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spotlightonspendspotlightonspend: making transparency easier

As public sector organizations respond to calls for greater transparency, more and more agencies are publishing detailed data about their budgets, contracts and procurement spend online.  Many states now have online checkbooks, and some cities and counties are doing the same.  Utah and Arizona have laws compelling most local government entities, special service districts and schools to submit their expenditure data to be published online, in a timely fashion, for access by the general public. 

However, transparency is not simply about putting raw data out there for the tiny percentage of the population who are data analysts to download, comb through and draw conclusions.  In fact, that can often be counterproductive because the only people who will access, manipulate, and comb through the data are those people looking to find something out of place.  Transparency should be fundamentally about providing information (something more than data) in an easily accessible, standardized format that it is meaningful and displayed in a way that anyone can understand. 

Anticipating that mandates to improve transparency will increase in frequency and urgency across the public sector, Spikes Cavell, in July 2011 launched their “spotlightonspend” service to help agencies quickly and cost effectively publish their own expenditure information online and in a standardized format that is easy to understand for all citizens.

Visit http://whatis.spotlightonspend.org/ to see why a spotlight on spend will bring a bright light to your community.

Published: 7/25/2011

TAGS: transparency, spotlightonspend, public sector, spend data, NIGP, open government, Spikes Cavell

"The spend analysis was something that was sorely needed at Tampa. Spikes Cavell and the Observatory are going to help us streamline in a lot of areas."

Gregory Spearman - City of Tampa