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Council spending over £500

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government requires local authorities to publish items of spending over £500 at least quarterly.

What we will publish

  • Data from 1 April 2010 onwards
  • Data on a monthly basis as part of our normal procedures
  • Follow the link to access data in CSV format
  • Data with no restrictions on its re-use, in line with our Open Data licensing
  • The amounts published are net of VAT

What we won't publish

Some items of expenditure are excluded from the reports. These include:

  • Payments of less than £500
  • Banking investments
  • Parish precepts
  • Election staff payments
  • Salary advances
  • Refunds of Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rates
  • Members' Allowances (these are available as Open Data elsewhere)
  • Payments relating to employee remuneration. (Senior staff remuneration is published separately)
  • Benefits payments

Requests for more details on these items will be dealt with as Freedom of Information requests.

It should be noted that where a payment is to an individual and confidential, the name of the creditor is removed to protect the privacy of the person concerned.

Published data details

Our spending data will be published as CSV files containing the following columns:

  • Body - a URL to our organisational details held on
  • Body name - the name of the Council
  • Date - data of the transaction dd/mm/yyyy
  • Transaction Number - the internal record number for that individual transaction
  • Amount - how much the transaction was in £ sterling
  • Supplier - who received the money
  • Supplier ID - internal supplier code
  • Expense Area - organisational unit spending the money
  • Expense Type - what the money was spent on
  • Expense code - identifying code for Expense Type. 4 digits (possible leading zeros)
  • Extended Description - narrative for the transaction
  • Service Area Cat Desc - internal description of Council service group
  • Service Area Cat Code - 5 digit number (possibly with leading zeros)
  • Service Divis Cat Code
  • Service Divis Cart Desc - internal cost centre

Viewing the data

CSV files will open in any spreadsheet programme such as OpenOffice Calc or Microsoft Excel. There is also a free Excel viewer programme available but that will not allow you to manipulate the data. CSV files can also be viewed in a text editor but will not be as readable.

Some common problems

The dates appear as ########

You need to make the date column wide enough to show the full date. This also applies to all other columns

Leading zeroes are dropped from numbers (Expense code and Service Area Cat code)

This is the default behaviour of Excel. They can be preserved by saving the CSV file as a .txt file and using the import function in Excel. This will allow you to set the format of those columns as text and the leading zeroes will be imported.