Roleplay team-up with Vouliwatch (the non-partisan parliamentary monitoring organisation behind www.vouliwatch.gr) has won the 1st prize in the Public Integrity Hackathon organized by OECD in partnership with the Greek General Secretariat against Corruption (GSAC), the Harokopion University and the Greek Open Technologies Alliance (GFOSS), held on 1-2 of April 2017.
The winning proposal is an app called Vouli Open Budget. Vouli Open Budget’s main objective is to help non-state actors (citizens, civil society organisations, journalists, researchers) navigate through the vast amount of documents and datasets regarding Greek Parliament’s fiscal affairs (revenue, budgeting and expenditure), by converting raw data into a tool for democratic accountability.
The team took over the app implementation that was presented during the Public Integrity Forum held in Athens on 11-12 July. The app is already up and running on a functional level.
Description & Scope of the project
A functioning system of public accountability requires that accurate, accessible, comprehensive and timely information is provided to civil society actors and citizens throughout the budget process, from beginning to end.
Vouli Open Budget aims to serve as a parliamentary data and comparative analysis tool, which will enable the aggregation of publicly available information related to budgets and transactions from the “Parliamentary Transparency” section of the Parliament’s website, in order to organise the available data into more accessible and user-friendly formats, such as graphs and other visualisations, consistent classification levels, as well as reusable, machine-readable formats.
By doing so, it will allow citizens without deep budget knowledge to scrutinise and interpret financial data, to visualise detected trends and, thus, hold accountable any instances of corruption or mismanagement. Additionally, interested stakeholders will be able to make comparisons between different datasets and draw inferences from the budgetary data about the legislature’s revenue and spending policies, under different public administration contexts.
Finally the platform’s users will also be given the opportunity to flag budget and expenses discrepancies that will be forwarded to the Vouliwatch team which in turn will examine the validity of the claim, approve its content and grant the user the option to send the claim to the relevant department of the Greek Parliament.
A comprehensive overview on how funds are being spent and an understanding of the parliament’s fiscal behaviour can stimulate civic participation and involvement. Hence, Vouli Open Budget, seeking to foster a collaborative environment, will work as a point of interface, through which feedback from civil society actors and citizens regarding the provided data (opinions on a particular transaction, suggestions on setting budget priorities) can be effectively channelled.