Become An Isle Of Wight Armchair Auditor

Lots of hard work has gone into building this tool to make it really easy for you to examine the council’s published expenses. Have a go!

We’re really excited to announce the launch of Armchair Auditor OnTheWight.

It’s a whole Website devoted to making it as easy as possible for anyone to be able to examine the details of each of the Isle of Wight council’s expenses over £500 that we published a couple of days ago.

You can view the spending through many different ways. The major ones are

Add comments
Each of the pages of information that you find has an area towards the bottom of the page where you can type in comments – to share information, findings, comments with others who might be interested in the same areas.

If you don’t want to go as far as typing a comment, you can use the ‘Like’ thumbs up/down.

Finding suppliers
If you come across a company that you don’t recognise like, for example, Broxap Ltd, there’s a simple link to click on that carries out a Google search for the company name, helping you find their Website.

Each area that is displayed, can be clicked on to find further details.

It’s highly addictive!
We’ve been using the Armchair Auditor and not only is it a fantastic tool (well done WightGeek – see below), but we’ve found it highly addictive!

To help you in your clicking around, we’ve programmed it so if you’ve visited a link before, it will appear with a light grey background instead of the initial light green.

Sharing
Each of these pages have their own Web address (URL), so you can copy and paste the links to share with your friends via email or Facebook.

How it came about
When VB started asking the council to release its data, we also got to thinking about how the data might be best viewed.

Happily we came across the excellent Armchair Auditor site, created by Adrian Short when the Local Government Open Data pioneer, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead released their data.

WightGeek = Hero
Another happy co-incidence was bumping in to WightGeek, an Island technical whizz, who is super-tuned up at writing (something called) Ruby on Rails. He took direct inspiration from Adrian’s Armchair Auditor and coded his own version of by hand.

WightGeek has been working hard importing the IWC data into the system and tuning the code to make it the easy to use system you see now – so a huge HURRAH! to him. While we’re doing ‘Thank Yous’, we want to pass them on to fellow Islanders Garth Oatley for assisting and Tony Hirst for the ideas.

The future
Our hope is now to build on what you can now see. If you come up with any ideas on reports that you might like to see, or graphs drawn – just get in touch on [email protected]

Have fun!

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below must comply with the Commenting 'House Rules' and are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

Leave your Reply

37 Comments on "Become An Isle Of Wight Armchair Auditor"

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Trevor

Wow, well done to you all. Ventnorblog does it again!

I gave up on the spreadsheet earlier in the week as there was just too much information poorly presented.

Double thumbs up from me.

vfbb

Cripes I wish I had shares in Logica!! Isn’t this exactly what the council employs officers for?

Mosey

I believe Logica are the supplier of the new(ish) financial systems. So that would include staff training and technical support. I’m not saying it’s acceptable, just not an in-house kind of thing.

Jonnyhotrod

Better not get in to that just yet. Looks awesome though…

gordon bennett

Well done Simon the mind boggles
£159446 to Lawton Comms for Image Campaigne
what does this mean, seems in IOWCC case it was a waste of money unless they were trying to show what a lot of wallies we are in which case money well spent

Meursault

The image campaign is the off-Island tourism marketing.

gordon bennett

Meursault as you seem to be in the know what exactly was this off Island campaign TV adverts?
adverts in national papers?
Why would the IOWCC be advertising for people to come to the Island and then shut down toilets reduce bus services?

Meursault
I don’t know the exact detail of the campaign content, but would most likely cover their facebook/twitter management, ads in key publications, maybe some outdoor (bus stops and railway station), maybe some regional radio. That kind of thing. I guess the costs also include production and creative fees. And yes there is some irony as at the same time they are selling off/closing some of the core… Read more »
hmmm

whilst its nice to have the data broken up into sensible chunks, it still comes down to what some of the entries actually mean. Only the council can answer that though. Perhaps people can email through lists of items that are unclear and you can chase the council for explanations?

Jonnyhotrod

Or…

hmmm

urm… and?

Jonnyhotrod

… you could chase the council for explanations. We all could.

hmmm

we all could, and we would all likely get told to bugger off and submit an FOI request. VB as a media outlet may well be much more successful in getting answers.

Jonnyhotrod

Let’s find out.

