Accountable: exploring the inadequacies of transparent financial practice in the non-profit sector
Increasingly, governments and organisations publish data on expenditure and finance as ‘open’ data in order to be more transparent to the public in how funding is spent. Accountable is a web-based tool that visualises and relates open financial data provided by local government and non-profit organisations (NPOs) in the UK. A qualitative study was conducted where Accountable was treated as a technology probe, and used by representatives of NPOs and members of the public who invest their time or effort voluntarily into such organisations. The study highlighted how: current open data sets provided by public bodies are inadequate in their representation of funding structures; the focus on finance and fiscal expenditure in such data makes invisible the in-kind effort of volunteers and the wider beneficiaries of an organisation’s work; and problems arising from the interoperability of open data technologies. The paper concludes with implications for the design of future systems, considering the domains of transparency and accountability in relation to the findings.
Author: Open Lab