I’ve just put the new version of the Party Funding database up and it appears to be working. I’ve added a lot of new features to it.
The biggest change is that there are now pages for “recipients” (the term I’m using for any organisation or individual who is listed on the register receiving funds including political parties, MPs, referendum campaigns, and so on). This is fully integrated into the other pages, meaning you can search for them directly, or you can look up a funder, click on the political party they’ve donated to, and look at that as well.
The biggest issue for the recipient pages was how to deal with all the data. With the exception of the biggest trade unions, most funder pages don’t have that many entries on them. By contrast, the Labour Party has reported over 14,000 individual contributions (and counting). I’ve dealt with this in two ways: firstly by introducing charts, to give all the data a more visual appeal. Secondly, I’ve made the tables load separately so you won’t have to wait staring at a blank screen until all the donations upload. I want to improve this further, and in particular need to sort out the search page which is currently a little sluggish, but it is running much more smoothly than it was.
The charts are something I would especially like feedback on. Currently, I’ve set it up so you can easily switch between charts showing amounts received by what the Electoral Commission terms ‘donor types’, but there’s a wide range of different ways I could present this data, such as how much is by cash as opposed to in kind, amounts received by each accounting unit and even by certain user generated tags (which should come on stream in the next update). I’d like to hear what people would find most useful.
The other minor change I’ve made, following my last blog post, is to include pages for each individual entry on the register so you can easily compare my data against the Electoral Commission’s to ensure it is accurate. Hopefully this will alleviate some people’s concerns that I’m just making these figures up!
Anyway, onto the next upgrade, which will massively open up the scope for user-generated content.