24 August 2010

Leading government officials have been in the county this week to learn about how Northamptonshire County Council became one of the most transparent councils in the country and find out how such work could be rolled out nationally.

Earlier this year the council become one of the first councils to begin the process of publishing all expenditure over £500 on its website to add to its previous work in publishing all exact salaries of its senior managers.

The coalition government has said it wants all councils and government departments to follow suit and carry out such work and this week senior civil servants were in the county to learn about how this was done and what lessons could be learned to roll the scheme out nationally.

Cabinet member for strategy, communications and external relations Cllr David Mackintosh said: “We are very proud of the huge progress we have already made in helping fulfil the government’s ambition to make local authorities and government organisations far more transparent and open to scrutiny.

“Here in Northamptonshire we didn’t wait for the election of a new government to start this work. Nor did we wait to be instructed to publish details of such expenditure. We believe it is people’s right to see exactly how we spend their money and so we embarked on this work early and are now pleased the government is looking to learn from our experience.”

Civil servants from the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Cabinet Office were part of the delegation from Westminster to meet those responsible for implementing the work in Northamptonshire.

As well as speaking with Cllr Mackintosh and the chief executive Dr Paul Blantern, the delegation met with finance staff responsible for publishing all spend, web staff to see how the special section of the website was built and communications staff around how the new information provided was communicated.