A good meeting – and some election action

Despite some confusion by the barman (!), our meeting upstairs at the Western Front last night provided food for thought – and nutrition for action.

Another remarkable turnout from officers of Brighton and Hove City Council, led by Paul Colbran, resulted in optimism that details about the 179 candidates for a total 54 council seats of in a total of 21 wards will be published shortly by the local authority as open data (either .csv or .xls).

Today, I’d be grateful for any feedback what occurred to me overnight, namely that the basic data should include at least:

Candidates (possible datafields – based on information required on “Form 1a Nomination Paper”):

▪                Electoral division/ward

▪                County/district/London borough/county borough

▪                Date of election

▪                Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms/Dr/Other

▪                Surname

▪                Forenames

▪                Commonly used surname

▪                Commonly used forenames

▪                Description

▪                Home address 1

▪                Home postcode

In addition, I am also envisaging data should be published openly about polling stations, including:

▪                Electoral division/ward

▪                Polling district

▪                Polling station

▪                Polling station address 1

▪                Polling station postcode

For reference, Cogapp – the agency I work for – built this application for the General Election for The Sunday Times last year (launched in the run-up to election day and updated in real time on the night): http://election.cogapp.com/iframe/

I’m sure someone will create something more granular for Brighton and Hove – if we can get the data out. If and when the data is released, I’m certain we can together trumpet its availability to the local developer community and showcase any good work done.

I haven’t been able to find the recent innovation/visualisation I dimly recalled and referred to at last night’s meeting.

But the following example by Stroud would have been wonderful…..if only the data had been in .csv or .xls and not .pdf!!


Eden council does it quite neatly:


Please get in touch if you who see any good examples of open local elections data for 2011 – and/or if you think other data relating to candidates, polling stations or wards might be helpful.

ODBH members are probably already aware of these:



Separately, the main party websites locally are:

▪                Conservative Party: http://www.brightonandhoveconservatives.com/

▪                Green Party: http://www.brightonhovegreens.org/localsites/bh.html

▪                Labour Party: http://brightonhovelabour.com/

▪                Liberal Democratic Party: http://www.liberalbrighton.org/

Since last night’s meeting, Paul Brewer (@pdbrewer) has re-processed the 2007 election results in Brighton and Hove into a flat spreadsheet. The website version is here.

Finally, our meeting benefited from a surprise visit  – and valuable input – from London-based Glen Wintle (@glynwintle), of the Open Rights Group. To whom, I pass on all our collective thanks.


About Greg Hadfield

Greg Hadfield is editorial director of Brighton & Hove Independent, a free weekly newspaper. He is a former Fleet Street journalist and internet entrepreneur (including Soccernet and Schoolsnet).
This entry was posted in Elections. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to A good meeting – and some election action

  1. Simon Ellery says:

    Hello Greg,

    It sounded like a positive meeting. The council has been working to use open data with the University of Brighton and infographics to encourage people to vote at the forthcoming elections. Here is the link on Flickr – view the slideshow:


    We have made the data available here:


    Many thanks,


    • ODBH says:

      Hi Simon, Thanks very much for this – and especially the links. I should have included them. Who ended up designing the infographic? I recall passing on an appeal made at the first ODBH meeting….

  2. Glyn Huelin says:


    I think the election data idea is a really great starting point and a good data set to work with. I’m hunting to find the 2003 info and get it into the same sheet as we’ve now got 2007’s info.

    I also like the idea of cross publishing data:

    – At the foot of articles/pages/reports like http://bit.ly/gfeReR
    – In a central place on the council website like http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk:80/index.cfm?request=b1160744
    – and into some sort of community data store



    • ODBH says:

      Absolutely. The more cross-publishing, the merrier. The day when a datastore is superfluous because data is “everywhere” will be a happy day indeed :-).
      Thanks for the contribution.

  3. Pingback: Update: Examples of Brighton and Hove data | Open-data Brighton and Hove

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