Local Government: Disclosure of Information

Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 20th March 2014.

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Photo of Andrew Gwynne Andrew Gwynne Shadow Minister (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will take steps to ensure that the minutes of the board meetings of (a) external organisations, (b) trusts and (c) other arm's length companies operating public services on behalf of local authorities are made available for public scrutiny.

Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Communities and Local Government

The Government have no plans to require all companies who do business with local authorities to publish minutes of their board meetings.

However, we encourage all councils to be transparent about the services provided for them by the private sector. Through our revised transparency code for local authorities to be published shortly, we plan to increase transparency about the receipt of public money by private companies, by requiring local authorities to publish all spending over £500 and all contracts over £5,000.

We also plan to consult on increasing financial transparency for companies and other entities which an authority owns or has a significant influence over.

The Government also intend to issue a revised Code of Practice for all public authorities (under section 45 of the Freedom of Information Act) to promote openness about contracted out public services, including through the use and enforcement of contractual transparency provisions.

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