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KCC starts 'transparency revolution'

KCC logo
KCC logo

by political editor Paul Francis

Kent County Council has taken the first steps today towards what
it says will be a transparency revolution with the publication of
hundreds of invoices and details of the pay and perks of its top

The publication of the data online is the beginning of what will
be a major drive to open the books of the authority to allow
residents to see how their money is spent.

See the data at http://www.kent.gov.uk/

The move coincides with fresh revelations published by the KM Group
today about spending on KCC corporate credit cards.

The details have been published on the authority's website and
include 900 invoices from the highways department.

In the coming weeks, it is planned that monthly statements
detailing all items of expenditure over £500 for all directorates
will go online.

Roger Gough
Roger Gough

The county council has also taken steps to publish for the first
time considerably more detail about the earnings of staff and has
set out the salaries, expenses and hospitality of its corporate
management team headed by managing director Katherine Kerswell.

Council leader Paul Carter said: "It is enormously important
that residents of the county who pay substantial taxes know where
their money goes. We have no problems with that at all."

Cllr Roger Gough, the Cabinet Member for Corporate Services said: "We believe it is important to make it even easier for the public to see information about council spending.

"Today, we have published on our website, the salaries,
expenses, hospitality received and declined, declarations of
interest and job descriptions of our most senior managers."

The data revolution is in part a response to government
requirements to councils to publish much more about how they spend

The data published today shows that from April to July this year
£5,609 was claimed for hospitality, accommodation, relocation
expenses, taxis and travel costs by the nine-strong corporate

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Communities managing director Amanda Honey received the highest
amount on hospitality costs at £412.90

Childrens services director Rosalind Turner claimed £1,300 in

relocation allowances.

KCC's data also shows that for the last financial year, senior
officers between them claimed nearly £19,000 in hospitality and
other expenses.

Also published for the first time is hospitality accepted and
declined by senior officers.

These show that new managing director Katherine Kerswell
declined an invitation to lunch by accountancy firm KPMG but
accepted a gift of a book entitled "A Woman's Place is in the
Boardroom" from Praesta, a company that specialises in executive

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