The Daily Telegraph has an amusing report this morning on some of the pleading spent in by Council bureucrats against publishing detils on on spending and senior staff salaries. One claim is that there would be no interest in such information – another that it would cause them to be flooded with "vexatious" queries.
Among the more imaginative objections was one from Nottingham City Council that "Staff safety could be put at risk if the public knew how much they were paid." Also a claim from Leeds City Council that "releasing information could breach intellectual property rights."
Then there was an Oldham Council with a touching concerns that they might be held less accountable to large spending items if the smaller ones were made public.
It said in a submission:
“The spending limit of £500 risks unnecessary scrutiny on irrelevant areas, which leads to inappropriate, vexatious and at times trivial requests for information which takes the focus off the big issues and priorities.”
While disclosing staff pay “could lead to harassment and questions of a perceived worth of an individual as opposed to a specific post”.
Others made the point that their residents were too stupid to make use of the data. Essex County Council said their Council Taxpayers would struggle to assess value for money and suffer “misunderstandings”. Actually to the great credit of Essex they have joined Spikes Cavell's Spotlight on Spend so you can see their spending in a highly intelliigible form.