Sign up to help REALLY scrutinise EDDC (or any other council’s) spending last financial year

“Today Bureau Local launches an exciting pilot project for a new kind of collaboration – and we need your help!

During a set period each year the public has the right to inspect the accounts and related documents of every local authority in the UK. The power is supposed to make local government, and other public bodies, more accountable. In reality, most people are unaware of their rights and fewer still are making use of them.

This is where you come in!

We are looking for people to take part in a trial crowdsourced local democracy project, where network members sign up to make use of this law to scrutinise the finances of their local authority throughout June (in England, times vary in other parts of the UK).

We hope you will help us find more information about the property consultants advising local councils on their investments. But you will also be able to use the guide we have created to look at and get copies of other documents that interest you too.

We hope the information we obtain will lead to local and national stories. But we also plan to submit our findings to the government, as we have done previously during our ongoing investigation into council finances, and to take what we learn from this pilot and hopefully turn it into a yearly event.

Read our guide to this project

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RhOWI7FT82xC9Cdgi4an1KZ5rfT78S93NVy69FqVPBQ/mobilebasic

and the law it is based on. Then you can sign up using this spreadsheet:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Xbbq3rgu1MfF11ckbVa37pJdFN43V5hCbx6EV_8YnIs/htmlview

Once you have done that let our reporter

garethdavies@tbij.com

know and he will add you to the newly created channel on our Slack.

Also, if you would like to take part in this project or would like to know more, we will be holding an open newsroom in the #newsroom channel of our Slack between 1pm and 2pm on Thursday 6 June.”

https://mailchi.mp/tbij/our-latest-story-is-out-we-announce-a-local-democracy-project-and-a-new-open-newsroom-series-last-chance-to-be-our-new-community-organiser?

One thought on “Sign up to help REALLY scrutinise EDDC (or any other council’s) spending last financial year

  1. I actually did this a few years ago and I do recommend that people join in.

    For 96% of the year, you can only try to get hold of information from your local council(s) using Freedom of Information requests and quite often such requests are denied on the grounds of e.g. commercial confidentiality.

    This financial review period is LITERALLY (and I mean “literally” literally) the one time in the year when you can get hold of information that you could otherwise not get hold of. So you should take advantage of this whilst you can.

    (To give you some idea of what is possible, I received by email a dump of the general ledger for the year – I imported it into Excel and used that to give me some idea of where the most money was spent. I was then able to look at the contracts for those items, and discover that e.g. one of their BIG contracts had lapsed and needed renewing, and that there had been a double payment. Nothing earth shattering on that occasion, but there could have been.

    This year there are likely to be General Ledger entries for e.g. the sale of the Knowle, and therefore it should be possible to review the contract for sale etc.

    So if you have a hot topic that you would like to probe, now is your chance!!

    Like

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