Publication on council spending on payments to suppliers on items over £500 has been a great breakthrough for accountability and transparency in our Town Halls. A growing number of councils are using Spikes Cavell's Spotlight on Spend facility to make it intelligible.
But most spending is not on procurement it is on salaries. So if, for instance, you want to check how much the council is spending on lawyers it is necessary to know not only the spending on firms of solicitors and barristers but the total including the cost of its own staff lawyers.
So in Hammersmith and Fulham we now publish our "net spend by cost centre." This shows the quarterly spending for each section of the council. I think we need to do more work to make clear what all the terms mean, what each bit of the council does. But today's publication is important progress in ensuring we are the most transparent council in the country.
Publishing spending by cost centre is also something that the Mayor of London has done for his City Hall spending – although the data only covers last year.