Related initiatives

Deprecated: This specification is deprecated. See here for an updated technical specification for government budget and spending data.

There are several initiatives which standardize data related to the specific types that we are looking at. Here’s a brief overview:

  • The World Bank’s BOOST initiative collects fine-grained expenditure data from over 47 countries and has published data for Kenya and Moldova. The data is available in an Excel-based tool and can be analyzed in detail. In the future, the project is considering the alignment of some of the classifications between BOOST datasets.
  • IATI, the International Aid Transparency Initiative, is a successful campaign to standardize the form in which information about international development projects is reported by donor states, implementing organizations and recipient countries.
  • XBRL, the eXtensible Business Reporting Language, is a data container framework in which specific taxonomies can be used to report financial information, in particular related to accounting methods such as US GAAP. The emerging specification for a General Ledger taxonomy can also represent more fine-grained, transactional information, but requires its users to understand a complex format.
  • The USASpending.gov portal publishes a data dictionary describing the contents of raw data dumps from the US federal government.
  • The US Congress is considering the DATA Act which would establish a common format for all US government financial releases. More information is available from the Data Transparency Coalition and the Sunlight Foundation.
  • The UK Local Government Association has published a Publishing local spending data guide that specifies the rules under which UK local councils publish their expenditure raw data.
  • The UK Treasury has published guidance documents with instructions to central government bodies regarding the release of fine-grained expenditure data. The specification gives some guidance on the format of the data but has proven to be too imprecise in practice.
  • The Payments Ontology is an attempt to map government expenditure to Linked Data.

Do you know about other initiatives that we haven’t listed here? Please tell us on the mailing list.