This post looks at the Open Fiscal Data Package – an open standard for publishing fiscal data developed by Open Knowledge International, GIFT and the World Bank. In September of 2016, Mexico became the first country to officially endorse the OFDP, by publishing Federal Budget data in open formats using OpenSpending tools. OpenSpending is one of Open Knowledge International’s core projects. It is a free and open platform for accessing information on government spending. OpenSpending supports civil society organisations by creating tools and standards so citizens can easily track and analyse public fiscal information globally.
The Open Fiscal Data Package (formerly Budget Data Package) is a simple specification for publishing fiscal data. The first iteration was developed between 2013 and 2014 in collaboration with multiple partners including the International Budget Partnership (IBP), Omidyar Network, Google.org, the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT), the World Bank and others. The 0.3 version of the OFDP was released at the beginning of 2016, featuring a major revision in the structure and approach, establishing the foundation for all future work leading up to a future v1 release of the specification.
The OFDP is part of our work towards “Frictionless Fiscal Data” where users of fiscal information – from journalists to researchers to policy makers themselves – will be able to access and analyze government data on budgets and expenditures, reducing the time it takes to gather insights and drive positive social change. The Open Fiscal Data Package enables users to generate useful visualizations like the following one in only a few clicks:
Having a standard specification for fiscal data is essential to being able to scale this work, allowing tool-makers to automate:
We have drawn on excellent related work from similar initiatives like the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), the Open Contracting Partnership, and others while aiming to keep the specification driven by new and existing tooling as much as possible. The specification took into account existing tools and platforms, in order to ensure that adaptations are simpler and with less friction.