Thursday 15 October 2009

An open and honest administration

Conservative Home website reports that Tory run Windsor and Maidenhead is the most open council in Britain about its spending. It also has the lowest Council Tax of any unitary authority outside London. Its leader David Burbage (pictured right) believes this is not just coincidence. He writes:-

"Local authority spending has never been more transparent than at Windsor and Maidenhead, and now my pioneering Council has gone one step further by identifying payments made by our service departments who are spending taxpayers' money.

I welcome the commitment by Caroline Spelman at Manchester to make all local authorities publish their expenditure; Windsor and Maidenhead led with the £500 threshold - and we continue to improve the offering for local taxpayers to see where their money is going, by publishing with additional clarity our outgoing costs.

Together with the lowest Band D Council Tax outside of London of English unitary authorities, we want to provide the best services at the lowest possible price - and show that transparency breeds both efficiency and an improved confidence in democracy.

The Council also publishes every expense claim made by every councillor.

Our latest data release puts more information out than ever before, and we think that everyone should be doing this.

Trust in politicians and political institutions is at an all time low and I believe greater openness will go a long way to restoring that trust. Transparency breeds confidence in our democracy.

This is ground-breaking openness but we should not be unique, all public services should be doing this – it’s taxpayers’ money, after all, not ours."

When the Conservatives won control of Barnet in 2002, then leader Victor Lyon promised “an open and honest Administration”. We are still waiting.

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