[@OKau] Billion dollar sector gets more transparency

Rosie Williams BudgetAus at hotmail.com
Thu Dec 10 04:27:34 UTC 2015

Read online at: https://openaus.net.au/blog/2015/12/10/openauscharities-billion-dollar-sector-gets-more-transparency/

OpenAus:Charities billion dollar sector gets more transparency
December 10, 2015

| No Comments<https://openaus.net.au/blog/?p=402/#comments>

Tis the season for giving and the Australian Charities & Not for Profit Commission has brought out a major report<http://australiancharities.acnc.gov.au/> on the sector, providing overview data to explore. This report is based on the 2014 information statements that charities provide to the ACNC and covers the 2013-14 year ending either 30 June 2014 or December 2014 (depending on when each charity’s financial year ends). You can find out more about what the ACNC report covers here<http://australiancharities.acnc.gov.au/about/about-the-data/>.

Data.gov.au publishes a data-set for the 2014 information statements, including for the first time, actual financial information. I have used this information in the map available at OpenAus:Charities<https://openaus.net.au/commonwealth/charities/index.php#popup_map>, combined and totalled with local government information.

A recent Pro Bono report<http://www.probonoaustralia.com.au/sites/www.probonoaustralia.com.au/files/sector-survey-_50_pages_interactive_0.pdf> states

There are 57,000 economically significant NFP organisations with combined incomes of over $100 billion with over one million paid employees and almost 4 million volunteers that contribute a further $17 billion of economic value.1 Australia’s NFP sector is one of the biggest in the world, making up 8.5% of the total jobs in Australia; comparable to 7.7% of the workforce in the US, 6.8% in Japan, and just 4.4% of jobs in New Zealand.

Most of this money comes from the government in the form of grants and tenders.

Government is now the largest provider of income ($41 billion) and NFP organisations providing social services generated almost $20 billion of income.

Such figures highlight the need for transparency in the not for profit sector.

While the ACNC report provides financial information on government grants and other income received by charities, it does not provide drill down. I have used the existing Commonwealth grants and tenders data hosted through OpenAus to provide searchable drill-down where this information is available. Grants data will not match up with the ACNC figures because different data sources are used.

The ACNC figures come from self-reported information for a single year with varying start and end dates (depends on the charity either financial or calendar years) and provides only a total for each charity. The data provided through OpenAus are individual grants and tenders data. While tenders data is thorough and goes back to 1999, Commonwealth grants data has only just been made available by many agencies and often does not pre-date the current year. Even where grants data is published on agency sites, not all grants are made available as CSV’s and not all grants can be easily associated with a single postcode or council area. For these reasons caution needs to be used when interpreting totals of grants.

The government is in the process of creating a central database for all Commonwealth grants data so assuming this data is made available for re-use (similar to tenders data) these quality issues should disappear over time. Providing totals from more than one data-source is an extra accountability check on charities and provides extra information for those seeking information on grants, tenders and the not for profit sector.

I have introduced subscription access<https://openaus.net.au/commonwealth/charities/charities_payment.php> to this data with price depending on the number of potential users, beginning with individual use/ small group use at $50 per year. Small organisations with potential users of under 50 people can access this data for $200 per year and larger organisations can access it for $2,000 per year. There is also a widget/button that comes with the latter option that provides access to the public to charities data by council area.

Users can see which issues are represented within their local community and which charities representing each issue are religious or non-religious. The widget is available separately for $200 per year and can be added to sites to provide visitors with access to the charities data by council area. More functionality will be introduced as time permits but if you know any site owner, agency or organisation this data is of interest to please let them know about my site.

Rosie Williams BA (Sociology)
 NoFibs.com.au<http://nofibs.com.au> - Open Data Reporter | OpenAus<https://openaus.net.au> - Founder and Developer

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