22 October 2014 to 30 April 2015


Project Owner

Satori Lab

[email protected]


04 November 2014 View History

Project March Madness

The aim of this project is to eliminate all wasteful spending of public money that happens at financial year end.

Initial aims of the discovery phase are to understand all of the dynamics at work that cause this behaviour, how widespread the problem is, undertake spending data analysis, and determine the financial cost to the taxpayer.

The problem isn’t confined to the UK, where it’s called “March Madness”. In America, they call it “Use it or Lose it” budget practice – “September Madness” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. Research carried out by Leibman and Mahoney in the US between 2004 – 2009 found that around 9% of the total annual budget was spent in the last week of the fiscal year. If it were evenly distributed throughout the year, the weekly amount would have been 1.9%. They also found that the quality of services and products bought at the end of the fiscal year was lower than for the rest of the year because of the rushed nature of the purchases.

The first questions that need consideration are:

Is this actually a problem? Does government spending increase during the last few weeks of the financial year?

Does the quality of purchases reduce at year end?

Does the perception that if you don't spend your budget in-year actually result in a smaller budget the following year?

The issues were discussed at GovCamp Cymru in September. Here is a link to the session notes.

I also blogged on this here.

We need some data from government orgs and some data analysis to consider the first questions. Something for a hack-day I wonder??


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