June 10, 2009

UK expense account scandal leads to more transparency

What good can come from the expense account scandal in the UK that has led to numerous resignations and left Gordon Brown's Labour Party on the ropes? Increased transparency, of course.

The Guardian has launched a website with a collection of freely downloadable spreadsheets that contain all kinds of data on the MP expense accounts and more. It has already encouraged transparency minded citizens to create new and exciting ways to visualize the data and its connections.

And there's more.

Today TechPresident reported that the British government is considering its own version of Data.gov. While a good amount of data is already made available by the British government, it comes in a variety of awkward formats (sound familiar)? Making these data available in easily downloadable form in one place would be a huge step forward.

Let's hope this scandal has made the UK's politicians aware of the importance of transparency. Knowing that their expense reports would be available to the public may have prevented the UK's current mess. Well, better late than never.