To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans his Department has to bring forward legislative proposals to require the publication of each item of local government spending above £500 from January 2011; and what steps his Department plans to take to ensure that the information is presented in an appropriate style and context.
All local authorities are expected to publish data on items of spend of £500 and over from January 2011. Around 100 councils are already publishing this information. Given the importance of transparency to citizens and communities, I will continue to challenge and support those authorities yet to publish their data. Next month I intend to issue for consultation a Code of Recommended Practice, under section 2 of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980. This will address issues such as the scope, formatting and timing of the duty to publish the data. In the meantime the Local Public Data Panel has published guidance on spend transparency, which the Local Government Association has taken as a basis for its practical guides for councils on publication of £500 spend and senior salaries. The Code of Recommended Practice will not cover data archiving and legacy issues. This is an important and complex issue with implications for many bodies and is being considered in a broader context.