Open Budgets Offers Solutions to Make Budget Data Accessible
CLARITY - Open eGovernment Services
23Jan
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Open Budgets Offers Solutions to Make Budget Data Accessible

by maxkortlander   |   23 Jan, 2018

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Let’s be honest: Budgets can feel intimidating.

But budget data is essential for knowing what a government is actually doing. It shows where priorities lie and where action is being taken through concrete numbers. Budget data is often open, but difficult to use for citizens, journalists, and even experts and public administrations.

In acknowledging the importance of budgets as well as the difficulty in accessing and understanding them, Open Budgets EU has created a set of tools, guidelines, and learning materials to help people at all levels to make sense of budget data. What’s more, Open Budgets’ interfaces and design make using their tools fun and intuitive.

The main tool from their set is the microsite, which can be embedded into a municipality’s website, allowing them to share easy-to-access budget data visualizations with citizens. The project has also created tools for data mining RDF data, participatory budgeting, measuring and visualizing public administration performance, and publishing web data according to the Linked Open Data principles.

Open Budgets has gone beyond providing toolsets and has also worked in an educational capacity alongside citizens and journalists. For example, they helped to produce “The Good, The Bad, and the Accountant”: an online game dedicated to teaching journalists and citizens about how corruption commonly occurs in local budgets. The website “Cooking Budgets” serves a similar purpose, by presenting different common “recipes for corruption” to help people to identify corruption in their own communities. And their “Story Hunt” programme worked together with journalists, non-profits, analysts, developers, and designers to help them develop the skills the need to find stories directly within financial datasets.

All of these various efforts are part of Open Budgets’ goal to illuminate the stories that lie within public budgeting data. In doing so, they’ve made budgeting come to life through great storytelling, beautiful graphics, and easy-to-use tools for analysis.

 


Project Clarity is still accepting feedback and comments on our Blueprint for public administrations. Feel free to contribute by leaving your suggestions if you would like to participate in shaping the future of egovernment!
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