Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Open government.

A good friend of ours died earlier in the year. For various reasons we wanted to attend his inquest, so shortly after his death I phoned Cambridgeshire coroner's office. They told me that it would be a number of months before the inquest would be held, and that I should check their webpage frequently.


I did as requested, but there were problems. Sometimes the webpage would display inquest times and dates weeks in advance, with many separate inquests on the list. At others times it would display ones that had already happened, and only update a day or two before new ones were due. This meant that I was having to check the webpage more or less daily, a task aided by a little script I wrote to trawl the relevant page.

About a month ago I realised the webpage had not been updated for a while. I phoned up the coroner's office, who told me that our friend's inquest was due for the 30th of October.

I checked again today, and the webpage has still had not been updated. The inquest is to be in Wisbech, and to prevent Sencan taking a day off work for no reason, I wanted to make sure that it was still on.

Instead of checking on the webpage, I was forced to make another phone call.

It should be a simple task to ensure that a webpage is kept up to date with the latest information on when inquests are going to be held. Even better would be to allow people to lodge a request for information about when an inquest is due, and email them when a date is set.

This may sound like a whinge, and it is. However concern over missing the inquest has added a tiny bit more stress and annoyance at a very sad time for us.

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