The Local Government Transparency Code 2015 (the code) came into effect on 1 April 2015. The code is issued by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in exercise of the powers under section 2 of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980, and replaces any previous codes issued in relation to authorities in England under those powers.
The Code does not replace or supersede the existing framework for access to and re-use of public sector information provided by the:
- Freedom of Information Act 2000 (as amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012).
- Environmental Information Regulations 2004
- Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005
- Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community regulations 2009
- Sections 25 and 26 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 which provides rights for persons to inspect a local authority’s accounting records and supporting documentation, and to make copies of them.
The code requires local authorities to publish the following information quarterly:
Payments over £500
The code requires that local authorities must publish details of each individual item of expenditure that exceeds £500.
For each individual item of expenditure the following information must be published:
Date the expenditure was incurred
Local authority department which incurred the expenditure
- Summary of the purpose of the expenditure
- Value Added Tax (VAT) that cannot be recovered
Local authorities are already required to make their constitution documents available for inspection at their offices under section 9P of the Local Government Act 2000. Local authorities must also, under the code, publish their constitution on their website.
The code requires that local authorities must publish the following information about their counter fraud work:
- Number of occasions they use powers under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud (Power to Require Information) (England) Regulations 2014, or similar powers
- Total number (absolute and full time equivalent) of employees undertaking investigations and prosecutions of fraud
- Total number (absolute and full time equivalent) of professionally accredited counter fraud specialists
- Total amount spent by the authority on the investigation and prosecution of fraud
- Total number of fraud cases investigated
Southwater Parish Council has no staff members undertaking fraud investigation work and therefore has no information to publish.
Freedom of Information
Additionally, local authorities are required to publish the following information annually:-
Trade union facility time
The code requires that local authorities must publish the following information on trade union facility time:
- Total number (absolute number and full time equivalent) of staff who are union representatives
- Total number (absolute number and full time equivalent) of union representatives who devote at least 50 per cent of their time to union duties
- Names of all trade union represented in the local authority
- A basic estimate of spending on unions
- A basic estimate of spending on unions as a percentage of the total pay bill
Southwater Parish Council has no staff members who are union representatives and therefore has no information to publish.