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Tracking public finances

Tracking public finances may be aided by public balance sheet accounting and greater transparency of public finance (as happens in Estonia). Teams in several countries are working on ways to make public finance wholly transparent, with spending tagged to geographical areas, or groups. The current UK Total Place pilots are attempting to map all spending in particular areas in order to allow more creativity in thinking about how assets could be shared between agencies, or how actions by one agency could save money for another (for example by providing more home-based care for older people to reduce pressures on hospitals). Another project, ‘Where Does My Money Go?’, set up by the Open Knowledge Foundation, is attempting to provide an interactive representation of UK public finance using maps, timelines and other visualization techniques. New York’s Open Book provides information on how New Yorkers’ tax dollars are spent.