Government plans unified online platform for public sector spend data

CCS starts work on proposed digital service that would allow public bodies and citizens to assess spend by comparable organisations

Credit: Negative Space

Government is planning to create an online platform allowing people to access all public sector spending data in a single location. 

The digital service would allow for information to be “collated in one place and categorised using common definitions”, according to a recently published contract notice from the Crown Commercial Service.

The procurement body is seeking an external partner to run a six-week discovery exercise to research the project’s intent and the needs of its potential users – who will include public-sector representatives and CCS officials, as well as the general public.

The service is intended to provide a single place for public bodies to submit information on their spending, which could then beaccessed,  filtered and searched.

“Currently, public sector spend data is published across many websites, in many formats, using many methods of categorisation,” the contract notice said. “This makes it difficult for public sector organisations to publish spend data and for those who want to use the data to obtain and analyse it. As a result, public sector bodies are unable to compare their spending profiles with other bodies to assess value.”

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CCS wishes to scope out and then deliver a service which makes it simple for public sector entities to submit data that can then be easily categorised and published. The digital platform should also allow organisations to easily compare their data with that of other public bodies to assess relative value, as well as enabling staff from CCS “to analyse, reuse and publish it so that [they] can make data available to the public sector and the public and refine… strategy to better support the public sector”.

The procurement agency has a budget of £150,000 to spend with a supplier, who will need to provide the entire team needed to deliver the discovery phase – with the exception of an in-house service owner.

Bids for the work are open until midnight on 15 July, with CCS hoping to start work before the end of August.

The main focus of this initial phase will be assessing the process by which data will be submitted to the service. The potential timeline for developing and launching the service is yet to be decided.

In answer to a question posed by a potential supplier, CCS said that the issue of whether public bodies will be mandated to provide data to the service – and whether such mandation will only apply for spending above a certain threshold – “is a commercial policy decision which sits outside this project”.


Sam Trendall

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