A step forward for HR transparency

June 17, 2011 4:53 PM

The Cabinet Office has today published online the names, job titles and salaries of all civil service directors and more senior civil servants in departments and agencies. The TaxPayers’ Alliance first advocated HR transparency in our response to the ‘Code of recommended practice for local authorities on data transparency’. Starting at the top is a very welcome first step. However, there has to be progression towards full HR transparency. As we've outlined before, this needn't include salary details for junior staff, but taxpayers are entitled to know what jobs their money is paying for.

The publication of all payments to suppliers over £500 was a welcome step forwards but this data excludes the greatest cost in local government and other public services: staff. So knowing exactly what job everyone at the council is doing is crucial for accountability and financial probity. Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea councils have already published full structure charts of how many people they employ and what they do. Full HR transparency should be extended to every council - and public body - in the UK.

There are other benefits. Our ‘Non-Job of the week’ blog highlights the bureaucratic public sector jobs that continue to be advertised. If all public bodies published a list of jobs and job titles, then taxpayers would be far more aware of the work their council does and can assess their priorities. Another bonus could be that Councils stop using the jargon that bewilders and confuses those who read the job adverts.

Taxpayers are aware of the necessary spending decisions that councils have to make. However, with greater transparency, the full extent of non-jobs, excessively high salaries, and profligate waste can lead to greater accountability and make this job a lot easier. Full HR transparency would be a triumph for localism too, as it would allow ordinary taxpayers to debate and engage with the priorities for their area.The Cabinet Office has today published online the names, job titles and salaries of all civil service directors and more senior civil servants in departments and agencies. The TaxPayers’ Alliance first advocated HR transparency in our response to the ‘Code of recommended practice for local authorities on data transparency’. Starting at the top is a very welcome first step. However, there has to be progression towards full HR transparency. As we've outlined before, this needn't include salary details for junior staff, but taxpayers are entitled to know what jobs their money is paying for.

The publication of all payments to suppliers over £500 was a welcome step forwards but this data excludes the greatest cost in local government and other public services: staff. So knowing exactly what job everyone at the council is doing is crucial for accountability and financial probity. Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea councils have already published full structure charts of how many people they employ and what they do. Full HR transparency should be extended to every council - and public body - in the UK.

There are other benefits. Our ‘Non-Job of the week’ blog highlights the bureaucratic public sector jobs that continue to be advertised. If all public bodies published a list of jobs and job titles, then taxpayers would be far more aware of the work their council does and can assess their priorities. Another bonus could be that Councils stop using the jargon that bewilders and confuses those who read the job adverts.

Taxpayers are aware of the necessary spending decisions that councils have to make. However, with greater transparency, the full extent of non-jobs, excessively high salaries, and profligate waste can lead to greater accountability and make this job a lot easier. Full HR transparency would be a triumph for localism too, as it would allow ordinary taxpayers to debate and engage with the priorities for their area.

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