[OpenSpending] DATA Act
jkeseru at sunlightfoundation.com
Tue May 20 13:31:23 UTC 2014
Here`s the post everyone, let me know if I got something wrong.
In case you want to learn more, here`s a great report from Open Knowledge
on Technology for Transparent and Accountable Public
, and another one from Transparency International on Transparency in Budget
How unique is the new U.S. DATA
by Júlia Keserű <http://sunlightfoundation.com/team/jkeseru/>
- policy <http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/policy/>
MAY 19, 2014, 3:04 P.M.
As we wrote<http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2014/05/12/data-act-signed-into-law-after-c-o-b-on-friday/>
week ago, the DATA Act <http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/tag/data-act/> was
eventually signed by President Obama on a quiet Friday evening. Though we
would have expected a bit more fanfare, Sunlight is thrilled to see the new
legislation finally being enshrined, as it is supposed to bring a great
level of transparency and accountability to federal spending information by
ensuring that agencies use a common set of data standards and putting
accurate, timely information online for public consumption.
We have long supported the goals of the DATA Act and already wrote a
the impact of the law on the US federal and local level. This time, we took
a look at where it stands in the global context — are there any similar
developments from other governments?
Because of the differences in the legal context and the difficulties in
tracking actual implementation, such developments are almost impossible to
compare. However, here's what we found: There have already been a few very
inspiring innovations in the field of financial openness, but most of these
are not necessarily enshrined in one single law.
Brazil is an exception and a long-time pioneer in the field. As a result of
passing the Law of Fiscal
federal government agencies of the largest Latin American country have been
required to publish all of their financial data online in machine-readable
formats and on a daily basis through the country’s Transparency
as early as 2004. The website contains vast
detailed and up-to-date information on government revenues and
expenditures, procurement processes, federal transfers to municipalities,
states and individuals.
Brazil's financial transparency portal,
Even more importantly, though, information is easy to search on the portal:
budget lines have both the official and popular names of the initiatives,
and as a result, the website is widely used by the media, government
officials and citizens. Reports using data from the website led into
investigations on the alleged misuse of public funds and ultimately to the
resignation of a minister. Civil society also used information to create
nice visualizations on how taxpayers' money is spent in Brazil.
According to the same report, user numbers have increased from 54,000 in
2004 to more than 11 million (!) per year in 2014 and the website also has
a whistleblowing channel with anonymous complaints going directly to the
Office of the Comptroller General. The portal has a separate section for
the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games expenditures as well. (By the
way, we would be curious the know how much the availability of data
contributed to the
the World Cup costs.)
An Open Knowledge
that Data.gov.uk, the British Government’s official open data portal, also
provides a relatively good “way into the wealth of government data” by
making it “easy to find, easy to license, and easy to re-use.” Besides
publishing granular spending data and part of the contracts from central
and local governmental bodies, Data.gov.uk also contains information on
most senior civil servants, including their annual payrates. Instead of a
single law though, the British financial transparency regime is the mixture
of codes of practices, policies, amendments to the FOI law and governmental
Also not a result of one single law, South Korea’s Digital Budget &
is seen as another innovative approach in the area of financial openness.
The portal contains real-time information on budget formulation and
execution, data on procurement processes and a participatory budgeting
feature where the central government, local governments, public
institutions and the public jointly decide on the allocation of resources.
As an extra feature, citizens can also report alleged misappropriation of
government funds and they may even be awarded up to $30,000 (U.S. dollars)
if allegations are found to be true.
South Korea's Digital Budget and Accounting System (dBrain)
It is still difficult to tell how much it compares to the DATA Act, but a
recent law passed in Italy states that the information contained in
a government database of public bodies’ payments and transactions will soon
be accessible to the public in open data formats.
