Laura Sharman 20 March 2015

Council warned over 'transparency failings'

Rother District Council has received a warning from Government over its ‘failing in transparency’ and lack of accountability on decisions made about senior staff pay.

Local government minister, Kris Hopkins, has written to the council saying it is failing to comply with the Local Government Transparency Code 2014. He also highlights a lack of accountability about decisions made about the pay and reward of staff and has withdrawn funding as a result.

The letter to leader of the council, Cllr Carl Maynard, argues that the council is ‘hiding’ pay policy statements in committee papers rather than making them easily accessible to member of the public.

It also says that the council is failing to publish information such as contracts worth over £5,000, senior salaries, trade union facility time and parking revenues.

As a result, the minister has withheld transparency funding from the council and has warned he will withhold future payments if improvements were not made.

The letter states: ‘Councils should aim to provide the highest standards of transparency, particularly in how they spend local taxpayers’ money, and certainly meet their legal duties. The public expect no less.

‘It is our view that, as it stands, your council is failing to do so. I would therefore urge you to use the coming weeks to ensure that your authority takes the necessary remedial action and to ensure that local taxpayers in Rother have access to all the information that they have a right to expect.’

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