Commitments

05 Detailed open spending data

Country: Netherlands
Action Plan: Netherlands 2016-2018 National Action Plan
IRM Report: Netherlands Mid-Term Report 2016-2018 (Year 1)
Year Action Plan: 2016
Start Date: 1/1/2016  |  End Date: 12/31/2017

From the Action Plan

 
Open about finances: detailed open spending data Since 2015, provincial authorities, water management authorities and local authorities (the municipalities) have made their financial ‘Information for Third Parties’ (IV3) available through Statistics Netherlands/CBS and the website www.openspending.nl. It is already apparent that users such as officials, elected representatives, journalists and members of the public would appreciate more information in a greater level of detail. BZK therefore commissioned the Open State Foundation (OSF) to conduct a pilot project in which five local authorities published detailed financial data in a form suitable for reuse. The pilots have been successful: all stakeholders see added value in standardising financial information at this more detailed level.

With financial support from BZK, the Open State Foundation is now working to implement a system in which all provincial authorities, local authorities and water management authorities use a common publication standard. The original ‘detailed open spending data’ programme has been extended to include these various decentral authorities. The Ministry of BZK is supporting the activities as part of the broader approach to open government, and therefore offers a platform through the Open Government Expertise Centre (LEOO; see action point 9).

Lead Institution: Open State Foundation (OSF)


Support Institution: Provincial authorities, water management authorities, local authorities, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the Interprovincial Consultative Committee (IPO), the Federation of Water Management Authorities (UVW) and the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG)

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From the IRM Review

 

Year IRM Progress Report Published: 2018

5. Open about finances: detailed open spending data

Commitment Text:

Since 2015, provincial authorities, water management authorities and local authorities (the municipalities)have made their financial ‘Information for Third Parties’ (IV3) available through Statistics Netherlands/CBS and the website www.openspending.nl. BZK commissioned the Open State Foundation (OSF) to conduct pilots, that have been successful: all stakeholders see added value in standardizing financial information at this more detailed level. OSF is now working to implement a system in which all provincial authorities, local authorities and water management authorities use a common publication standard. The original ‘detailed open spending data’ programme has been extended to include these various decentral authorities.

Milestones:

1.     A handbook, an instruction video and a promotion video. The handbook will be sent to participating municipalities. The video’s will be made available online on the websites http://openspending.nl/ andwww.open-overheid.nl.

2.     Three thematic pilots with local governments, to add context to the detailed open spending data. A minimum of three local governments will participate in the pilots. The pilots will be evaluated in a final report. The results of the pilots will also be published on the website: http://www.openspending.nl/.

3.     Two national workshops on ‘Open Spending Data’ (one in 2016 and one 2017).

Responsible institution: Open State Foundation

Supporting institution(s): Provincial authorities, water management authorities, local authorities, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the Interprovincial Consultative Committee (IPO), the Federation of Water Management Authorities (UVW) and the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG)

Start date: 1 January 2016                                        End date: 30 June 2018

Editorial Note: This is a truncated version of the milestone text. For the full commitment text, please see The Netherlands National Action Plan (https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Netherlands_NAP-Appendix_2016-2018_EN_revised-with-changes.pdf)
 

Commitment Overview

Specificity

OGP Value Relevance

Potential Impact

On Time?

Completion

None

Low

Medium

High

Access to Information

Civic Participation

Public Accountability

Tech. and Innov. for Transparency and Accountability

None

Minor

Moderate

Transformative

 

Not Started

Limited

Substantial

Complete

 

5. Open about finances

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

 

 

Context and Objectives

Financial data of all Dutch local governments are available on an aggregated level. This commitment aims to provide more insight on income and expenditure to make Open Spending Detail Data the new standard for financial transparency. Detailed open spending data refers to re-usable spending data, including budgets, annual reports, income, expenditure and revenue of all Dutch municipalities and regional authorities. The lead institutions, Open State Foundation (OSF) and the Quality Institute Dutch Municipality (Kwaliteitsinstituut Nederlandse Gemeenten, KING) XX[Note86: Association of Netherlands Municipalities, vng.nl/onderwerpenindex/dienstverlening-en-informatiebeleid/nieuws/king-heet-vanaf-1-januari-vng-realisatie.]XX, a subdivision of the Dutch umbrella organization of municipalities VNG, will contact and help governments release their detailed financial information on Openspending.nl and will expand functionality and improve user experience of the website.

