If you have followed the activites of the OKFN these last years, you probably already know Open Spending, the community-driven project initiated in 2007 and which has considerably grown since then. First, the idea started with Where Does My Money Go?, a database for UK public financial data, financed by the 4IP (4 Innovation for the Public) fund of the British channel 4. Few years later in 2011, the initiative has been internationalized and Open Spending was born, a worldwide platform which has largely gone beyond the British borders. Today, the site shows data from 73 countries from Bosnia to Uganda and the visualisation tool Spending Stories could be developed at the same time, thanks a grant from the Knight Foundation. Talking about funding, not to forget the Open Society Foundations which supports the community building work and the Omidyar Network which funded the research behind the report â€œTechnology for Transparent and Accountable Public Financeâ€. You guessed it? Everything is Open Source.
Open Spending consists not only in aggregating worldwide public financial data as budgets, spending, balance sheets, procurement or employees salaries; giving information on how public money has been spent all over the world and in your own city. It allows users to visualise directly the available data via Spending Stories and add new datasets as well. The community members making use of the tools and developing them show various backgrounds and every one is invited to join. Additionally, articles are regularly posted on the blog to incite to share knowledge each other.
The results so far are very good since numerous administrations and media have already used theÂ visualisations, as the city of Berlin and the Guardian for instance. But besides them, independent journalists, activists from the civil society, students and engaged citizens take also avantage of the datasets, allowing a better understanding on public money.