In 2008, the Mexican government proposed a similar effort by passing
tried to establish common principles for public entities on the federal,
state and municipal level and required them to register and report spending
information using the same standards. Enforcement is still not perfect and
implementation varies between different agencies, but thanks to amendments
in 2012 that were supposed to enforce compliance, there have already been
some improvements in how public bodies provide the
according to local watchdogs.
And though not exactly the same as complete spending transparency, open
procurement regimes could also be instrumental for the public to hold their
governments to account financially.
One of best examples is probably Georgia’s e-procurement platform, which
has been recognised worldwide as a best practice for publishing tender
information. As our guest bloggers from TI Georgia
"Ten years ago, residents of Tbilisi only had a few hours of electricity a
day, but today, the country has one of the most transparent online systems
for government procurement in the world." And although there are still too
many exemptions that allow for contracts to be tendered outside the
electronic platform, the website provides an outstanding example for how
procuring data should be published with searchable information on all
activities throughout the tendering process, from the announcement to
Curious to learn more? Read this great report from Open Knowledge on Technology
for Transparent and Accountable Public
Transparency International on Transparency in Budget
On Fri, May 9, 2014 at 5:37 PM, Julia Keserű <jkeseru at sunlightfoundation.com
> Thanks everyone for your input, I`ll create a google doc and share it with
> everyone before I publish the post. In the meanwhile, feel free to send
> more country-level examples my way!
> On Tue, May 6, 2014 at 3:56 PM, Julia Keserű <
> jkeseru at sunlightfoundation.com> wrote:
>> Hey all,
>> As many of you may know, last week the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously
>> passed<http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2014/04/28/data-act-clears-congress/>the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, or DATA
>> Act <http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/2061>,
>> sending it to President Barack Obama for his signature.
>> The bill would: 1) Establish government-wide financial data standards; 2)
>> Require the entire federal government to comply with the new standards; and
>> 3) Ensure that more and better #opendata<https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/opendata>is published online.
>> It's something we here at Sunlight have been working on for years, and -
>> while it's not perfect - we're thrilled to see Congress taking this big
>> step for transparency.
>> Is anyone aware of any other legislation outside the US that compares to
>> the DATA Act? I am planning to compile a list of relevant laws.
>> (Read more on the DATA Act from Sunlight:
>> Júlia Keserű
>> International Policy Manager
>> 1818 N Street NW, Suite 300
>> Washington, DC 20036
>> (1) 202-742-1520 *246
>> [image: Sunlight Foundation] <http://sunlightfoundation.com/> [image:
>> Sunlight Foundation on Facebook]<http://www.facebook.com/sunlightfoundation>[image:
>> Sunlight Foundation on Twitter] <http://twitter.com/sunfoundation>[image:
>> OpenGov on Reddit] <http://www.reddit.com/r/sunlight> [image: Sunlight
>> Foundation on YouTube] <http://www.youtube.com/sunlightfoundation> <http://sunlightfoundation.com/feeds/latest/>
> Júlia Keserű
> International Policy Manager
> 1818 N Street NW, Suite 300
> Washington, DC 20036
> (1) 202-742-1520 *246
> [image: Sunlight Foundation] <http://sunlightfoundation.com/> [image:
> Sunlight Foundation on Facebook]<http://www.facebook.com/sunlightfoundation>[image:
> Sunlight Foundation on Twitter] <http://twitter.com/sunfoundation>[image:
> OpenGov on Reddit] <http://www.reddit.com/r/sunlight> [image: Sunlight
> Foundation on YouTube] <http://www.youtube.com/sunlightfoundation> <http://sunlightfoundation.com/feeds/latest/>
International Policy Manager
1818 N Street NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20036
(1) 202-742-1520 *246
[image: Sunlight Foundation] <http://sunlightfoundation.com/> [image:
Sunlight Foundation on
Sunlight Foundation on Twitter] <http://twitter.com/sunfoundation>[image:
OpenGov on Reddit] <http://www.reddit.com/r/sunlight> [image: Sunlight
Foundation on YouTube] <http://www.youtube.com/sunlightfoundation>
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