Case study: Using UK company data as an accountability tool (08/12/16)

After well over a decade-and-a-half of campaigning by the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) anti-corruption movement, oil, gas and mining companies are starting to report payments to governments under long-awaited mandatory disclosure rules. By 2019 an estimated 84% or more of the world’s 100 largest oil and gas companies, and at least 58% of the largest 100 mining companies, will be required by law to disclose their payments. The global extractives transparency standard will have well and truly arrived.

Getting oil, gas and mining companies to publish their payments to governments is necessary to deter corrupt deals and poor revenue management. But resulting CSV files and data-filled company PDFs are not always the best tools for citizens and civil society to use when discussing payments or questioning government officials. That is why data infomediaries are needed to work with the data to enable citizens and civil society to assess company reports.

In this case study, part of the PWYP Data Extrators, PWYP UK Coordinator Miles Litvinoff highlights how:

  • Civil society in host countries has used, or plans to use, data reported by UK companies under the EU Directives to proactively ask government entities to account for key payments disclosed by foreign extractive companies.
  • Unlike in the EITI process, payments in question were made no more than one year ago, which significantly enhances accountability.
  • Using mandatory payment disclosures, and supported by open data techniques and products, five PWYP country coalitions will have initiated dialogue with government entities in four host countries and with international extractive companies including Shell on the comprehensiveness of company disclosures, on what constitutes a “fair deal” for citizens and on host government accountability.
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