With the challenge of finding ways to cut budgets by 25 per cent, a survey has revealed that public services find difficulty in analysing how taxpayers’ money is spent. There is a limited use of analysis aids and a skill gap.
The survey by Rosslyn Analytics found that 80 per cent of respondents believe their capability to analyse data and get a clear picture of how money is spent needs to be improved. Almost one third do not use a spend analysis tool to obtain visibility of their organisation’s spending data. For those who use an analysis tool, 40 per cent use it quarterly or annually.
The importance of spend analysis has been shown in the total place projects. At the heart of total place is a counting process that maps money flowing through the place, from all central and local bodies, and makes links between services, to identify where public money can be spent more effectively. This data is available in the ‘All Combined Online Information System’ (COINS) database.
The next stage of total place depends on a ‘deep dive’ to analyse specific themes such as health and social care, crime and high cost communities, to uncover current realities and throw light on shared solutions.
Where deep dives have been carried out in the total place pilots and elsewhere, other issues, other than analysis facilities and skills have emerged. They include inaccurate data, data protection and the different basis of data presentation used by the various bodies involved.