Michigan Awarded A+ Rating for Open Access to Government Spending Data
State government leaders make critical decisions every day about how to invest public resources and ensure that agencies and officials are publicly accountable for how they spend taxpayer dollars. Without access to operational and financial data across agencies, it becomes difficult for leaders to make informed decisions. Across the country, states are opening their books and making data available, not only for transparency and accountability, but to increase operational efficiency as well.
Michigan was recently recognized as a leader in public financial accountability. The state received an A+ rating from U.S. PIRG and Frontier Group’s Following the Money 2016 report for its efforts. In this annual report, each transparency website was evaluated and graded based on searchability and the depth of information that is accessible by citizens. Michigan was one of only five states that received a perfect score, after upgrading their open access site for state government spending.
“There was collaboration at various levels of state government that led to the improvement in the way we share our spending information,” said Mike Moody, Director of the state’s Office of Financial Management. “The national perspective, expertise and experience that Socrata brought to the table played a pivotal role in moving our grade from a B+ to an A+.”
The state partnered with Socrata to unlock the value of its data and add functionality to its website. Government leaders, employees, and the residents now have the ability to explore the state’s spending by category, download the data, and use it in meaningful ways. Charts, graphs, and other visualizations make complex spending actions understandable and explorable.
It’s not only about transparency and open access for citizens, but as states such as Michigan are showing, the possibilities of open data truly come from the collaboration and sharing of data sets. This is where the real innovation occurs.
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