Who is using technology to follow the money? The hunt is on…

Over the last month, we have been working on a report entitled “Technology for Transparent and Accountable Public Finance” for the Global Initiative on Fiscal Transparency.

by imtfi on Flickr

We are hoping to identify the most promising projects around the world that are using technology (web, mobile or otherwise) to further aims of fiscal transparency. Of particular interest are projects that aim to:

  • Publish more or better data related to fiscal processes (aid, revenues, budgets, audits, etc. — see below),
  • Help understand this data through the creation of better visualisation and data analysis tools,
  • Educate citizens about fiscal processes, and assist civil society organisations promoting accountable governance,
  • Facilitate direct participation in fiscal matters through participatory budgeting, citizen auditing and the like,
  • Provide policymakers with complete and reliable data relevant to their work, enabling them to make better decisions.

We’re particularly interested in efforts to improve transparency in 3 main areas:

  • Looking at where the money comes from: In revenue processes (taxation, extractive industry, etc.),
  • Monitoring where the money goes: The budgeting process (participatory budgeting, comparisons of planned and retrospective budgets) through to auditing of expenditure, and everything in between.
  • The invisible money: projects that aim to improve public understanding of state owned (or semi-owned) enterprises, sovereign wealth funds and contingent liabilities – information on which often are not published as part of current budgeting practices.

There will be particular focus on the questions ‘Who are the users?’ and examining their motivations for getting involved, the scalability and applicability of given solutions to other contexts.

The report will also aim to highlight gaps – so please feel free to think outside the box; if there is cutting edge technology being used in other fields besides public finance, please feel free to suggest it – maybe no-one apart from you has thought of it yet!

Over to you

We are now opening up to the community to let us know if there are any projects we should be aware of and include in the report.

If you are aware of any projects that we should cover in the report, or if you have any more general observations on the above, please let us know. We have created a Google form which you can use to give full details and look in more detail into some of the areas we are focussing on.

For more general comments or observations, and notes of people to contact, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line: lucy.chambers [at] okfn.org and velichka.dimitrova [at] okfn.org.

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Lucy is a free range "tech-translator", blogging about her work at http://techtohuman.com/.

Formerly, Lucy worked for Open Knowledge leading School of Data, co-editing the Data Journalism Handbook and coordinating the OpenSpending community.

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