Going Dutch with open government spending

Openspending.nl allows citizens to benchmark government spending

26 FEBRUARY 2014, AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
Summary
Today, Open State launched the Netherlands Open spending platform. With financial data of the City of Amsterdam, including all its boroughs, Open State has launched its openspending.nl platform allowing citizens to compare and benchmark government spending. With openspending.nl, Open State Foundation makes it possible to unlock spending data and makes financial data of local governments in the Netherlands comparable.

Today, Open State has launched openspending.nl - the Netherlands Open spending platform. With financial data of the City of Amsterdam, including all its boroughs, Open State has launched its openspending.nl platform allowing citizens to benchmark government spending.

Last year, the Amsterdam Central district opened its spending data, making its budget and spending accessible to everyone. At the request of the Amsterdam City Council and with support of the municipality all spending data since 2011 has now been made available.

With openspending.nl financial spending data of other local governments, municipalities and provinces can be included. With this, the platform is directly valuable to governments and citizens alike. Digital tools help citizens, councillors and journalists providing insight in financial spending and income and strengthen democracy.

Amsterdam Alderman Pieter Hilhorst: 'This tool makes it possible for anyone to get into the budget and spending information of the municipality. Citizens of Amsterdam can now get a clear picture and compare budgets and municipal spending.'

With openspending.nl, Open State Foundation makes it possible to unlock spending data and makes financial data of local governments in the Netherlands comparable. The ambition is to include spending data of all other municipalities and other local governments in the Netherlands and disclose their financial data. The platform not only allows comparisons between actual expenditures of different districts but also allows seeing whether interim expenditures are in line with their original budgets.

In the Netherlands municipalities provide quarterly reports to the Central Bureau of Statistics (IV3-format). By unlocking this information as open data, it becomes possible to compare the expenditures of various local governments. Not only in absolute terms but also per household or surface. This allows to set benchmarks.

Governments hold a wealth of financial information contained in financial records. Budgets, annual reports, income and expenses allow governments to guide policies and hold them to account. Providing digital insights of these financial data offers possibilities to check and control governmental expenses. It offers citizens the possibility to track cost reductions and propose alternatives.

Inspired by initiatives abroad, such as WhereDoesMyMoneyGo and OpenlyLocal in the United Kingdom, OffenerHaushalt in Germany and Orçamento ao seu Alcance in Brazil, this Open spending platform in the Netherlands is spearheading citizens oversight.

Arjan El Fassed (Open State Foundation): 'After Amsterdam our ambition is to unlock spending data from all Dutch cities, provinces, water authorities and other parts of the public sector. This helps citizens to understand government spending and providing insights. Especially at a time when Dutch municipalities are confronted with heavier tasks open spending will prove its importance.'

The data are presented in the so-called CBS IV3 standard. This includes information on budget figures and quarterly and annual spending. This is done through a budget overview (once a year) and quarterly and annual distribution in a matrix and a balanced position statement.

Open State Foundation is an organization promoting democratic transparency, accountability and participation with the development of online platforms and promoting unlocking and stimulating re-use of open data.

Quotes
"This tool makes it possible for anyone to get into the budget and spending information of the municipality. Citizens of Amsterdam can now get a clear picture and compare budgets and municipal spending." Amsterdam Alderman Pieter Hilhorst
"After Amsterdam our ambition is to unlock spending data from all Dutch cities, provinces, water authorities and other parts of the public sector. This helps citizens to understand government spending and providing insights. Especially at a time when Dutch municipalities are confronted with heavier tasks open spending will prove its importance." Arjan El Fassed (Open State Foundation)
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About Open State Foundation

Open State Foundation bevordert digitale transparantie door het ontsluiten van open data en de ontwikkeling van innovatieve en creatieve toepassingen te stimuleren.

Open State Foundation promotes digital transparency by unlocking open data and stimulates the development of innovative and creative applications.

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