This move towards open government may arguably be the biggest piece of political reform that this Government has undertaken and yet they have made little of it. Yesterday, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform launched a new databank, improving access to data on public expenditure back to 1994.
For now only very macro figures are available and of course we need far greater granularity. Some decent visualisations would also go a long way to making this accessible for most people. But this is a great start.
Even better the recently-appointed Secretary General of the Department, Robert Watt, has made it clear that this information is the beginning, and not the end, of the process of opening up the State’s data. “As far as the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform is concerned, information on public expenditure should be available to the public and should be available for public use,” he said. “Our aim is to put Ireland at the leading edge of what is available, in terms of openness and transparency of public expenditure data.”
If he can do that he will potentially transform our public services.