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Earlier in the year, Mark Wallace trumpeted the decision by Windsor and Maidenhead Council to publish online all expenditure over £500 – the first local council in the land to do so.

Today I learn that their example has now been followed by Mid Sussex District Council, which has also just started publishing on its website all payments made to external bodies and suppliers whose value is more than £500.

Councillor Jonathan Ash-Edwards, Cabinet Member for Finance and Service Delivery explained the move thus:

“The latest Audit Commission report highlights that Mid Sussex District Council has a record of sound financial management and is delivering value for money, but we wanted to go further and allow residents to see, line by line, exactly how public money is being used”.

“We are always looking for new and innovative ways to inform people about the Council’s work. By effectively putting the Council’s chequebook online, MSDC is at the forefront of delivering a new level of transparency and accountability in local government finances. Such a move is part of our commitment to deliver ‘more for less’ and be as open as possible about the financial challenges ahead.”

Congratulations to Mid Sussex – more councils will doubtless follow; indeed, as taxpayers demand more transparency from politicians over how our money is spent, this will surely become standard practice. Do let us know if your local council is following suit.

Jonathan Isaby

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