Information on lottery grants made since 2004 published on government open data site

The Big Lottery Fund says that sharing its data would benefit and inform both its own grant-making and that of others

Big Lottery Fund
Big Lottery Fund

The Big Lottery Fund has published information about the grants it made between 2004 and 2013 on the government’s open data site

The data set, published last Thursday, contains information about the date of each grant, the name of the recipient, the amount awarded, the geographical location and the charity and company number of the organisation to enable future linking to other data sets.

Dawn Austwick, the BLF’s new chief executive, spoke recently about her intention to look at how the funder can share the data it holds on voluntary and community organisations with the wider sector.

Sharing the data it holds would benefit and inform both its own grant-making and that of others, she said.

A spokesman for BLF said: "This data was published after consultation with stakeholders and open data activists.

"The Big Lottery Fund has always published information on all grants awarded. What is key is that, along with the basic information, we have now included the charity number and the company number.

"These numbers will help unlock data in other data sets to create a richer picture of the types of resources, activities and organisations that receive funding in the UK. This will greatly benefit other funders, who will be able to build a comprehensive map of where funding is going. Funders may then choose to complement what we are doing or to work in a completely different area."

The government has made more than 9,000 data sets available on its site, from all central government departments and a number of other public sector bodies and local authorities, as part of its transparency work.

In a blog for Civil Service World, published on Monday, Austwick said: "Because funders don’t systematically share data, it is almost impossible to find out where and how others’ money has been invested. So there is no strategic map of who funded what, where and when.

"Our understanding of funding’s impact could be changed beyond recognition by opening up the large amounts of data held by funders."

Earlier this month, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation became the latest organisation to join the International Aid Transparency Initiative, an open data source that aims to make information about aid and development spend easier to access.

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