Spotlight on Spending Data


This year, OpenSpending team will focus on spending data.

Why is that?

As it turns out, spending data is somewhat like shy species - it’s definitely out there, hiding in the thickets of federal and municipal databases but is rarely released in a way that is useful - if released at all.

The Global Open Data Index, which tracks the state of federal open government data, gives evidence to this matter: When it comes to the availability of spending data, this open data category ranks last out of 13 open data categories in 2015.

We would like to address this issue since spending data is important to hold governments accountable for their budgets. Without spending data, it can be difficult to assess, track and improve government fiscal processes. So what are the questions and areas we are going to address:

What exactly is spending data and why is not as often released as budget data?
What can we read and learn about government expenditure when spending data is released? How can transactional spending data be read and understood?
What role does contracting data play in all of this?
If spending data isn’t released, what can be done to urge governments to release it?

So let’s help spending data to find it’s way out of the hiding and into the open.

We will update you via the different OpenSpending channels and mailing lists.
As always, we are interested in your experiences: Have you worked with spending data or tried to get it released by your local or federal government? Let us know.