Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020 Report Summary

Project ID: 645833
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.6.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - (Financial Transparency Platform for the Public Sector)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2016-04-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

OBEU will provide an open-source software framework and a Software-As-A-Service (SAAS) Platform with the aim to support financial transparency, to enhance accountability within the public sector at European level and to prevent corruption. In this context,OBEU has the objective to provide a multi-stakeholder framework which will be scalable and user-friendly. The OBEU objectives are the following:

1) Financial Data publishing and integration employing Linked Open Data
2) Exploratory and comparative Financial Data Analysis
3) Interactive Budget Management
4) Comprehensive OBEU Framework
5) Cross-domain Application
6) Sustainable Software-as-a-Service

In order to achieve these objectives, OBEU aims to:

1) provide a semantic data model, which will be used to integrate data from different public sectors at different levels, related to budgets and transactions by giving a pre-defined structure to the input data. This budgetary data integration will enable comparisons between different datasets.

2) provide a library of visualisation tools with a user-friendly interface, which will enable the visualisations of available data in different granularity and in different modalities (i.e. spatial, temporal and administrative). These tools will facilitate data analysis from different standpoints and will thus provide the opportuntity to stakeholders to explore budget allocations and to gain an overview on public spending.

3) provide a library of data mining and comparative analysis tools, which will enable the aggregation of existing data in order to obtain new outcomes and discover trends and patterns by forecasting public budget allocations. 4) offer a feedback and citizen engagement interface which will enable users to interact by giving feedback with regard to the provided data, by suggesting different priorities for budgeting, or by discussing a particular transaction.

The open-source framework and portal will integrate these components into a comprehensive portal. Furthermore the framework will be deployed as a software-as-a-service for thousands of public administrations and millions of citizens. Thus the project concept will be applied to three large-scale pilot scenarios in the domains of participatory budgeting, data journalism and corruption prevention. In addition to that, the OBEU tools will provide specific solutions in order to increase the transparency, monitoring and the accountability of the public sector platforms, and will counteract practices related to corruption. At the same time, the public sector can greatly benefit from the OBEU SaaS and tools, since solutions will be provided at an affordable cost with the aim to boost administrative efficiency and to itensify stakeholder interactions within an open goverment setting, democratizing thus to a greater degree the decision making process by investing in the good collaboration between citizens and public authorities, which constitutes one of the fundamental engines for societal progress.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The deliverables due for the first year have been submitted. In this context, progress has been accomplished in alignment with our planning. More specifically, as far as the Data Structure Definition for Budgets and Public Spending is concerned, the survey of public spending data modelling and the knowledge elicitation report, the survey of code lists for the data model’s coded dimensions, the design of data structure definition for public budget data and for public spending data, the user documentation, extraction and transformation of relevant code lists, the linking of data structure definitions to vocabularies and the linking code lists to external datasets have been accomplished. Regarding data collection and mining, progress has been achieved concerning the tools for semantic lifting of multiformat budgetary data and data optimisation, enrichment and preparation for analysis. Moreover, budget and spending data visualisations have been collected, required OBEU functionalities have been analysed and service interfaces have been specified taking user requirements into consideration. At the same time, a MEP questionnaire has been submitted and the respective needs analysis report has been conducted. Consequently we have advanced with our assessment report, our stakeholder identification and outreach plan, our dissemination strategy, materials, press releases and testimonials, whille completing the firstt version of the OBEU exploitation plan.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The level of transparency affects all citizens, to an even greater expect that the directly related economic impact. Corruption at the public sector is inversely proportional to citizen trust in public administration. At the same time, increasing transparency has the effect of enhancing accountability in the public sector and consequently citizens’ trust in work of the public authorities. Therefore OBEU impacts a wide range of stakeholders by motivating data providers (public administrations) to publish their data, and by enabling citizens, NGOs, media organisations, and companies to collaborate in generating a more transparent administration system.

Thanks to the flexible and user-friendly OBEU tools, public administrations will be given the opportunity to easily deploy and use financial trans-parency applications at a low cost and at the same time customised according to their needs. Consequently OBEU can have a very positive impact on the work currently conducted by public administration and on the respective public perceptions by rendering feasible the storage and management of large quantities of budget and spending data, while maintaining the ability to work with multiple, distributed and heterogeneous financial transparency datasets and to extract new usable knowledge from large financial datasets. This will lead to the establishment of an ecosystem consiting of applications and services based on financial data related to public administrations.

Furthermore citizens will gain valuable insights in public spending and will be given the opportunity to interact and to participate to a greater extent in budget allocation processes that directly affect their quality of life (QOL).

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