The Government’s desire to place more power into citizens’ hands to increase democratic accountability and make it easier for local people to contribute to the local decision making process and help shape public services. Transparency is the foundation of local accountability and the key that gives people, you the residents of Shepway, the tools and information you need to enable you to play a bigger role in your local community and District.
The Government believes that in principle all data held and managed by local authorities should be made available to local people unless there are specific sensitivities (eg. protecting vulnerable people or commercial and operational considerations) to doing so. It encourages local authorities to see data as a valuable resource not only to themselves, but also their partners and local people.
There are growing expectations that new technologies and publication of data should support transparency and accountability. It is vital that public bodies, such as SDC et al, recognise the value to the residents of Shepway the data they hold, understand what they hold, what our communities want and then release it in a way that allows you the public, developers and the media to use it.
Provision of public data should become integral to local authority engagement with local people so that it drives accountability to them. Its availability should be promoted and publicised so that residents know how to access it and how it can be used. Presentation should be helpful and accessible to local people and other interested persons
Fraud can thrive where decisions are not open to scrutiny and details of spending, contracts and service provision are hidden from view. Greater transparency, and the provisions, can help combat fraud. Local authorities should also use a risk management approach with strong internal control arrangements to reduce the risk of any payment fraud as a result of publishing public data.
Tackling fraud is an integral part of ensuring that your tax-payers money is used to protect resources for frontline services. The cost of fraud to local government is estimated at £2.1 billion a year [2012/13/14.] This is money that can be better used to support the delivery of front line services and make savings for you the local tax payers.
So lets do the maths, there are approximately 342 Local Authorities in the UK.
2100000000 divided by 342 = 6,140,351 million This gives an average figure across all
authorities of the fraud which occurs.
SDC’s budget is approximately 19 million, so 6,140,351 divided by 19 million times 100 = 32% of their budget could possibly be disappearing by fraudulent means.
Shepway Vox is not for one minute implying SDC or any other local authority has been, or is currently involved in any fraudulent behaviour whatsoever, unless it has been proven in a court of law.
All I have done is to average this out across all Local Authorities to demonstrate why transparency and accountability are necessary. Thirty two percent [32%] of anyone’s budget or put in another way. a little over six million [6,000,000] is money no-one can afford to lose in these austere times.
I wish to make it crystal clear that Housing Benefit Fraud is reported in our local newspapers, as is wrongdoing by council employees.
“Corruption, embezzlement, fraud, these are all characteristics which exist everywhere. It is regrettably the way human nature functions, whether we like it or not. What successful economies do is keep it to a minimum. No one has ever eliminated any of that stuff.”
As it has never been eliminated it can and does happen like a Martini moment
Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere see Anomalies in SDC Accounts Part 2 where Cllr Tillson can be in two places at once, and not just once.
“On the 11/6/14 Cllr Tillson appears to be in Cllr Simmons car plus in a private taxi. Now being in two places at once is as far as I am aware highly improbable, darned impossible, so how can this anomaly be explained? One person was paid for having a passenger when it appears the passenger was elsewhere? Is it another anomaly, will any transparency and accountability be adhered to by the District Auditor Grant Thornton or the Council Audit and Governance Committee? I do not know, that is for others to decide not Shepway Vox,