Open Data Standards Affect City Spending Decisions

City decision makers should consider the new federal “open data” standards before building their own digital infrastructure.

The DATA Act 2014  requires the Department of the Treasury and the White House Office of Management and Budget to transform U.S.federal spending from disconnected, hard to find documents into open, standardized data, and to publish that data online. On May 9, 2014 President Barack Obama signed the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act), Public Law No. 113-101, which had been passed unanimously by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

According to Hudson Hollister, Data Transparency Coalition, “From the beginning, the core of the DATA Act has been comprised of twin mandates to (1) adopt data standards across the whole landscape of federal spending and (2) publish the whole corpus online.

The U.S. federal government is transforming its information into open data – standardized, searchable, and ready for anyone to use. Open data supports better accountability, enables data-driven decisions, and allows compliance tasks to be automated.  While these Open Data laws and policies specify actions at the federal level, they offer cutting edge policy implications for municipalities, as well.  Cities can both take advantage of the federal open data as they build their own IT infrastructures.  They can also plan to be in compliance with these requirements as they spend capital funds to acquire proprietary software.

The transformation is driven by key policy changes.

First, the DATA Act of 2014 and President Obama’s Open Data Policy are making open data a central part of government management.

Second, the Financial Transparency Act, currently pending in Congress, and the IRS’ recent commitment to publishing nonprofit filings promise that the future of business and nonprofit reporting lies in standardized data, rather than disconnected documents.

Third, open data formats are being adopted for the text and substance of laws and regulations, changing the essence of policy making.

At Data Transparency 2015, a conference on September  23, 2015 organized by the Data Transparency Coalition and its supporters, government and business leaders who are pursuing these policy changes will offer glimpses of the future fruits of the open data transformation.

Data Transparency Coalition, the world’s only open data trade association, represents market leaders in data publication, data analytics, and data reporting.

Coalition members are working to assist agencies, grantees and contractors to take advantage of the DATA Act’s first-ever government-wide data standards for federal spending, which were announced on May 8, 2015. The announcement also included a new page on, the federal government’s official spending data website, where the DATA Act standards are now published.


sourced from Data Transparency Coalition & Socrata
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