Open data, big data, data journalism – in recent years we have been hearing a lot about data. Whether it’s Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog, or the G8’s Open Data Charter, data, it seems, is everywhere.

Indeed, making data, making public information, available and easily accessible online is one of the key goals of this Department. In the area of public expenditure and public service numbers, we have redesigned and enhanced the Databank website to allow greater levels of detail on Public Expenditure and Public Service Numbers.


The Public Expenditure databank provides users with 21 years of data from 1994. This has been updated to include data from the 2014 Revised Estimates (REV) data and the 2013 Provisional Outturn data. Data is shown by both Department (Vote) and Departmental (Vote) group, and users can analyse this on a Gross, Net and Appropriation in Aid basis.
The Vote reports can be expanded to subhead level and all of the reports allow the user to select pay, non-pay, pension and capital expenditure options.The next updates for the Public Expenditure Databank are as follows: Appropriation Account 2013 data – November 2014, REV 2015 data – December 2014 and Provisional Outturn 2014 data – February 2015.

Users can also access 34 years of data on Public Service Numbers, dating from 1980 to 2013. The data from 2008 is available on a quarterly basis and can be expanded to more specific levels of detail. Public Service Numbers are updated on a quarterly basis and will be next updated for Quarter 2 2014 in August 2014.
New features of the site include a new open data report that allows users extract all of the expenditure and numbers data used to create the Databank report, enabling users to undertake their own analysis. Each report now has its own unique url to allow for easy referencing of data on the databank.
As we explore the potential of open data – and we hope to announce further initiatives in this area soon – we will continue to develop Databank, as we move towards ever greater levels of openness and transparency.

We welcome feedback on the Databank website, if you have suggestions, please send them to

Robert Watt, Secretary General, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /