From the blog post on gov.uk:
The regulator’s online data is the authoritative source of information on charities in England and Wales. Registered charities’ details are viewed online over 6 million times a year.
But the commission’s user research on its current charity search tool suggests that the information it provides on registered charities could be easier to find and understand.
The regulator is therefore developing a new charity search tool and has now released a beta version to encourage comments and suggestions for improvements from users.
Finbar Cullen adds a little more context at fundraising.co.uk:
The new search tool is being built as a web service on an open data platform. This encourages transparency and makes it easier for other organisations to develop digital tools that use charity data. It will be interesting to see what OpenCharities makes of these developments.
I know first hand that the government are working to open-source more data sets and gather feedback. We’ve worked with the lovely folks at Rewired State and worked with API (data) teams for different departments who were there to answer our questions. They listened and were usually had a good idea of the work still to be done.
However, it can take a little time and external projects like OpenCharities can fill in the gaps in the meantime. Even when the data is made fully available, it’s not always in a format that many end-users need so again third-parties can step in and provide that. That’s what a great open data set enables.
I have tried the new search facility and the experience is a big step up from their current platform. It’s also much more inline with the rest of the gov.uk services in terms of style and functionality. Good work.