The commitment involves three milestones: 1) a handbook, an instruction video and a promotion video; 2) three thematic pilots with local governments to add context to open data; 3) two national workshops. All milestones are measurable and have clear end dates and goals. As such, the commitment’s specificity is high. If all governments adopted this standard, it would be a break-through in open spending. The open spending portal was rewarded by OGP in 2016. XX[Note87: Making Transparency Count: The Open Government Awards, opengovpartnership.org/stories/making-transparency-count-open-government-awards.]XX In this evaluation, the IRM researcher focuses on the effect this commitment is likely to have on government practice, not on the strength of the concept. This commitment is assessed as having minor potential impact because it is limited in scale: pursuing three local government pilots is a positive step forward in open spending but is not a transformative change in overall government practice. 

This commitment is relevant to the OGP value of access to information by disclosing more detailed spending data and enabling the larger public to find and use them. Although this commitment does not meet the OGP criteria for public accountability, it is a big step forward for investigative journalists and democratically elected council members, who are able to use the disclosed financial information to hold public officials accountable.

Completion

Overall, this commitment is substantially complete and on time. The handbook that was distributed among all municipalities, and is available on request, is comprehensive. It explains exactly how data must be made available according to the standards and how they can be sent to the OSF website. Both the instructional and promotional videos are appealing and clear in presentation, but they are difficult to find. XX[Note88: Open Spending promotional video’s, vimeo.com/187259166,,vimeo.com/187251141.]XX The first of two national workshops was held at the “How Open Festival.” XX[Note89: How Open Festival, open-overheid.nl/blokkenschema-hoe-open-festival/#rdv-calendar.]XX

OSF has blogged about the progress on open-overheid.nl. XX[Note90: OSF progress blog, open-overheid.nl/open-overheid/actieplan-open-overheid-update-10.]XX One pilot, in the city of Utrecht, is planned to be completed by the end of the year. Location data and context (explanation of what the data mean and imply) will be added to the spending information. XX[Note91: Utrecht Municipality, openspending.nl/utrecht-gemeente/UtrechtBegroting2017batenprogramma/2017/programma.]XX According to the OSF program manager, the program budget of the city of Dordrecht will be disclosed in a newly tested form. The province of Zuid-Holland will, according to the program manager, also participate in a pilot. Though there are no clear results released yet, the researcher finds that this milestone will be at least substantially completed by June 2018.

Next Steps

The IRM researcher recommends this commitment be taken forward into the next action plan, provided that it is modified in the following ways to increase its ambition. The government should consider developing a participatory budgeting interface, such as Decide Madrid, an open source civic technology platform created in 2015. The Municipality of Madrid developed Decide Madrid to enable citizens to propose, deliberate and vote on policies and city projects, and to ensure transparency in various government processes. XX[Note92: Decide Madrid, http://thegovlab.org/beyond-protest-examining-the-decide-madrid-platform-for-public-engagement/]XX The platform uses Consul, a free software for citizen participation. XX[Note93: Consul website, http://consulproject.org/en.]XX 

The government should also expand the three pilots with local governments to a nationwide rollout of detailed open spending data. Additionally, CSOs and survey respondents have asked for more contextual information on spending data, such as subsidies.

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  Year 1 : No

Overview

Design

Specificity

Not Reviewed
None
Low
Medium
High

Relevant to OGP values

Potential Impact

Not Reviewed
None
Unclear
Minor
Moderate
Transformative

Implementation

Completion at Midterm

Not Reviewed
Unclear
Not Started
Limited
Substantial
Complete

Completion at End of Term

Not Reviewed
Unclear
Not Started
Limited
Substantial
Complete

Results

Did it Open Government?

Worsened
Did Not Change
Minor
Major
Outstanding


Starred as of Midterm: No

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