Colchester City Council publishes bogus information in response to the Government requirement for transparency (sample below)

Central Government requires Local Councils to publish information about their operations so that Councillors and taxpayers know what is being done with their money. This is known as "The Transparency Code".

One of the most important requirements of the Transparency Code is the publication of each item of the Council’s expenditure over £500. This provides Councillors with the data to hold to account the spending decisions made by the Council, and more importantly it provides taxpayers across the City with the same capability.

But when Conservative Councillors recently carried out an audit of files published by the Council on items of expenditure over £500 they were found to be populated with bogus data on which we can place no reliance whatsoever, see sample above.

Paul Dundas, Leader of the Conservative Group on the City Council said  ”Some of the data was completely wrong and grossly misleading,  For instance it showed values of £5m for grants to voluntary organisations which were in fact expenditure of only a few tens or hundreds of pounds.

We do not know who in recent times has accessed the statutory publication of the Council’s expenditure over £500, or for what purpose. Researchers from Government, universities, the national and local press may be blissfully unaware that the Council data on which they were relying was neither correct nor trustworthy."

The Conservative Group has demanded immediate remedial action, correction of the data, and the issue of a public statement from the Council explaining to the residents of the city why they cannot rely on statutory information published by the City Council.