Daily Archives: June 4, 2010

Sorry to disappoint, but the answer is probably no.**

Using the Coin database, The Guardian spotted a spike in government spending in March and April, which quickly prompted speculation that Labour (and Whitehall) threw money around before the change of government. Read more

For all you doubters who have questioned the value of the Coin Database release, Stephan Shakespeare has written a paean to transparency.

It is one of those moments that changes things for ever. When people can’t see where their money goes, they can make no comment, they can have no influence. Governments live and die by public approval; and once you can link spending decisions to identifiable civil servants, their careers will also live or die by our approval; so this kind of openness to scrutiny is utterly revolutionary. And it’s virtually irreversible: no politician would dare to draw the curtains again.

 Read more

Well, the data has been dumped and all we’ve discovered is that Whitehall is transparently incomprehensible. It is supposed to reveal 3m items of government expenditure this year. But the picture below is the closest I’ve come to rooting out wasteful spending.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies sound just as baffled as the amateur data trolls. There’s bound to be some way to work this into usable form but it may take a long time. Meanwhile, take a look at the Treasury PESA report, which is their attempt at analysing all this data. Read more