Stoke & Staffordshire

Stoke-on-Trent City Council defends not publishing data

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles
Image caption Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles criticised "slowcoach" councils

A council has said it wants to make sure it gets procedures right before it publishes its expenditure online.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is one of more than half of the 354 councils in England yet to itemise any spending above £500 online.

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has criticised the "slowcoach councils" yet to comply with a month to go before the deadline.

A council spokesman said guidelines had only just been published.

'Spot on'

The city council is run by a Labour-led coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

Kieran Clarke, cabinet member for resources, performance and governance, said: "Nobody wants to be first in doing anything like this because quite often if it's first and it's new there are dangers.

"Secondly you want to make sure you get it right and it wasn't a thing we were rushing to get right, we wanted to get it spot on."

Councils will not be legally forced to publish the information.

Mr Pickles called on councils six months ago to start publishing spending online from September.

He said he applauded the 144 councils who had complied so far, but criticised the others yet to do so.

They only have a month to go before serious questions will be asked about what they have got to hide, he added.

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