Hannington Parish Council, Hampshire
The Transparency Code for Smaller Authorities (reproduced as Appendix B in the report below) was issued by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on recommended practice as to the publication of information by local authorities about the discharge of their functions and other matters which he considers to be related. The SoS stated that this 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.
The Code applies to a small range of public bodies including Parish Councils with an annual turnover not exceeding £25,000; defined as ‘smaller authorities’. This includes Hannington Parish Council
At the same time as issuing this Code, the DCLG also issued guidance on internal audit requirments, giving 'smaller authorities' the option to opt out of internal audit but in doing so would have to adopt the Transparency Code. This Code was therefore introduced 'in place of routine audit'. Hannington Parish Council initially decided it would take up the option of opting out of 'internal audit'. But on further investigation of what was actually involved, the Council subsequently decide to reverse that earlier decision and retain internal audit... but to also proceed with adopting the thrust of the Transparency Code in supporting 'open government' and publishing a wide range of documents.
The Government considered that publication of the items required in the Transparency Code will provide the local electorate and ratepayers with a clear picture of the activities of these smaller authorities. Most of this information was already produced by the majority of smaller authorities and the Government therefore considered that compliance with the Transparency Code would not place a significant burden on these authorities.
Part 2 of the Transparency Code details what information should be published. Part 2.1 details the information that must be published annually, and Part 2.2 details the information that must be published more frequently than annually. This includes the publication of Minutes, Agendas and Papers of formal meetings.
Hannington Parish Council has complied with the above by circulating the documents via the Hannington email network. It has relied on the Clerk using their own IT equipment and software. Future compliance with the Transparency Code has been effected by the implementation of its own website "Hannington Parish Council, Hampshire". The Parish Council had decided that it can no longer expect to rely on the Clerk's own IT equipment etc., but should provide the equipment as the employer. The Council has successfully submitted grant applications to the Transparency Fund to support the successful development and implementation of the new website, and the purchase of IT equipment for use by the Parish Clerk.
Clerk, March 2017