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What can be done about a parish council's continuing failure to publish information?

0 votes

Hi

If a parish council, having a gross annual income or expenditure (whichever is higher) not exceeding £25,000, continually fails to publish information in accordance with the requirements of the Smaller Authorities (Transparency Requirements) (England) Regulations 2015, what can be done to remedy this situation?

Any advice would be most appreciated.

Thank you.

Sam

asked by (2.8k points)

3 Answers

+1 vote
Embarrass them via your local newspapers and online via social media. You can also apply for a Freedom of Information Request to gather this information.
answered by (5k points)
Hi, ChloeWrIght many thanks for your response. The FOIA is just as irrelevant to them since they also recently demonstrated their utter contempt for the Commissioner within an investigation.  Yes, it would appear that exposing them online is the only way forward.
Obviously can't comment on what your local media outlets but certainly would not be deemed sufficiently interesting to be covered locally here.  Equally In terms of social media suspect many problem Councils (certainly a few local here) are that inept very little would actually embarrass them.  They stumble from one debacle after the next frequently breaking every basic principle and rule along the way.
+1 vote
It's question that continues to swirl locally as part of wider concerns about lack of regulatory oversight of this tier of local government more generally.   The only option seems to be to join these failing entities (crucially with sufficient numbers following you through door who share views) to force change.  From what I have seen little to no support from higher tier authorities whose focus is simply elsewhere.
answered by (1.2k points)
Thank you Progress. That is just it - the parish council do not see themselves as tier of local government that are answerable to the electorate.  It must be heartbreaking for those members who want to give something back to the parish but are utterly sterile because of the posse of autocrats sat with them.
Yet there are moves afoot to devolve more powers down to Parish level even though it is patiently clear that a lot ( but not all as some are very good ) are disfunctional
More power without proper and enforceable democratic accountability? That would be rebarbative .
Someone with refreshingly honest assessment simply said they have been left with little choice but to devolve functions & responsibilities to a tier of local government not currently subject to any restraints in terms of precept request size.  They admit they are more than aware of the deficiencies but seem reluctant to do anything about them...
+1 vote
Report it to the principal authoriity monitoring officer, external auditor and information commissioner's office (ico). The ico has the actual power to force compliance, but the other two should try to persuade the PC to comply too.
answered by (14.7k points)
edited by
Hi Graeme_r, many thanks again for your professional advice.
On the point of reporting the matter to the ICO, could you please possibly confirm where the guidance/law states the ICO can investigate such matters regarding the Transparency Code? This would be deeply appreciated.
Hello Samuel. All Local Authorities have to provide a publication scheme.  The scheme is meant to specify what information the Council publishes and how to gain access to it.  The scheme includes "What we spend and how we spend it  - . Financial information relating to projected and actual income and expenditure, tendering, procurement and contracts"  It is unlawful to fail to make information available from the sources shown on the publication scheme. Where that happens, the ICO can be asked to intervene.   Have a look at your Councils scheme, see what it says for ""What we spend and how we spend it"  and let us know!   And we can go from there.
That's great and I will make the necessary checks. Many thanks for this insight Graeme_r!

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