Council gives 'thumbs down' to new transparency guidelines
town councillors have this week given a 'thumbs down' to government
proposals to make councils more transparent and accountable.
a meeting of the town council's Policy and Finance Committee on
Monday, members debated whether to adopt a new government code
of practice that has been proposed for councils across the UK
to make them more accountable.
code seeks to encourage councils to publish details of all expenditure
over £500, plus councillor allowances and expenses, copies
of contracts and tenders, and also details of senior employee
salaries, responsibilities and budgets.
Phil Harvey said: "We could spend many, many hours pulling
all the data together with our limited resources, but this would
add to the overall workload and would not be of real benefit to
taxpayers. The code just seems disproportionate for a small council
of this size."
Neville Jones agreed: "I would question the relevance of
this to a council of our size - it just seems to be pure job creation."
Clerk Eileen Shaw added that much of the data mentioned in the
new code of practice is already available through Freedom of Information
concluded: "While we agree to the principle of data transparency,
the code would seem to be disproportionate for a council of this
not differentiating between parish and town councils with a budget
of over £200,000 and other sections of local authorities
there is no allowance made for the workload to produce the information,
between a council employing two members of staff and those employing
council is compiling a response to the Department for Communities
and Local Government on the matter. The wording of the recommended
code of practice can be viewed here.