Note to Non Techies in Social Care:
Please read this post - if you think that you cannot make a contribution to an open source project you are wrong!
We have taken the decision that the time has come to open-source BetterCareGuide.org, which we have delayed for ages because, frankly, the code isn’t anything like as good as we would like (since it was the first app I wrote after a break of several years from programming, using a stack that was all new to me). But I have heard from many people that the code quality of a new open source product isn’t the important thing - a road map, a vision and a simple working product are. So I am taking the covers off the codebase in the hope that people will contribute and improve the code quality of BetterCareGuide while I concentrate on the easy stuff.
To provide a simple web site where the public can go to get information about UK care providers (though it should be equally applicable elsewhere) and the quality of care they deliver. The information and its presentation should be independent of any financial involvement with the providers. Small independent providers should not be discriminated against. The licencing prohibits the software from being operated by a for-profit organisation.
Road Map (bold items need significant input from non techies)
The pipe dream road map extends considerably further than this, but I will stop there for a while and see if anyone contributes with this bit.
So I have three requests:
Most of my time I spend dealing with open formats, open data or open source software.
The other day I was having a conversation with someone who works for a public body, funded by public money which prompted me to think about a more general culture of openness. They said that the organisation in question was 'very open' yet when I asked them how much of that public money had been spent on a particular project they were not happy to tell me - suggesting that if I really wanted to know I could find out though a freedom of information enquiry.
The Freedom of Information Act is a great tool for openness but that kind of misses the point. If openness is desirable (and the existence of the FOI tells us that government thinks that it is and I certainly believe that it is) then it needs to be baked in to the culture of the organisation and all employees should feel empowered (or even obliged) to respond to such questions.
As I see it there are five possible reasons why the person in question was not prepared to give me the information (which they admitted they knew). In ascending order of likeliness they are:
Adult social care technology expert, open source advocate, cyclist, parent, volunteer teacher, former (very easy) world record holder and reluctant blogger.