Sky News: The Westminster Accounts data initiative

Category: Creative Use of Data; Entrant: Sky Creative

Graphic headlined 'The Westminster Accounts'

The Westminster Accounts is an initiative by Sky News and Tortoise Media to offer transparency in UK politics and illuminate the influence of money. Despite claims of transparency, financial transaction records are scattered across various platforms and formats, making it challenging to discern the financial ties between politicians and donors.

To address this, the project seeks to empower voters with simple insights, such as MPs’ earnings outside their taxpayer-funded salary, donations from businesses and individuals to MPs and parties, and understanding how interest groups use Parliament for their agendas. The Westminster Accounts organises and visually represents the data, creating leader boards and league tables to highlight financial flows.

The Westminster Accounts not only organises this data, it maps it, making connections we haven’t been able to make before. Using nested circle charts, the project visualises this complex data into a more comprehensible and visually engaging format, ultimately allowing voters to clearly understand MP earnings. The online tool, updated every two weeks, compiles over 650,000 entries from official websites, providing an accessible platform for users to explore the data interactively.

The storytelling is rich, clear and native to each platform, be it in films that break the data down into simple leader boards and eye-catching immersive VR graphics, online articles, a bespoke social media thread, or the conversational podcasts.

Agency: Sky Creative
ECD: Ceri Sampson
Director of Production: Sophie Brooks
Creative Director: Harry Ward
Executive Producer: Sofie Leale
Design Director: Sam Westwood
Senior Designer: Brian Gillingham
Senior Producers: Lynn Morrish, Kelly Casanova
Head of Sky News: John Ryley
Head of Specialist Journalism, Sky News: David Mapstone
Head of Digital, Sky News: Nick Sutton
Deputy Political Editor, Sky News: Sam Coates
Creative Director, Tortoise Media: Jon Hill
Editor, Tortoise Media: James Harding