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Government opens data on spending on social enterprise



The Cabinet Office and Social Enterprise UK have created a spending dashboard as part of the open data movement

The government has pushed open data into the realm of social enterprise with the creation of a new online tool to assess spending with relevant organisations.

The Cabinet Office and Social Enterprise UK, the national body for organisations with a social or environmental mission, have launched a dashboard providing graphical data and downloadable spreadsheets on the relevant spending.

The spreadsheets are available in comma separated value format - which often facilitates re-use of the data - and the website says it is available on open licence whenever possible. "This means you want you to use and re-use our data," it says.

It has made use of information from the Buy Social Directory, which was published in June2014. The Cabinet Office said that users will be able to drill down to investigate the relevant spending by total and region, and to analyse the top social enterprise suppliers by financial year.

The datasets on social enterprises and community interest companies were created by linking to Companies House uniform resource identifier (URI) codes and cross referencing records with published information on spending by local authorities and central government. The work was carried out by Spend Network and Open Corporates, while the Aspire Group and City of London Corporation were also involved in the project.

Powerful insight

Rob Wilson, the minister for civil society, said: "The UK has the world's largest social enterprise sector and providing data on over 10,000 businesses will give a powerful insight into how social enterprises work."

Peter Holbrook, chief executive of Social Enterprise UK, said: "The data initiative will lead to greater accountability throughout public bodies in regards to their respective spend and procurement. It will be a game changer for our members because, for example, they can identify and target markets that are increasingly using social enterprises."

The news comes as part of the government's latest push for open data. In recent days its mapping agency, Ordnance Survey, has released open data mapping products, and the Cabinet Office staged an event as part of International Open Data Day.

Image from Social Enterprise UK

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