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Spending Data Handbook Sprint - Day 1

Written by
  • lucy
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As you read this, we’re writing a book about spending. It’ll be finished by Thursday so you can read it over the weekend, as you sit down to do, (or not do) your armchair auditing of government accounts. As we get the opportunity to meet budget and data activists from all around the world, a set of common issues emerge and some novel and interesting approaches to dealing with them. The purpose of this week’s work is to encapsulate these issues and ideas, tips and tricks into a format that will be useful to all manner of organisations working in this area.

The topics are getting data, handling it and present it to various audiences and is aimed at answering the questions: “How can CSOs, open data activists and governments work together to make sense of spending information and to hold government to account?”

Over the coming few days, we will publish our progress and ask you to help us to fill in the gaps. What we hope to have at the end is a living document, the beginnings of a toolkit which NGOs (and possibly public servants) can use to help liberate more data, collaborate with other organisations to do ever better analysis and policy-making and present their results in a way to produce meaningful responses from their citizens.

What’s happened - Day 1

The philosophy of a book sprint is that the book is created from scratch, by the participants from the table of contents to the final gloss and polish, hence today was spent shaping the scope. Many post-it notes, scribbles and head scratches later, we have a preliminary table of contents.

This includes workflows and working practices for NGOs, a list of demands which CSOs could put to governments in their country to get better access to types of data they need, tips and tricks which the techies use in their work which could be useful for NGOs and crucially - how to present your data to leverage input from the key audiences you are targeting. We believe that the current state of play has been unsuccessful in creating “armchair auditors” - it seems likely that many conversations will take place over the coming days as to whether anything could be done to change this, using technilogy or wit.