Monitoring of spending by NALC on the implementation of the Transparency Code

Philip Spencer made this Freedom of Information request to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Department for Communities and Local Government,

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has been given £4.7m public funding to spend on enabling parish councils to become compliant with the requirements of the Transparency Code for Smaller Authorities. According to the NALC website:
"You (i.e. a Parish Council receiving this funding) may be contacted by DCLG as part of the DCLG mandated monitoring to review how the grant has been spent and if it has resulted in the authority becoming compliant with the Transparency Code."

For the period between 1st January 2016 and 30th September 2016 -
Can you please tell me:
1. How many parish councils DCLG has contacted to see if the grant received has resulted in the parish council becoming compliant with the Transparency Code?
2. What percentage of the number contacted was found to be fully compliant with all aspects of the Transparency Code?

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,
Philip Spencer

Despatch Box,

                            
Our reference: 2820953             Information request

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Department for Communities and Local Government
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Despatch Box,

                            
Our reference: 2820953             Information request

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Dear Mr Spencer
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
Thank you for contacting us on 24 October 2016 requesting For the period
between 1st January 2016 and 30th September 2016 -

Can you please tell me:

1. How many parish councils DCLG has contacted to see if the grant
received has resulted in the parish council becoming compliant with the
Transparency Code?

2. What percentage of the number contacted was found to be fully compliant
with all aspects of the Transparency Code?
 
I am dealing with your request under the Freedom of Information Act
2000 and aim to send you a response by 21 November 2016.
 
If you have any questions, please ask by return email. Please leave the
subject line unchanged when replying, to make sure your email gets
straight to me.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Andrew Lock
FoI Business partner - Localism
020333 42137
[email address]
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Dear Despatch Box, DCLG,

You are overdue in replying to my FOI request.

Can you please reply without further delay?

Yours sincerely,

Philip Spencer

Despatch Box,

 

Dear Mr Spencer

Thank you for your email.

 Please accept our apologies, we are endeavouring to reply to your
information request as soon as we can. I appreciate that you have been
very patient in waiting for a reply. The Department’s response times are
published and we do not like such cases taking so long either.

In this particular case, we have to consult various colleagues before
responding.

We do not normally carry out formal internal reviews for time complaints.
If you are dissatisfied you are always entitled to approach the
Information Commissioner.

thank you
Andrew Lock 

Dear Despatch Box,

You were required to give the information requested by 21 November 2016. More than three weeks have passed since that day. Please fulfil your obligations without further delay.

Yours sincerely,

Philip Spencer

Despatch Box,

2 Attachments

                            
Our reference: 2820953             Information request

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Dear Mr Spencer
 
Thank you for your request for information received on 24 October 2016.
 
I have attached our formal response to your request, and the information
you asked for.
 
Knowledge and Information Access Team
Department for Communities and Local Government
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Philip Spencer left an annotation ()

On further checking the information given to me by DCLG appears to be inaccurate:

1. DCLG refers to a document giving guidance to individuals who deem that councils are not meeting their legal requirements ('Council accounts: a guide to your rights'). This has nothing to do with enforcing the obligations of smaller local authorities to meet the requirements of the Transparency Code. (I also note that the link to this document is faulty. Search for: NAO Council accounts: a guide to your rights

2. DCLG gives the result of a survey of 10 councils in receipt of grant funding and says that 9 were compliant with the Code. I checked the 9 websites in question on 21 December 2016 and found that only one council was fully compliant, that is the council published the 7 items of information listed in paragraph 10 of the Transparency Code plus the minutes of meetings within one month of their taking place.