Hackney Council’s bank books just a mouse click away

HACKNEY Council has opened its bank books to the public, giving residents the chance to view every penny spent with just the click of a mouse.

On Monday the council laid bare all payments of �500 or more on its website, dating between September and November last year.

The move is part of a Government drive for greater transparency within councils, with Hackney posting the accounts just two weeks before the deadline on January 31.

But if residents were looking for details of duck houses and moat cleaners reminiscent of last year’s MP expenses scandal, they’ll be sorely disappointed. The list simply gives a broad description of the organisation and service paid for.

Each month the council appears to fork out hundreds of thousands on Randstad Managed Services which offer agency staff.

As the Gazette exclusively revealed in November, Hackney Council splashed out �38million on agency staff in one year, including paying �798 a day for a person to teach them about securing “value for money”.

The accounts also reveal hundreds of thousands of pounds spent on social care services, construction and maintenance works and emergency housing.

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Mayor Jules Pipe said: “As the only council to have ever achieved five years of consecutive council tax freezes, alongside making the highest efficiency savings in London, and investing in continuous service improvement, Hackney has built a foundation of efficiency and high quality services.”

The move to publish spending online follows an announcement by Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, who said in June: “Local people should be able to hold politicians and public bodies to account over how their hard earned cash is being spent and decisions made on their behalf. They can only do that effectively if they have the information they need at their fingertips.”

To see the accounts head to: www.hackney.gov.uk/budget-supplier-payments