Sussex councils delay publishing latest spending data

Sussex councils delay publishing latest spending data

Sussex councils delay publishing latest spending data

First published 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: 

Brighton and Hove City Council's December 2013 spending data.csv

East Sussex County Council's Q3 2013 data.xls

West Sussex County Council's September 2013 spending data.csv

Comments (6)

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8:03am Tue 4 Feb 14

Thay Qon U says...

"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.”

Does that "openness and transparency" also apply to publishing the data on the amount of Council Tax that has been collected as the BHCC web-site page for this data hasn't been updated since September 2013?

Afrer all, the efficient & effective collection of this Council Tax income stream is critical to the funding of BHCC services, including those services for vulnerable residents.

BHCC Council Tax monthly collection rates-
http://www.brighton-
hove.gov.uk/content/
council-tax-and-bene
fits/council-tax/mon
thly-collection-rate
s
"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.” Does that "openness and transparency" also apply to publishing the data on the amount of Council Tax that has been collected as the BHCC web-site page for this data hasn't been updated since September 2013? Afrer all, the efficient & effective collection of this Council Tax income stream is critical to the funding of BHCC services, including those services for vulnerable residents. BHCC Council Tax monthly collection rates- http://www.brighton- hove.gov.uk/content/ council-tax-and-bene fits/council-tax/mon thly-collection-rate s Thay Qon U
  • Score: 7

8:16am Tue 4 Feb 14

HJarrs says...

Thay Qon U wrote:
"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.”

Does that "openness and transparency" also apply to publishing the data on the amount of Council Tax that has been collected as the BHCC web-site page for this data hasn't been updated since September 2013?

Afrer all, the efficient & effective collection of this Council Tax income stream is critical to the funding of BHCC services, including those services for vulnerable residents.

BHCC Council Tax monthly collection rates-
http://www.brighton-

hove.gov.uk/content/

council-tax-and-bene

fits/council-tax/mon

thly-collection-rate

s
Thankyou for demonstrating that BHCC is leading the way for transparent reporting.
[quote][p][bold]Thay Qon U[/bold] wrote: "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.” Does that "openness and transparency" also apply to publishing the data on the amount of Council Tax that has been collected as the BHCC web-site page for this data hasn't been updated since September 2013? Afrer all, the efficient & effective collection of this Council Tax income stream is critical to the funding of BHCC services, including those services for vulnerable residents. BHCC Council Tax monthly collection rates- http://www.brighton- hove.gov.uk/content/ council-tax-and-bene fits/council-tax/mon thly-collection-rate s[/p][/quote]Thankyou for demonstrating that BHCC is leading the way for transparent reporting. HJarrs
  • Score: -7

10:34am Tue 4 Feb 14

mimseycal says...

Excuse me HJarrs but stating an intent and actually carrying it out are two different things. Kitkat can state that he is a leader in transparency and openness but if a key website hasn't been updated since September 2013 how can anyone feel that his statement is just so much hot air?
Excuse me HJarrs but stating an intent and actually carrying it out are two different things. Kitkat can state that he is a leader in transparency and openness but if a key website hasn't been updated since September 2013 how can anyone feel that his statement is just so much hot air? mimseycal
  • Score: 5

11:41am Tue 4 Feb 14

Goldenwight says...

What did this payment of £5m to HMRC by ESCC Childrens' Services consist of? Given that this is almost twice the size of the largest payment by WSCC- highways budget (monthly or quarterly? Not clear)- this seems an astronomical figure.

Does it in fact include something else- for example the entire payroll deductions & VAT payments by the Council? Or is this the annualized figure? I'm surprised that the Argus didn't flag this up for further investigation straight away.
What did this payment of £5m to HMRC by ESCC Childrens' Services consist of? Given that this is almost twice the size of the largest payment by WSCC- highways budget (monthly or quarterly? Not clear)- this seems an astronomical figure. Does it in fact include something else- for example the entire payroll deductions & VAT payments by the Council? Or is this the annualized figure? I'm surprised that the Argus didn't flag this up for further investigation straight away. Goldenwight
  • Score: 4

11:52am Tue 4 Feb 14

Thay Qon U says...

HJarrs wrote:
Thay Qon U wrote:
"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.”

Does that "openness and transparency" also apply to publishing the data on the amount of Council Tax that has been collected as the BHCC web-site page for this data hasn't been updated since September 2013?

Afrer all, the efficient & effective collection of this Council Tax income stream is critical to the funding of BHCC services, including those services for vulnerable residents.

BHCC Council Tax monthly collection rates-
http://www.brighton-


hove.gov.uk/content/


council-tax-and-bene


fits/council-tax/mon


thly-collection-rate


s
Thankyou for demonstrating that BHCC is leading the way for transparent reporting.
You are welcome HJarrs.

So the latest (as you confirmed) "transparent", published collection statistics for BHCC Council Tax, as at September 2013, show that BHCC is some 1% below its own monthly collection targets - that equates to a projected in-year loss of income against budget/target of some £1,200,000 for this year.

BHCC could provide a lot of Care Services with that uncollected money.

Was it a Green Party policy decision, or executive (officer) inefficiency to allow that particular leakage in valuable income to occur?
[quote][p][bold]HJarrs[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Thay Qon U[/bold] wrote: "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.” Does that "openness and transparency" also apply to publishing the data on the amount of Council Tax that has been collected as the BHCC web-site page for this data hasn't been updated since September 2013? Afrer all, the efficient & effective collection of this Council Tax income stream is critical to the funding of BHCC services, including those services for vulnerable residents. BHCC Council Tax monthly collection rates- http://www.brighton- hove.gov.uk/content/ council-tax-and-bene fits/council-tax/mon thly-collection-rate s[/p][/quote]Thankyou for demonstrating that BHCC is leading the way for transparent reporting.[/p][/quote]You are welcome HJarrs. So the latest (as you confirmed) "transparent", published collection statistics for BHCC Council Tax, as at September 2013, show that BHCC is some 1% below its own monthly collection targets - that equates to a projected in-year loss of income against budget/target of some £1,200,000 for this year. BHCC could provide a lot of Care Services with that uncollected money. Was it a Green Party policy decision, or executive (officer) inefficiency to allow that particular leakage in valuable income to occur? Thay Qon U
  • Score: 4

7:18pm Tue 4 Feb 14

wippasnapper says...

B&HCC are only transparent to the point of putting it all in one basket – how about a brake down of the contents of the basket like you expect all tenant associations or tenant run city groups to do i.e. by placing it all in one basket your hiding something like those expletive dinner party’s or those sewages you ordered in because you where working so late as if your being committed and providing information for public use under open licences but you dote your not always striving to be open and accountable in all that you do.
B&HCC are only transparent to the point of putting it all in one basket – how about a brake down of the contents of the basket like you expect all tenant associations or tenant run city groups to do i.e. by placing it all in one basket your hiding something like those expletive dinner party’s or those sewages you ordered in because you where working so late as if your being committed and providing information for public use under open licences but you dote your not always striving to be open and accountable in all that you do. wippasnapper
  • Score: 1

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