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OpenSpending, a Transparency Project to Make Government Spending Easier to Understand

BY Nick Judd | Monday, June 27 2011

Spending by the Barnet Council in the UK on OpenSpending.org

The Open Knowledge Foundation today launched OpenSpending, a web application for browsing and understanding data related to spending by world governments:

The OpenSpending project will make it easier for the global public to explore and understand government spending. Our developers have already imported a range of datasets, including projected budgets from the European Union, detailed spending data from the UK Treasury, and smaller datasets such as the UK’s Barnet Council local budget.

The tool allows a visitor to see which money goes where at a glance, and then click through to explore more data about a given aspect of spending. Click through spending on schools for Barnet, a city in Greater London, and up comes another graph of spending. Want to know more about spending on primary or secondary schools? Click again and the view is replaced with details of the line-item entry on secondary schools in Barnet's budget, but that's where it stops.

One of OpenSpending's eventual goals is to make these global datasets relatable to one another. Already, entries there can be reconciled with records available on another website, OpenCorporates. OpenCorporates is a project to create a single URL for every corporation in the world — basically an index page linking each corporate entity to related entities.