At the end of last week, I wrote about the great news that the Treasury had released the data from the COINS database that holds a wealth of financial management data. When the information was released, it came in a format that was very difficult to open and use. Since then, and exactly as TPA Chief Executive Matthew Elliott predicted when the data was first released, a number of groups have been working on opening the information up to the general public.
Two systems were released on Friday:
This morning a company called Rosslyn Analytics have released a new system, which provides totals and graphs breaking down spending under different headers. It is extremely helpful and in many ways more user friendly than the Guardian and Where does my money go? tools.
You can access their service for free here.
The key to using it is to log in with the details at the bottom of the page and then click "Navigate to..." and then "Spend by Dimension". After that, you can select a date range (starting at 1 April 2009 will give you the 2009-10 financial year) and then choose the dimension "Accounts" to get spending broken down into different categories or "Department" to get it broken down by the different Whitehall departments.
One note of caution. There is information in the COINS data about plans as well as actual amounts spent (outturn). Apparently, differences between the plans and the outturns do not necessarily represent an under or overspend. The Treasury guidance says that:
"Departments may record data for Plans at a less detailed level than for Outturn and Forecast Outturn. As a consequence, comparisons of detailed Plans and Outturn data will not necessarily reflect genuine over- or under-spends."
Good luck, and do let us know if you find anything interesting.