Under the new QDS framework, departments’ spending data is published every quarter to show the taxpayer how the Government is spending their money. The QDS grew out of commitments made in the 2011 Budget and the Written Ministerial Statement on Business Plans.
For the financial year 2012/13 the QDS has been revised and improved in line with Action 9 of the Civil Service Reform Plan to provide a common set of data that will enable comparisons of operational performance across Government so that departments and individuals can be held to account. Q1 2012/13 is the first set of this new data collection and comprises of different categories and subsets. As collection proceeds, we expect to be able to make meaningful comparisons on what departments are spending.
The QDS breaks down the total spend of the department in three ways: by Budget, by Internal Operation and by Transaction. At the moment this data is published by individual departments in Excel format, however, in the future the intention is to make this data available centrally through an online application.
Over time we will be making further improvements to the quality of the data and its timeliness. We expect that with time this process will allow the public to better understand the performance of each department and government operations in a meaningful way.
The QDS template is the same for all departments, though the individual detail of grants and policy will differ from department to department. In using this data:
- People should ensure they take full note of the caveats noted in each department’s return.
- As the improvement of the QDS is an ongoing process data quality and completeness will be developed over time and therefore necessary caution should be applied to any comparative analysis undertaken.
The Cabinet Office departmental family includes the Civil Service Commission. The figures for the Government Procurement Service are not included in the figures for Quarter 1.