Pickles throws down gauntlet on council data

Open up your books to the interwebs or else

Eric Pickles has told more than 200 "slow coach councils" that they must put spending data online or face the consequences.

The local government secretary reminded them that they have until the end of January to publish data about spending of £500 or more.

This includes publishing details of senior pay and councillor expenses, plus minutes of meetings, and data about frontline services of potential interest to citizens.

Six months ago, Pickles wrote to all councils calling on them to open their files to make local government spending more transparent and show waste is being eradicated.

"New Year is traditionally a time when the country sets its goals for the year ahead.

"In 2011 I would like to see every council make their New Year's resolution to cut more waste and fully open their books up to public scrutiny," Pickles said.

According to Communities and Local Government (CLG), research by Experian has revealed that town halls could be wasting nearly £150m on duplicate payments.

Pickles praised the 144 councils that have already put their data online, but warned those that have failed to act that they will face tough questions from residents and that he will take action.

A CLG spokesperson told GC News that it is planning to issue a code of practice for local authorities that will set out what will happen if they do not comply.

This article was originally published at Kable.

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