15:00 - 16:00
Why should you care about the budget – An Introduction into Budget Data

Short thesis

Public budgets are not the most beloved or attractive topic in the political arena, numbers can be daunting and budget data seems dry. But the budget is the document that decides what the governments is going to spend on all our beloved issues. So we need to understand how the budget works. In this session we give you an introduction in how to read the budget, budget processes, budget data and how to use budget data in reporting and advocacy.


This workshop is a hands-on session about politics, budgets, and budget data. We will give you the basics and the tools to understand your government's budget. Understanding the budget is crucial for holding the government accountable. The budget and spending data gives us insight in the governments' plans, priorities, promises: what the government will do, but also what they will NOT do. 

First we will discuss with the participants how they can use budget and spending data for their work; with special attention for journalists and researchers. What is the basic knowledge that you need to make sense of budget and spending data. What is it what you need to know? What does a 'normal' budget look like and what are common mistakes? And most importantly, what are red flags for corruption in budgets?

We walk the participants through reading a budget file. Step by step we will show how to read the file, starting with basics of the file structure, where do you start, what the different columns and dimensions mean and most importantly, what to pay attention to.  We will work with the german budgets and execute simple operations with budget mappers and viewers and dig into the data.

Follow the Money is a well established investigative practice for journalists and researchers. By following money streams, you can uncover interests and relations between actors and map their networks. In this workshop session, we will focus on the numbers themselves. Not just networks show conflicts of interest and corruption, the numbers itself can be elusive, as long as you know how to read them.