Richard Willis's Blog

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Reading Borough Council Publishes Spending Details

Reading Borough Council has published the details of all expenditure greater than £500 for 2009/10 and for 2010/11 to date. The publication of expenditure follows the Government’s Transparency Agenda and the announcement requiring every local authority to release such information in the interests of openness and accountability.

Reading Borough Council believes transparency is a key condition and driver for the delivery of Council services. As a public funded organisation, the Council has a duty to the residents that it serves to be transparent in its business operations and outcomes.

The full expenditure data can be found at http://www.reading.gov.uk/councilanddemocracy/transparency and will continue to be updated quarterly. Senior Salary Data can also be accessed by following the link.

Reading Borough Council Leader Andrew Cumpsty said: ‘Residents expect their Councillors to spend their money wisely, on services that matter to them. Through this new initiative, we will ensure openness and honesty, with all our residents being able to see how we are spending their money. Through this new open approach, any resident will be able to see how Council Tax is spent at the touch of a button. This is more openness, honesty and accessibility in Local Government.”

This is a sharp contrast with the approach of the previous Labour administration which seems to have gone out of its way not to let the public know what was going on!

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February 1, 2011 - Posted by | Local

8 Comments »

  1. Sorry Richard but the way the data is published is definitely not what you call transparent: a mish mash of names and figures. Needs breaking down by Dept/Cos used/details of services provided over which period of time. That is the only way we are going to check whether our money is spent wisely. For example a name came up : Token Security Solutions Ltd. Looked them up on the Web and their type of Services is not listed! Can you clarfy? Education is the Dept which used this company and the invoices are each for the same amount.Also I see the Legal Dept does not appear to have any expenditure??? So no Legal Counsels advice sought and paid for?? Or is it covered under a different Dept. I would have thought it would be a busy Dept since you always have to ensure that all actions by the Administration is legal and sometimes this requires specialised advice. Sorry not ggod enough Cllr Cumpsty. Appreciate your endeavour to be open and transparent but that certainly isn’t!

    Comment by Jazz | February 1, 2011 | Reply

    • Jazz – it is a very good start bearing in mind that it has had to be done retrospectively. Moving forward I am sure that we can do better. Officers will be recording invoices now in the knowledge that they will be published so should be more careful and detailed than they may have been in the past.

      This info was never published under Labour that I am aware of!

      Comment by Richard Willis | February 1, 2011 | Reply

  2. “This info was never published under Labour that I am aware of!” Point taken Richard.And we had 23 years of this! It was only a few people/residents who were aware of some of the unwise use of COuncil Tax and it is good that in the future everyone will be able to appraise the use of local public funds.

    Comment by Jazz | February 2, 2011 | Reply

  3. Can you tell the Officers concerned that”individual” as a payee at least must have the type of service or reason for payment. Understand the privacy laws says you cannot disclose the names but surely if it is providing a service or payment has a legal and valid reason, then we are entitled to know what it is. And yes, I do pay my Council Tax

    Comment by Jazz | February 2, 2011 | Reply

  4. Oh God, I agree with Jazz. I’ll shut up now.

    Comment by Jonny | February 3, 2011 | Reply

  5. HI Jonny. Which bit do you agree on? The fact that Labour never published anything like that all the time they were in power? Or the fact, it is a starting point and it is hard to get some long serving Officers to part with the information just as we want it! Lots of unexplained data, it took me minutes to spot the oddities! And I am not an Auditor!

    Comment by Jazz | February 3, 2011 | Reply

  6. Whether Labour (or any other coloured administration in any other council)would be a matter of fact. I don’t agree with facts, I acknowledge them.
    If there is to be anything more than window-dressing to publishing expenditure over £500 then it must be comprehensive; as detailed as is possible without breaching individual privacy; not routinely hidden behind a cloak of “commercial sensitivity”; and state the nature of the service provided, rather than merely the identity of the payee.

    Comment by Jonny | February 4, 2011 | Reply

  7. Sorry: first line should have “published this information” after the parenthesis.

    Comment by Jonny | February 4, 2011 | Reply


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