Combined Online Information System

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The Combined Online Information System (COINS) is a database containing HM Treasury's detailed analysis of departmental spending under thousands of category headings.[1] The database contains around 24 million lines of data.[1] The database has codes for more than 1,700 public bodies in the United Kingdom including central government departments, local authorities, NHS trusts and public corporations.[2] COINS is used by the Office for National Statistics for statistical purposes.[3]

The Treasury describes the database as "a web based multi-dimensional database used by HM Treasury to collect financial information".[4] Data from the COINS database is used to prepare the National Accounts.[5]

Structure and technical details[edit]

The Combined Online Information System or COINS database is one of the biggest datasets in government.[6] COINS uses a database called Camelot.[6] The system is supplied by Descisys.[6]


COINS replaced three separate systems previously used by the British Government, Public Expenditure System (PES), Government Online Data System (GOLD) and General Expenditure Monitoring System (GEMS).[7]


The Treasury turned down requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for data contained in COINS prior to the 2010 General Election.[1] However, after promises during the election campaign to publish the database if elected,[8] the coalition government has made available all 120GB of COINS data in a raw format as of 4 June 2010.[9][10] The hope in doing so is that this will spur third party organisations to find innovative ways to present this information to the public.


  1. ^ a b c How big is the COINS database?, BBC
  2. ^ Response to Freedom of Information request made through
  3. ^ It is also used by the ONS for statistical purposes.
  4. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2010-04-23. Retrieved 2010-04-11.
  5. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2010-04-11.
  6. ^ a b c
  7. ^ COINS Training and basic report
  8. ^ "We will publish Coins straight away if we get into government." 2010: the first data election, Guardian
  9. ^ "Government to publish entire spending database", The Guardian
  10. ^

External links[edit]