The government’s new joined up Civil Society strategy announced yesterday will take a giant leap forward by opening up all its grantmaking data, says 360Giving.
Will Perrin, co-founder of 360Giving, said:
“It’s fantastic that the government is aiming for a joined up approach to the way Whitehall works with charities. Tracey Crouch is an effective operator and she can pull it off.
“For a quick start the government should publish the Cabinet Office database of all government grants as open data with as much detail as possible. Then, through tools like GrantNav the government can see all its own work on one screen and compare to the sector’s own grantmaking. Without comparable data joining up is a nightmare.”
The new strategy aims to coordinate and improve how public sector bodies interact with the charity sector. They say it is not about finding new funding for charities but making better use of the resources the government already has available.
Rachel Rank, CEO of 360Giving and member of the Charity Commission Digital Advisory Group, said:
“We welcome this announcement by the Minister and encourage her to start by looking at what data is collected about charities across government. Data is an asset that it has at its fingertips and if opened up has the power to transform grantmaking and how charities and government can work together.
“Charities are often asked to submit the same information by different government agencies, in different formats and at different times of the year. Not all of this information is made publicly available or it is locked away in PDFs.
“Developing a more coordinated and data-savvy approach to engaging with charities will not only reduce the reporting burden on charities themselves, but it will save the government time and money and ensure they are receiving the same information and in a consistent way.
“This makes the information easier to access and use helping us gain a better understanding of the true size and scale of the sector and all the important work it does.”
More than 60 of the UK’s leading grantmakers are now sharing more than £10bn worth of data on who, where and what they fund using the 360Giving open data standard that means the information can be shared and compared.
360Giving is focusing on three goals: to support more grantmakers to publish their grants data in an open, accessible and standardised way; to build an evidence base about how open grants data can be used for better decision-making and learning; and to develop tools that help people to understand and use the data.
Among those publishing their information to the 360Giving Standard are the Big Lottery Fund, BBC Children in Need, Comic Relief, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Henry Smith Charity, Lloyds Bank Foundation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Tudor Trust and the Wolfson Foundation.
The 360Giving Standard is also in use at a local level including several community foundations, local authorities and housing trusts.