Laura Sharman 12 July 2016

Councils warn about new transparency burdens

Government plans to make councils publish more data will put further financial pressures on councils for ‘no apparent purpose’, London Councils has warned.

In its response to the government’s consultation on the Local Government Transparency Code, London Councils also raised concerns about the need for local authorities to publish information justifying why a service is being kept in-house.

It warned this proposal ‘crossed a line’ between access to factual information and value judgments about the desirability of policies.

Mayor Jules Pipe, chair of London Councils, said: ‘London boroughs have suffered huge cuts in their funding over recent years despite taking on many new responsibilities that have either been underfunded or not funded at all.

‘Asking them to publish vast quantities of data – with no apparent purpose other than for the convenience of the government – would add yet further burdens.

‘Data must be published for a specific reason, with good reason and evidence for doing so – not simply for its own sake.’

The Local Government Association also said forcing councils to publish more information around land, procurement, contracts and parking, would ‘add little or no value.’

Writing for The MJ, North Hertfordshire DC’s director of finance and policy, also cautioned against the proposals.

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