Now Croydon Council is flouting new government laws on “openness” and “transparency” by deliberately withholding vital information over nearly £4 million of spending last month on just two items by the planning department.
Big Eric Pickles is the local government minister in the ConDem government who is responsible for the introduction of the Accounts and Audit (England) Regulations 2011, which now requires all local councils to publish monthly full sets of accounts of all their spending for amounts more than £500.
Speaking only last week, Pickles said: “An open government is vital for good democracy and that’s why councils have to open their ledgers to the public – everyone has a right to know how their taxes are spent.”
That’s interesting: “Everyone has a right to know how their taxes are spent.”
Unless you live in Croydon, it seems.
In yet another example of Croydon Council misinforming local Council Tax-payers, when its March invoices were published online yesterday, the names of the supplier (or suppliers) of the two biggest amounts of council expenditure in the past month were deliberately withheld.
Click here to access the spreadsheet (as is usual with Croydon Council, it publishes the material online but uses its labyrinthine website to hide the information away, making it virtually impossible to find such material easily, openly or transparently).
The amounts in question were both spent by the planning, regeneration and conservation department.
One is for £2,034,631.
The other is for £1,781,220.
Both invoices are listed as “ad hoc”, suggesting that these are not regular payments, but one-offs.
Yet the information, provided to the public under Big Eric’s new law is rendered useless because someone at Croydon Council has “redacted”, withheld, who the supplier or suppliers might be.
Now what have they got to hide?