by Rufus Pollock, Lucy Chambers & Velichka Dimitrova Open Knowledge Foundation @okfn[.org], event hashtag #TTAPF
Terms of Reference● Case studies of technology to promote transparency and accountability around revenue, spending and off-budget information● Transparency around and participation in decision making (e.g. participatory budgeting)● Feedback from users of the tools as well as creators (where possible)
The Open Knowledge Foundation● Non-profit founded in 2004● Build and foster tools and communities to create, use and share open knowledge and data● Activities include ○ CKAN - data portal platform which powers many governmental and non-governmental portals around the world ○ OpenSpending.org - platform to upload, explore and visualise financial data ○ 15+ working groups and local chapters
What is Open Data (exactly)?http://OpenDefinition.org/ defines open data as:Data that anyone is free to use, re-use andredistribute data without technical or legalrestrictions.Why Open Data?●transparency●innovation
Data Portals http://data.gov.uk/http://www.data.gov.bc.ca/ http://www.digitalbrain.go.kr
Publishing Fiscal Data: HighlightsHighlights● Portals deliver consolidation of resources in one convenient location● Data portals can be useful both within government as well as outside● An explicit open data policy is not needed to start an open data portalRecommendations● Open financial data must be openly licensed and available in machine readable format (in bulk)● Keep it simple - one can begin extremely simply● Engage with your provider and user community● Open tools for open data
How easy is it to actually find anduse data? ● Fiscal transparency is about more than budgets: e.g. procurement, corporate identifiers ● How are things at present? Feedback was mixed ● Key complaints: ○ Machine readability: PDFs - 10 complaints ○ Disappearing data or hidden data ○ Lack of supporting documentation to complement data releases ○ Poor quality: 6 responses, e.g. inconsistencies between yearsWhat can be done about this?
Standards for Fiscal DataStandards enable a distributed rather than a centralised approach indata publication and use ● No or very limited general data standards in existence and in useRecommendations ● Use well-known, commonly used formats (CSV, XLS or XML) for the release of data. ● Adopt existing coding conventions for shared entities ● Publish additional information on the coding schemes used, such as functional or economic classifications, charts of account ● A simple user-driven standard for transaction-level spending data.Best Case Scenario ● A global spending data registry - similar to the IATI registry for aid information
Revenue, Spending and Invisible Money Tools for Oversight
Where Does the Money Come From?http://sierraleone.revenuesystems.org/ http://www.revenuewatch.org/issues/data-tools
Where Does the Money Come From?● User groups and audiences might not be whom you expected, e.g. GoSL● Bear in mind less-web-savvy users and lower bandwidth / older computers● “Data is not always actionable simply because it is available.”● Substantial data-cleaning and data-wrangling may be required
Presenting Fiscal Data: Journalists ● Not used to working with raw data ● Often rely on pre-computed statistics ● Up to date data (want notification services) ● Tools more commonly used by advocacy groups, more time to dedicate to research. ● Structured data around the budgeting process e.g. how different MPs voted ● Disaggregated data http://reporting.sunlightfoundation.com/budgets/
Getting Off-Budget On-Budget:OpenSpending and Publish WhatYou Fund bit.ly/uganda-example
The importance of good data... apersonal anecdote... OpenSpending / PWYF joint project - mapping aid onto budgetsData Collection 6 months - multipleand Wrangling people < 1 man monthVisualisation
Where Does the Money Go?Summary● Raw, machine readable data is vital. Converting data is one of the most labour-intensive parts of the process.● Very few projects are currently able to trace difference between planned and actual expenditure. Sunlight’s work in the United States is one of the few examples of success in this area.
Social Auditing and Following the Invisible Money
Key resources for socialauditors... publishing (near) real time data. http://nrega.ap.gov.in/ coming soon, mobile data collection
Social Auditing and Following the Invisible Money● Technology (e.g. mobile) can help transform traditional labour-intensive social auditing practices - possibility to scale up significantly● SMS technology has the possibility of reaching out to rural areas● Many project rely on sub-national level data to function: it is at local and regional level● Technology + social audit offers possibility of close to real-time feedback and reporting
Participation: Highlights● Outreach and feedback: examples from World Bank and others of effective use of tech for outreach and feedback e.g. geo-targeted SMS automatic phone-calls with the voice of the mayor and the Gol Mobile App http://bit.ly/gol-app● Deliberation: Allowing citizens to submit their own project ideas (http: //budgetballot.com/).● Remote participation: online voting and surveys (numerous examples in census.) (http://demo.citizenbudget.com)● Raising additional funds: Leih Deiner Stadt Geld in Germany (https: //www.leihdeinerstadtgeld.de/)● Increasing Budget Literacy http://demo.budgetallocator.com/ "Although you have balanced your budget, based on your current selections, we may still have to increase rates by 6.4%. Typically a 1% rates increase equates to 12 cents a week."
Data, More and Better● Publish more and publish openly ○ Hard to utilize technology without access to data ○ Data portals can play a key role here● Data quality is still poor: ○ Bulk machine-readable data - spreadsheet NOT PDF ○ Better use of standards (+ new, simple, standard(s)) ○ Connections to other datasets through e.g. reference identifiers, geospatial information ○ Very significant portion of time spent cleaning and preparing data● Timely data releases● Opportunity to build on IBPs OBI work
Reaching Out● Technology can foster closer collaboration between advocacy NGOs and journalists (and vice-versa: closer collaboration enhances value of tech)● Extensive capacity-building for journalists to enable them to analyze and present data.● Tech and esp mobile can clearly play a significant role on reaching out whether to inform or to receive feedback
Participation● Technology can add additional channels for participation to reach out to the hard to reach - tools are not a substitute for face-to-face contact.● Keep it simple: Effective tools can target a particular part of the PB process rather than a super-app that will work at every stage.● Technology can also be overwhelming, e.g. allowing unfacilitated debate can create a lot of additional work for policy-makers to extract the key points
Technology Is Not a Magic Potion● The report provides clear examples how technology can and is delivering real benefits in relation to fiscal transparency.● BUT technology is not a "magic potion".● The existence of data and apps do not guarantee use and use does not guarantee change. Participatatory Budgeting Tools, Applications, Outreach Open Data + Portals Visualizations Lots of NON-tech stuff Data Analysis Change