Counting the Pennies

TI-UK’s new publication Counting the Pennies: Increasing transparency in the UK’s public finances

The UK’s transparency over public spending is “ticking the right boxes” but failing to provide full and open scrutiny over how taxpayers’ money is being spent, according to new research from Transparency International UK. In over a third of public contracts, it is unclear to whom they have been awarded.

Whilst public finance transparency is much better in the UK than many other places globally, poor quality, inaccessible and redacted data is preventing the public, journalists and investigators from scrutinising public spending.

In one case Lancashire County Council redacted numerous payments for a multi-billion pound PFI scheme, leaving no information about the name of the contractor.

Key statistics in “Counting the pennies: increasing the transparency in the UK’s public finances” include:

  • £2.312 trillion – Total value of published transactions made by local and central government (2011-2015).
  • £14 million – Redacted transaction data reported in a single month by Hackney London Borough Council that did not identify suppliers – largest in this research.
  • 35% – Proportion of contracts awarded where it is unclear who the supplier is.
  • 81,057 – Different descriptions given to transactions making analysis of data near impossible
  • 75% – Proportion of transactions that contain company registration numbers.

  Funded with support from the European Commission.


Counting the Pennies

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