Publishing grant data

Updated 9 August 2022

Use the ThreeSixtyGiving data standard for disclosing grant data in government organisations.

1. Summary of the standard’s use for government

Grant-makers in government need to be able to track their investments. The ThreeSixtyGiving standard allows you to publish open and structured grant data and provide grant-makers with a way of identifying and understanding what is happening to their money. This makes the data easier to understand and use for decision-making and learning across the charity sector and government.

The standard also:

  • supports better collaboration and transparency in the UK charity sector
  • provides an established specification for publishing structured data of financial transactions of grants
  • supports publication of data in CSV format or JSON for use in building services to access the data
  • gives grant-makers the flexibility to customise the standard to their own processes while maintaining interoperability with other grant-makers’ data

The government chooses standards using the open standards approval process and the Open Standards Board has final approval. Read more about the process for the ThreeSixtyGiving standard.

2. How this standard meets user needs

Users of the ThreeSixtyGiving standard are bodies that give grants to other organisations. This includes:

  • public bodies such as government departments
  • local authorities and lottery funders
  • charitable trusts and foundations

Anyone can use the published data to conduct research. Those most likely to use this information include:

  • organisations seeking funding sources
  • organisations developing tools and platforms that include funding data
  • academia
  • journalists
  • citizens

The standard meets different user needs’ because it has:

  • all the mandatory fields helpful for analysing the flow of grants
  • the ability to include extra fields so each grant-maker can add and customise what data they disclose
  • a flat structure that makes it straightforward to publish data in the required format
  • support for CSV and JSON for easy analysis by both developers and researchers
  • supporting documentation to help introduce users new to grant-making
  • a regular review and update of the standards by a stewardship committee

By using this standard organisations can:

  • see all government grants in an open format and compare them with grants made by other funding organisations including local authorities, charitable trusts and foundations and the lottery funds
  • have more well-structured, better quality data that supports better analysis and understanding of the flow of funds from government and independent funders
  • use the published data to support decision-making and learning among different groups and in different contexts

3. How to use the standard

ThreeSixtyGiving version 1.0 is a publishing framework which covers all the required functional needs within the core specification.

A ThreeSixtyGiving dataset is a relational dataset which represents one to many relationships and can be in a JSON or CSV file format. The standard has 10 mandatory fields and more than 50 which can help provide more context on the grants.

You can use a tool provided by ThreeSixtyGiving to check your data is valid.

To identify organisations, ThreeSixtyGiving builds on the code list, used in both International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and Open Contracting data. This code list supports joined-up data between grants, international aid and contracting.

ThreeSixtyGiving builds upon existing open standards, including JSON, CSV, UTF-8, and makes use of ISO 8601 compatible dates.