Government is a big place, so it isn’t surprising that different departments can have conflicting agendas or not always be completely in the loop about what others are up to.
A couple of weeks ago an announcement came out of DCLG that a new wave of council openness was being hailed by Eric Pickles. A Code of Recommended Practice for council transparency is being published and “ministers are minded to make it legally binding”
“The code of practice calls on local authorities such as councils and fire and rescue services to shine a light on every part of their business, from employees’ salaries over £58,200 and details of all their contracts and tenders to details of grants to voluntary organisations, performance information and the locations of public land and building assets. It also establishes three key principles behind council transparency; timeliness, openness and mindfulness of local demand.”
I’m sure you don’t need me to point out the potential fun and games here as councils and OS discuss how open councils can be with data about their land and property holdings. No problem if you are an OS licensee under the PSMA but not so easy for the rest of us particularly the army of armchair auditors that Eric is relying upon to help highlight wastage in local government.
“Releasing this information to the public could provide a wealth of local knowledge and spark more improvements in the way services are delivered. Faster publication and easier access for the public and companies could open new possibilities for real-time analysis and response and opportunities for small businesses to enter new markets.”
Looks like we could have the mighty Mr Pickles and DCLG alongside Francis Maude and the Cabinet Office facing off the BIS and the new PDC.
This could be even more fun that Armando Ianucci’s hilarious fim.