Sep 16, 2010
At a time when the news is dominated by the spectre of major reductions in UK public sector spending and the resultant impact this will have on the private sector, it is nice to see a new industry forming. Although only at an early stage of development, it is likely to see public sector expenditure reaching unsurpassed levels of transparency and accountability. What is this new industry I hear you asking?
It is the publication of expenditure data demanded by CONDEM Ministers such as local government Minister, Eric Pickles. While the original intention of this so called transparency was a simple ruse to try to transfer attention away from the spending profligacy of our elected politicians, the reality is that expenditure data will now be public for the first time. Some consultants and expenditure analysis / software providers have seen this as an opportunity to charge the public sector a fortune in license fees so that it can be reproduced with flash graphics and the chance to benchmark with others. Nice money for some, but not the real prize.
The public sector should publish the data in its raw format – CSV files, spreadsheets etc which requires a simple extract from the creditors / accounts payable format. This costs next to nothing unless you have the misfortune to be the proud owner of a SAP system.
Here is the new industry in the making. Data intelligence experts have started hoovering this up at no cost to the public sector and turning it into valuable information that can be sold on to auditors, watchdogs, the media or indeed the public sector itself in terms of valuable reports. Trends, collaborative opportunities, profiles etc all can be identified quickly and without the need to buys consultants or expensive analysis solutions. If the public sector is clever, they could even negotiate to get these benefits at no cost to the taxpayer, as they are no the primary target audience for the new industry.
Watch this space as the new industry starts to grow!!