Monday, 6 February 2017

Analysing EU public spending data

Having recently researched thoroughly into OJEU (Official Journal of the European Community) and TED (Tenders Electronic Daily), I discovered the TED dataset for 2015 spend data.

This seemed like a great opportunity to try some different tools for data analysis and see what I could learn about EU spend data.


I usually use Excel to analyse data, but I also wanted to learn about R, an open source tool which is very popular with data analysts and the scientific community.

Quick facts

The 2015 dataset contains 542,376 rows.

The total value of the spend in the dataset was €763,502,408,895.25 (about €763.5bn). TED only collects data above OJEU thresholds and spend below the thresholds is at least three times larger!

The largest number of bids submitted for a contract was 940. This actually occurred on a framework for Child Daycare Services in Greece.

The largest award was €13.1bn for GP Out of Hours service for the York and surrounding area.

Value of contracts tendered


I knew from my research that the UK tendered the most contracts through TED, however, I was very surprised that it’s more than twice as much as any other country. I am really not sure how to account for this difference.

Value of contracts won

Once again, UK is well ahead, in fact, this graph looks very similar to the graph of contracts tendered. My research had led me to believe that one of the key purposes of OJEU rules was to eliminate trade barriers, but if the UK is tendering and winning the most, is this really happening? 

Country spending inside and outside national borders

Looking at whether money is spent with a supplier in-country or abroad, I discovered that most activity happens in-country. I didn’t have data for non-EU countries to compare, however, I was surprised at how little spend goes abroad. The most open country is France. I did also create a more detailed, country by country analysis for this.

Spending by Main Activity

The classic ‘other’ and ‘general’ categories are where the most money is spent. Putting this aside, I was surprised to learn that Urban Railway spending outstripped Education and Defence


Publicly available datasets contain some very interesting information. Data analysis tools such as Excel and R make this easier. These type of techniques can be applied by companies as well as countries.

Next steps

If this has piqued your interest, there is a fantastic website where you can investigate the data for yourself.  You can learn more about R on the website. You can also see how I generated the graphs here. Finally, I would love to know what you think about the results.

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!


Post a Comment