Byron, Sam, Rob, Adam and Jason won our “Better Bath” award (£300) at Hacked 2.1 for their project that seeks to explain how BANES spends its money.

What did you make?

We created a way for you, the general public, to see what BANES is spending your taxes on. Data is presented on an annual and monthly basis. You drill down in to how much the council has spent with individual business over the past 4 years.

Transparency

One key concept Sam was very keen for was the ability to upvote expenditure which he thought needed more explanation. Once a certain transaction reached a certain amount of votes we could trigger a request for information from the concil to provide more detailed information.

Locality

I love maps and places, so the idea to work out if BANES purchased things locally seemed a lot of fun. After extracting all companies from the dataset I used the Company Check Free API to search for matching company names to get their address. Afterwards the postcodes.io API came in very useful to Geocode all of the company postcodes.

As you can see from the following chart the council really has upped its local spending, well over doubling purchases within 5 miles over the last 4 years.

Please note, we could not find company data for all suppliers listed. This graph only contains information for Limited companies we could match against the spending data.

Accuracy

The open data provided by BANES is good, it could be improved in the following ways:

  • Fill missing dates
  • Encode monetary values consistently (always with a decimal)
  • Don’t put “?” values in the Amount field
  • Provide company information consistently. LTD or LIMITED, not both. Whichever the company uses.

That being said our data lacks accuracy due to the importing and processing. We could improve our accuracy by:

  • Finding the most local office to Bath for location data
  • Having the location data for all Suppliers

What would you do to improve it further?

  • Open up voting to logged in users to request data
  • Compare Bath to other councils across the country
  • See how many councils across the country share the same suppliers

Tools used

Dr Joanna Bryson presents the "Better Bath" prize to Byron Williams

Dr Joanna Bryson presents the “Better Bath” prize to Byron Williams

Backend:

  • DigitalOcean
  • Go (API Server)
  • Python (Extract, Transform, Load, API scraping)
  • MongoDB

Frontend:

  • Grunt
  • Bower
  • AngularJS
  • Bootstrap (of course!)
  • Highcharts

The project is live at: expose.112percent.com

Team

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