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January 2011


Details at the Click of a button

Residents can now access key information on Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council by going online.

People will be able to see details of individual payments of more than £500 made to council suppliers by logging on to the council's website www.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk.

The details were made available for the first time last month and the council says that information on payments to suppliers will be updated every month.                  

Information is also being given on the salaries, roles and responsibilities of the senior management team at the council.

Residents can see which executive directors oversee a range of council services.

And there is also information on the roles, responsibilities and remuneration of all the heads of service.

Previously, the borough council was only obliged to make details public about senior staff who received £50,000 or more – and this was done through the annual Statement of Accounts.

Greater information is being made available as the council aims to achieve more openness in its financial business in response to the Government’s call for transparency.

The government has pledged greater transparency across the public sector through publishing data to strengthen accountability to citizens. It committed to publishing certain information on salaries, spending and contracts by January 2011.

They hope it will encourage the nation’s armchair auditors to hold local authorities to greater account over how they spend public money.

Borough Council Leader Simon Tagg said: “Our residents provide the council with a significant amount of money that is then spent on providing services - it's important that residents are aware of where their money is going.

“It's vital that we are open when it comes to the payments that we make to suppliers and to the officers who work at the council.”

Cllr. Helen Morris, Cabinet member for resources and efficiency, said: “We are a publicly funded organisation and we have a duty to residents to be transparent in all that we do.”

To see the details click on to www.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk/transparency

John joins the team

John Sellgren took up his post on 4 January after being recruited from his previous job as Director of Strategy and Partnerships at Hertfordshire County Council.

Mr Sellgren said: “I am confident the council can rise to the many challenges it faces. These are difficult times for the public sector but in these difficult times one thing is abundantly clear, the public need our services more than ever.

“There is less money in the system and we will need to continue to find creative ways of delivering high quality services within the resources available.

“Staff and councillors at the borough council are committed to the local community and providing good services. I am looking forward to being part of the team at Newcastle and working with our community and partners to rise to the challenges ahead.”

Mr Sellgren has spent much of the time since his arrival at the Civic Offices working closely with Cabinet members and senior officers on the borough council’s budget.

He said: “Local government has had a reduction in the money it receives and we have to live within our means. Our challenge is to use what we have got in the most effective way to provide quality services for residents.”

Residents have their say on council spending

Residents have answered the borough council’s calls for them to make their voices heard over where public money should be spent in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Just under150 residents had their say by completing a survey in the Reporter.

We spelt out where the council’s money currently comes from and which services it is spent on.

Residents were then able to pass their views on and make comments.

Cllr. Morris said: “We have significant savings to make over the next four years and things like this allow us to tap into public thinking.

“We obviously can’t please everyone but we will look at what people have said, take other factors, such as the council’s legal duties and corporate priorities, into consideration before deciding where we go in the years ahead.

“Thank you to all those residents who gave us their views – let me assure them we are listening.”

Download a full PDF version of January 2011 Reporter (PDF 602Kb)

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  • Last Updated: 10 February 2011
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