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26 April 2018

Data hack: digging public procurement in the UK

Organisation: Open Contracting Partnership. Location: London

Interested in figuring out how billions of pounds of public money is spent in the UK? Whether it is identifying the next Carillion, finding overspend or cases of corruption – join us on 26-27 April for a data hack.

This data dive will involve journalists, data analysts, sector experts, activists and affected communities. Though no sector is off the table, we will be paying special attention to construction, health, and housing.

Every year the UK government spends billions of pounds of public money with businesses to deliver public goods and services. In 2016, this accounted for  of all government expenditure. But is this money well spent?

Large sums of money alongside the often closed nature of interactions between officers and business can increase the risks of corruption and fraud. A 2013 survey of businesses found that 18% of UK companies that competed for public contracts said that they thought that corruption had prevented them from winning a contract and this increased to 38.5% for UK construction industry.

The UK publishes contracts data in Open Contracting Data Standard and we want to put it together with spend, corporate information, beneficial ownership, and grants data to see what the data shows.

Here’s how the two days will run. Please don’t forget to bring your laptops and chargers!


Thursday, Apr 26

  • 17:45 PM: Doors open, explore the exhibition space with contract related stories
  • 18:30 PM: Why transparency in public procurement matters
  • 19:00 PM: Introduction to datasets
  • 19:30 PM: Meet the data leads, Q & A
  • 19:50 PM: Group brainstorm on questions for data digging
  • 20:15 PM: Pizza + drinks
  • 21:30 PM: Doors close

Friday, Apr 27

  • 9:00 AM: Doors open, breakfast {bagels, croissants; fruits; tea, coffee;}
  • 9:30 AM: Scene setting and dividing into groups
  • 9:45 AM: Data dive begins!
  • 11:30 AM: Check in reports from teams
  • 1 – 2 PM: Working lunch
  • 2 – 4 PM: Data digging
  • 4 PM: Check in reports from teams
  • 4:20 PM: Data digging
  • 19:00 PM: Doors open for public
  • 19:30 PM: Presentations from the team
  • 20:15 PM: Pizza + drinks
  • 21:30 PM: Doors close

Datasets for the hack will be prepared in advance and provided to you in advance. There will be a Github repository for sharing code, data, and analyses during the event. We will be communicating through Slack during the event.

Sounds like your jam? Sign up and get your colleagues/friends to come along too.


Is this an overnight event?

No. Attendees are encouraged to get rest and enjoy a healthy hack-life balance.

I’ve never done a hackathon before; should I come?

If the topic and mission resonate with you, then join us. There’s always a first time — we’ve had first-time hackers who are new to technology, as well as people who work in technology who’ve never gone to a hack! This will be a friendly, creative, inclusive and collaborative event.

Is this child-friendly?

We won’t have creche on the premises but you are welcome to bring your children and pets with you!

What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?

We encourage the use of public transportation; we’re quite close to Shoreditch Overground Station and about 15 minutes from Bethnal Green Tube Station.

Region: Europe

Audience: Civic Tech