This Code has been issued to meet the Government’s desire to place more power into citizens’ hands to increase democratic accountability and make it easier for local people to contribute to the local decision making process and help shape public services. Transparency is the foundation of local accountability and the key that gives people the tools and information they need to enable them to play a bigger role in society. The availability of data can also open new markets for local business, the voluntary and community sectors and social enterprises to run services or manage public assets.
‘Data’ means the objective, factual data, on which policy decisions are based and on which public services are assessed, or which is collected or generated in the course of public service delivery. This should be the basis for publication of information on the discharge of local authority functions.
The Government believes that in principle all data held and managed by local authorities should be made available to local people unless there are specific sensitivities (eg. protecting vulnerable people or commercial and operational considerations) to doing so. It encourages local authorities to see data as a valuable resource not only to themselves, but also their partners and local people.
Three principles have guided the development of this Code:
- Demand led – there are growing expectations that new technologies and publication of data should support transparency and accountability. It is vital that public bodies recognise the value to the public of the data they hold, understand what they hold, what their communities want and then release it in a way that allows the public, developers and the media to use it
- Open – provision of public data should become integral to local authority engagement with local people so that it drives accountability to them. Its availability should be promoted and publicised so that residents know how to access it and how it can be used. Presentation should be helpful and accessible to local people and other interested persons, and
- Timely – the timeliness of making public data available is often of vital importance. It should be made public as soon as possible following production even if it is not accompanied with detailed analysis.
Data sets to be included in this transparency exercise
Quarterly publication of:
- expenditure exceeding £500
- Government Procurement Card transactions
- procurement information
Annual publication of:
- local authority land
- grants to voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations
- organisation chart
- trade union facility time
- parking account
- parking spaces
- senior salaries
- pay multiple
- housing stock
One off publication of:
Method of Publication
Public data should be published in a format and under a licence that allows open re-use, including for commercial and research activities, in order to maximise value to the public. The Open Government Licence published by the National Archives should be used as the recommended standard. Where any copyright or data ownership concerns exist with public data these should be made clear.
Blackburn with Darwen Council has developed a publically accessible data share platform in order for citizens to access the data sets as set out in the code. These data sets will be updated in accordance with the code. You can find our dataset here http://datashare.blackburn.gov.uk.
The Code does not replace or supersede the existing legal framework for access to and re-use of public sector information provided by the:
- Freedom of Information Act 2000 (as amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012)
- Environmental Information Regulations 2004
- Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005
- Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community Regulations 2009, and
- Section 15 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 which provides a right for persons interested to inspect a local authority’s accounting records and supporting documentation, and to make copies of them, for a limited period each year.
For more information about the Local Government Transparency Code, please visit