Each month Shepway District Council (SDC) publish their payment to supplier data. Below is a graph which shows £28 million of SDC’s spend data for 2015/16. In SDC”s audited accounts for 2015/16 at page 19, SDC’s gross revenue expenditure totalled £84,984,000 million. The Transparency Code 2015 sets out very clearly what spend data must be included, as does the guidance.
Payments below the £250 threshold will have a negligible effect on the total. Typically, payments are made a month after the accounting date of the corresponding invoices. This too is unlikely to make a material difference to the general ledger expenditure cost for the accounting period, which is based principally on the general ledger date of the corresponding invoices (i.e. up to a month earlier).
The financial statements for 2015/16 show the total gross expenditure to be £85 million (including finance charges etc.). That leaves a gap of £57 million. Some is accounted for by salary and pension costs, but it is unlikely that these would exceed £10 million annually. There is therefore a difference of £47 million which is not immediately explainable.
Some of the money will be invisible because it is for example depreciation charges on fixed assets, eg plant, machinery etc, but this will be negligible in most cases.
Some of the money spent in the graph will be Capital spending and therefore the amount of revenue spend will be less than in the data. (Capital expenditure is for fixed assets, eg Land, vehicles ; which are expected to be productive assets for a long period of time. Revenue expenditures are for costs that are related to specific revenue transactions or operating periods, such as the cost of goods, eg staples, paper, or repairs and maintenance expense eg on vehicles.)
We have compared other like councils to SDC and their spend data; which is visible, is around the 66% mark of what is in their accounts in terms of gross revenue expenditure With SDC that percentage is considerably lower and stands at 33%.
It would appear that SDC is not including a material amount of their spending in their spend data to us the residents of Shepway and we wonder why this might be.
According to the Transparency Code 2015 there are a list of things which must be published, these include for example:
individual invoices, grant payments, expense payments, payments for goods and services grants, grant in aid, rent (including rebates) credit notes over £500, and transactions with other public bodies.
So, as an example, it would appear that Dr Susan Priest’s expenses 2015/16 are not visible in the data, nor are Jeremy Chambers expenses 2015/16, nor is the £320 lunch when the code says these type of expenses billed to SDC must be.
So, it would appear from the spend data published, that not all of the data which must be published is published
So where’s the money? Could SDC please kindly explain the apparent discrepancy.
If you’d like to know you can contact the s151 officer Tim Madden or his deputy Pat Main, or the head of Audit & Governance Committee, Cllr David Owen @
This article was updated on the 22/01/17 to make it clearer what the question was related to; that being data that should be published under the Local Government Transparency Code 2015. We apologise for any harm or misunderstanding we may have caused