write individually, to the office in your own state?
  • Do you have an draft fragments you think should be included?

I’ll probably work on a draft, putting it in a follow-up post for further comments.


Notes

I used the google site: operator to search for "RSS" at most government audit offices – all but the NT had their own domain.  Here are the results (and follow the links if you want to know how to do such searches – very handy):

Posted in Australia, Governance, Information Management, Politics, Victoria | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

 
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