Following from the Discuss post of Agreeing best practice – using Hierarchies
The IATI tech team propose that hierarchies do not need to exist within the IATI standard. Their removal will not restrict the flexibility of organisations to show internal decisions about funds nor will it affect timeliness, structure or granularity of published data. This is based on the assumption that the changes outlined in the Agreeing best practice – using Hierarchies post are taken forward. Implementation of this would need to happen at the next integer upgrade as the changes are not backwards compatible.
Here is our reasoning:
Only the attribute @hierarchies will be removed. All other reporting best practices will remain.
Activities previously reported in a hierarchical model can still be reported in the same structure. The structure will be detailed through use of the
<related-activity>element, which allows organisations to specify ‘Child’ and ‘Parent’ relations within their reported activities.
The hierarchies attribute does not add any additional information needed for data quality analysis or data use. This is true for the IATI Dashboard, d-Portal and likely all other data use platforms.
Therefore @hierarchies is a superfluous attribute which only adds complexity, and often confusion, to the IATI standard.
Current number of organisations using multiple hierarchies
When I was looking into this a few months ago there were 46 organisations using the @hierarchy attribute (this number will now have grown significantly). The majority of these organisations only use levels 1 and 2, with one organisation correctly using three levels of hierarchy. Removing the @hierarchy attribute will not remove the relationships between the published activities but will enable data users to better navigate the data as they will not be misled by incorrect @hierarchy labeling.
Level 2: 44
Level 3: 1 (4)
Level 4: (1)
Level 5: (1)
(Numbers in brackets show the number of organisations only publishing at that hierarchical level or not publishing sequentially to that level)
Please do let us know what you think by responding to this post.