Part 2: Are they so different?

Last year, we as a team reminded the Council time and again about their failure to publish the Procurement card transactions data. Eventually after much huffing and puffing, the Council published all the data for the last nine financial years. 

The timing of the publication for this data is set out in the Transparency Code 2015 at Paragraph 27; which states:

27.The data and information referred to in this Part (2.1) must be:

  • first published within a period of three months from the date on which the local authority last published that data under the Local Government Transparency Code 2014 and not later than one month after the quarter to which the data and information is applicable.
  • published quarterly thereafter and on each occasion not later than one month after the quarter to which the data and information is applicable.

Put into simple English this means data for the first quarter – Apr, May, June, should have been published no later than the end of July. 

We are in the 2023/24 financial year, and the first quarter ended all but two months ago. So the council should have published the procurement card data for Apr, May & June, 2023/24, but haven’t published the data within the timeframe set out in the Transparency Code 2015 – quelle surprise. 

This is not the first time the Council have ignored the code, nor will it be the last we suspect, but given we have a new administration which has informed us that it’s different, we find that hard to believe, as the same issues which occurred under the Tory led administration, are happening under this Green led administration. 

Now who exactly is responsible for the data and its publication is not clear, but we suspect  Cllr Gary Fuller (Lib Dem) may be in part responsible as his is Cabinet Member for Resident engagement and accountability; which includes: Information technology, Resident Service, elections and electoral registration, audit (internal and external), anti-fraud and corruption, information access and security and RIPA.

As the data is financial data, it could also be the responsibility of his fellow Lib Dem Councillor Tim Prater, who is the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Governance and responsible for: Strategic budget, financial management, corporate debt, treasury management, revenues and benefits, business rates, business rates relief, business rates collection, corporate policy, write-off’s, contract management, HR and OD, corporate governance, legal and risk management.

But regardless of who is responsible for the data, it has not been published the first quarter of the 2023/24 financial year. This data should be released in a timely manner and not need anyone to chase it.

This recently elected administration believe’s it’s different from the last one, but given the fact the data which must be published within the timeframe as set out in the Transparency Code 2015 isn’t occurring, we can only conclude from the publicly available evidence they are no different to the old administration. Let’s hope that changes.

The Shepway Vox Team

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4 Comments on Part 2: Are they so different?

  1. From your blog piece one can only conclude that the problem is endemic. The problem is we cannot separate the two common factors that might have created this. Those being that the cabinet officers responsible are people who were in position during the last administration, and the same can be said for the council officers. Time for a clear out. HR should be held to accountable.

  2. While the new councilors have a duty to oversee what the council are doing it is surely the council employees who have a duty to meet these deadlines. The heads of departments are well paid with good pensions but do not seem to be accountable for their own failings or that of their staff.

  3. Yet again it’s Susan Priest who is failing to do her job . This woman obviously thinks she is untouchable and will do what she wants when she wants and will be answerable to no one .
    These new Cllrs have been in office long enough now so why haven’t they got rid of her and get someone who can actually do the job they are paid to do ?

  4. Actions speak louder than words to the newly elected Councillors should start living up to the promises on which they were elected. Equally, and just as important they should have the courage to make changes in the Council’s senior management team starting with Dr Susan Priest.

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