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Spending Data Handbook


The Spending Data Handbook is an introduction to spending data—what it is, where to find it, and how to use it to change the world.

Anyone who wants to understand spending and budget data can use this handbook. This includes government oversight and accountability groups, issue-oriented advocacy organisations, journalists covering the latest round of budget cuts or austerity measures, and citizens who just want to get informed about what their government is spending.

All of these people have one thing in common: they need to manipulate, analyse, and interpret spending data in order to scrutinise the bombardment of statistics and figures from their governments and to produce alternative models and solutions. Data on government budgets and spending has never been easier to access—but once you've got the data, making sense of it can be daunting.

This book covers principles of data-driven research which apply universally to working with government financial data. It aims to highlight areas where citizens, Civil Society Organisations (henceforth CSOs), and civil servants working in the field of government transparency can combine forces to achieve common aims. Like the Open Data Handbook, it will be available as a continually evolving and open educational resource.

What this book covers

  • The principles of data-driven research: the distinctive workflow of data-driven projects
  • Data literacy: understanding spending data, reference data, and machine-readable data
  • What data to look for and what to ask for (nay, demand!) from your government
  • The 'Data Pipeline': tricks and tips for finding, wrangling, and systematically processing your data
  • Presenting your findings to engage the public, media, and government
  • Collaborating with other organizations to pool resources and strengthen your work
  • How to run an ambitious technology project
  • Lists and appendices of technical and non-technical resources

The Data Processing Pipeline

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