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Sussex councils delay publishing latest spending data
5:00am Tuesday 4th February 2014 in News
Councils are lagging behind on rules designed to lift the veil on local government spending.
Investigations have shown that both East and West Sussex County Council did not have data on their spending beyond August 2013 when they were checked on January 2 this year.
Brighton and Hove City Council, on the other hand, had figures up to November 2013.
Publishing data on everyday services and big ticket purchases is a cornerstone of Government plans to increase transparency and accountability at local level.
Most data is reproduced on council websites within two months of the purchase, though some councils are leaving it much longer.
A West Sussex County Council spokesman said: “We are fully committed to transparency and were one of the first county councils to comply with the legislation.”
The council's biggest payment in September - its most recent figures - was to Balfour Beatty for £2,604,935.27 for highways work.
A spokesman for East Sussex County Council said it published its figures quarterly and has since uploaded details to December 2013.
Its highest payment for the last quarter was £5,194,429 to the Inland Revenue from its Children's Services department.
Brighton and Hove City Council leader Jason Kitcat said: “Openness and transparency is a key priority for us, which is why we are considered a leader in this area.
“We are committed to providing as much information as possible for public use under open licences.
“I strongly believe that as a publicly-funded body we must always strive to be open and accountable in all that we do.”
A payment of £330 to Tourist Telescopes under “goods for resale” is among the transactions for December 2013 for Brighton and Hove City Council.
According to an examination of 152 council transparency pages on January 2 this year, the majority - a total of 67 - had included figures up to and including November's accounts An additional 50 councils had updated as far as October, and a further 17 had gone up to September.
It meant data for around one in 10 councils was at least four full months behind.
Transparency measures were originally announced in 2010 for councils to publish details of spends over £500.
Some councils later adapted this to cover purchases over £250, with data typically including spends on equipment and service hire.
Click on the links below to read each authority's latest spending data:
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