Mayor of London Boris Johnson has done it. Windsor and Maidenhead has done it. Northamptonshire has done it. I am proud to report that Hammersmith and Fulham Council has today embraced spending transparency. There is still some way to go in getting the data fully intelligible and including the cost code for our internal budgeting. But payments to suppliers over £500 are now published.
Already the awkward questions have started coming in. Why are we spending money on this? Why are we spending money on that. The Evening Standard asks why payments from my Council are being made to private schools. I had no idea they were. Perhaps they are value for money and should continue. Perhaps they are not and should stop. The point is these questions are being asked. The Council is operating in a new era of accountability.
As President Kennedy said:
We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
Publishing a rather long list of invoice totals might not seem quite as exciting as exploring space but I think the same sentiment applies.