You may not know of mySociety, but you’ve almost certainly used their software – whilst they were the original developers of the 10 Downing Street petitions website, their current projects have a much wider reach:
- TheyWorkForYou provides accessible versions of Hansard so people can find out what their elected representatives are talking about in Parliament.
- WriteToThem is a similar website that streamlines the process of writing to your MP, MEP, MSP and other representatives.
- FixMyStreet makes it easy to report problems with roads (eg potholes) to the relevant local authority.
- FixMyTransport makes it easy to report problems with public transport – buses, trains – to their operator
- and various others
The impact of mySociety‘s influence was something I fully realised when I was in Kosovo at the FLOSSK Free Software Conference and someone mentioned Alaveteli. Alaveteli is the open source “Right to know” software, originally developed by mySociety, which handles FOI requests in various countries around the world, including Kosovo.
Back in the UK, mySociety run the reference implementation: “What Do They Know?” which accounts for 10-15% of FOI requests to Central Government.
I’ve personally supported mySociety in the past, but I’m pleased to announce that we’ve been able to make a substantial donation to their hosting cluster, allowing them to host redundantly across Bytemark’s two data centres where they had previously only hosted in one. This means their important work in making British democracy user-friendly can continue, even if they have a server or data centre outage.