VB – are you likely to get answers about spending queries from the council without submitting FOI requests? Would you say that you were;
A. more likely,
B. less likely, or
C. pretty much exactly as likely to get an answer from IWC?

hmmm

well, sarcasm aside, anyone who can publish the fact that the council hasnt bothered to give a reply has more leverage when asking for an answer. They also have the contacts to do so. Or of course people could ask themselves. But then it seems some would much rather get bogged down in sarcasm than bother. As it is, I think ive made my point now.

Jonnyhotrod
But if we shared the task/burden/responsibility of contacting the council, it may have more resonance. There could still be the promise of updates in VB about requested information not being given, but; A. IWC would be aware that more people were interested and not prepared to just let it pass B. VB could continue spending their already limited time giving us all the delicious and vital news… Read more »
hmmm

fair point. then perhaps everyone who contacts the council with a request should state they are doing it on behalf of VB, and any response, or lack of, will be published on VB. That puts VBs weight behind it, and allows VB to just chase up the questions that go unanswered.

Sally Perry
Great to see people getting involved and embracing the ethos of the Armchair Auditor. If you’re planning to put in a request to the comms dept for further info on anything listed on the AAOTW site, simply add a comment on the relevant page of AAOTW, stating that you have made the request and then update it when you receive a response. We feel it is better… Read more »
hmmm
another thought…. how about putting a link on the Armchair Auditor site that would allow details of the item to be sent direct to the council, along with a short message from the user asking any questions about that item? Similar to what FixMyStreet.com does. Theres some people who wont be too keen to email the council direct, but may do so with the backing of the… Read more »
DH

I’m going to pop off to B&Q to purchase some lawnmowers.

http://armchairauditor.onthewight.com/suppliers/brighstone-landscaping-ltd

no.5

Whats Ryde Thi

http://armchairauditor.onthewight.com/service_areas/ryde-thi

and wonder what the Crown hotel did to get grants of £43K

Meursault

£55k to Starlight for Cowes Week? I checked them out and they are an event production company. I can only think of 2 uses, firstly they may have provided facilities on the parade or secondly it was the Council bash at the Haven. Either way it sounds pretty extravagant?

Holy Moley!

They also put firework displays on. Maybe IWC was the anonymous donor?

Shelley

Holey Moley,I must be thick but where does it list what they paid for the fireworks?

Thanks

Holy Moley!

It’s not that specific but this http://armchairauditor.onthewight.com/suppliers/starlight-design-ltd shows that £55K was paid to Starlight Design Ltd, who are an event management company that also do firework dispays http://www.starlightdesign.co.uk/fireworks
This http://www.yachtingworld.com/galleries/more/28934/1/2/onboard-the-cowes-week-fireworks-barge#slideshow confirms that they did the Cowes fireworks last year
(The previous slide to that on the Yachting World article suggests that the anonymous donor has a yacht in the South of France)

Shelley

Thank you Holey Moley, but I am confused, Cowes week Ltd accounts also show that they paid for the fireworks as well. So how come both organisations have put the fireworks in to their accounts?

Holy Moley!
wightgeek
We aren’t sure, it might be noise in the data (perhaps internal IWC codes?) There are also entries with ‘Dd’ at the start which was ‘DD’ before we downcased them. (All the supplier names WERE IN CAPTIALS). That could just be Direct Debit. We were mindful of keeping the data as pure as possible, so haven’t done anything other than that. Seeing as IWC paid Spikes Cavell… Read more »
Holy Moley!
I just checked the original Excel sheet and the SB was there too. It’s all contributes to making the data more difficult to understand, which may be the intention.. It will be interesting to see what Spikes Cavill charged for the data cleansing! Thanks for such a great piece of work, this really makes it much more accessible. I hope the CP promote this too as the… Read more »
muso-activator

All I know about Mountjoy is that they put up a lot of scaffolding up for nothing and then announced their new computer suite in some council comms magazine around the same time.

Mosey

SB = self-billing

wightgeek

Thanks for that. The others seem to be CC – Childcare, HZ – Homelessness, RE – Rent, SG – Sector Grant, SP – Supporting People?

Having the codes left on the supplier names have meant some have duplicate entries – e.g Islecare has 3 entries. Which is confusing & I guess I should sort it out. Sigh.

Hot diggedy

No sign of Members expenses that I can see though. Would that really be under £500?