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East Swindon | September 20, 2017

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Council Transparency – Spending over

Dale Heenan
  • On March 2, 2011
  • https://www.eastswindon.com

You may have heard of, Eric Pickles in the newspapers over the last few months. He is the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in the Government, and he has set out nine areas where Councils should be transparent and publish all of their expenditure over £500. But this information is just the tip of the iceberg, other data that he suggested included:

  • Local government salaries – Greater disclosure of senior staff salaries by name and job descriptions
  • Councillor allowances and expenses – Greater clarity on councillors& 39; costs
  • Council minutes and papers – consistent publication of what is being discussed and what has been decided
  • Job vacancies – showing local people what kind of jobs are contributing to the wage bill, driving down advertising costs and allowing comparison of pay ranges
  • Frontline service data – including rubbish and recycling rates, council tax collection rates and details of major planned projects
  • Licensing applications and decisions – giving residents more clarity on what was happening in their area and an early opportunity to raise concerns or objections
  • Planning applications and decisions – making sure residents have online access to information about planning applications that could affect them and the look and feel of their area, and making it easier for them to influence emerging development ideas
  • Food hygiene reports for food outlets – one example of information which is routinely collected and of interest to residents, but not currently shared in an easily accessible formats

Cllr Dale Heenan “I first raised the idea of publically publishing Council expenditure more than 18 months ago with Cabinet while I was a backbencher. I am very pleased to say that since December, this information is fully available for local residents to review and question from www.swindon.gov.uk

In fact, Swindon Borough Council publishes all nine areas of information that Eric Pickles highlighted and I& 39;d like us to go further. n addition, as the Cabinet member for Policy & Performance, I have been very keen for Council Officers to adopt a “compliance plus” approach. Instead of doing the bare minimum Councils should use the opportunitity to change the way they are transparent and accountable.

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