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16 August 2012 | Adam Leach
Currently, all government departments and local authorities are required to publish details of all transactions worth £500 or more in the public domain. But the DCLG has taken the decision to cut the threshold in half. It hopes that the increased scrutiny will lead to greater savings.
Eric Pickles, local government secretary, said in a statement: “I firmly believe the more open we about spending, the more we can root out waste, avoid duplication and increase value for money for taxpayers. Every member of the public has a right to know, and a right to challenge, how every penny of their hard earned cash is being spent by government.”
Published DCLG spend data for May, which includes transactions above £250, contains 3431 separate transactions. Of those, just 125 are between £250-£500. Transactions include £347.16 to the Government Car & Despatch Agency for the use of ministerial cars, £313.60 to Digirati for web support and three separate payments of £275 to training provider Government Exchange-CPS Framework for an influencing and negotiation skills course.
Arms-length bodies linked to the department will be asked to publish spend over £250 by the end of the month. Pickles encouraged any “armchair auditors” to scrutinise the department’s data to see at a glance exactly where taxpayers money is being spent.