Rolling blog: Findings from DCLG's 09-10 spending release

August 12, 2010 12:06 PM

Today the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) published their departmental spend with suppliers for the 2009-10 financial year. It contains every transaction over £500, and is a huge step forward for transparency. It's something that we hope to see every department do, as taxpayers now have the opportunity to see what their money is spent on. DCLG have demonstrated that providing this level of transparency isn't too difficult a task for departments to handle - an excel spreadsheet with all of the data is available here.

Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

“It is extremely exciting to see the Department for Communities and Local Government leading the way on spending transparency. Taxpayers have a right to know how their money is spent and transparency can improve results. It both exposes corruption and enables greater scrutiny and broader involvement in decision making. Hopefully, over the coming months, other departments will follow the DCLG’s superb example.”

Throughout the day we will be operating a rolling blog as we uncover questionable, wasteful, expensive or just interesting items of spending. If any readers spot anything, feel free to leave your own examples in the comments.

6.00pm:

Update: This has been a bitter-sweet day for taxpayers, all in all. On one hand, we've seen the gory details of some real waste in 2009-10; on the other you have to say that this level of transparency is absolutely fantastic for taxpayers, and kudos to DCLG. Other departments must follow suit. A few more to finish the day:


  • DCLG, Domestic Goods - Hemel Hempsted Laundry Co, £2,203

  • DCLG, Food - Majestic Wine Warehouse, £500

  • DCLG, Vehicle Hire - Sandown Limousines, £1,769

  • DCLG, Vehicle Hire - Gerrard Chaffeur Driver, £986

  • DCLG, Events Organisation - Exeter Racecourse, £782


2.30pm:


  • Valuation Tribunal Service, Rail and Hotel Booking Services, £96,249

  • Planning Inspectorate, Clothing - Greenham, £34,385

  • Homes and Communities Agency, Clothing, £22,063


2.00pm:

The total spent by the Homes and Communities Agency on Flowers was £12,975. They also spent £138,151 on catering and £420,663 on cleaning.

The department itself spent £49,369 on interpretation and translation services.

1.30pm:

Update: The Audit Commission figures have now been published too.


  • Audit Commission, Financial Services - Fishburn Hedges, £14,804

  • Audit Commission, Technical Services - Connect Public Affairs, £38,696

  • Audit Commission, Unclassified - Merchandise Mania, £4,547

  • Audit Commission, Technical Services - Kantar £2,420

  • Audit Commission, Unclassified - Monty Rakusen's Studio (Bespoke Photography), £7,335

  • Audit Commission, Vehicle Maintenance - Auto Windscreens, £27,027


12.30pm:


  • Tenant Services Authority, Building Management - Cliff's Flowers, £1,175

  • Government Offices for the Regions, Child Social Care, £95,485

  • Government Offices for the Regions, Healthcare, £15,800

  • Homes and Communities Agency, Marketing - Gran Paradiso, £724

  • Government Offices for the Regions, Financial Services - Advantage West Midlands, £74,660

  • London Thames Gateway Development Corporation, Strategic Consultancy - South East England Development Agency, £13,852


12.15pm:


  • Housing Ombudsman Service, Building Management - The London Plant Company, £2,492

  • Government Offices for the Regions, Event Organisations - including hotels such as the Grosvenor and the Hilton, £215,306

  • Government Offices for the Regions, Staff Health and Safety - Fitness2Live Ltd, £95,002

  • Infrastructure Planning Commission, IT Support - Price Waterhouse Coopers, £242,336


12.00pm:

We've added up the total amount given to SOLACE and SOLACE Enterprises - the association for local authority chief executives, similar to the ACPO organisation for police chiefs - and it looks like they received £104,227 in 2009-10.


  • Planning Inspectorate, Marketing, £241,511

  • Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation, Marketing - London Communcations Agency £113,681

  • Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation, Marketing - Pixelwork £111,600

  • London Thames Gateway Development Corporation, Legal Services - Various companies, £1,575,931


11.55am:


  • Fire Service College, Air - Al-Amaan Travel and Holidays, £1,555

  • Homes and Communities Agency, Unclassified - SOLACE Enterprises, £517

  • Government Offices for the Regions, Learning and Development Services - SOLACE Enterprises, £5,924

  • Ordnance Survey, Marketing and Media - SOLACE, £73,000 (total)

  • Tenant Services Authority, SOLACE, £2,932

  • Community Development Foundation, Advertising and Consultancy - SOLACE, £11,500


11.45am:


  • Valuation Tribunal Service, Rail & Hotel booking Services, £96,249

  • Standards Board for England, Staff Training - SOLACE Enterprises, £632

  • Standards Board for England, Events at Conferences - SOLACE Enterprises, £4,600

  • Standards Board for England, Staff Training - SOLACE, £575

  • Standards Board for England, Events at Conferences - SOLACE Enterprises, £546

  • Standards Board for England, Staff Training - SOLACE Enterprises, £632

  • Standards Board for England, Conference Networking - SOLACE Enterprises, £1,558

  • Standards Board for England, Conferences - SOLACE Enterprises, £546

  • Standards Board for England, Staff Training - SOLACE Enterprises, £1,265


11.40am:


  • DCLG, Strategic Consultancy - Faith Matters, £33,750

  • Standards Board for England, Train Fares, £72,577

  • Standards Board for England, Mobile Telephones, £15,265

  • Standards Board for England, Contract Staff, £252,660

  • Standards Board for England, Recruitment Advertising, £84,634

  • Standards Board for England, Accommodation Capita Business Travel, £16,395


11.30am:


  • DCLG, Events - Reubens Hotel (nr. Buckingham Palace), £17,000 (via Paul Waugh's blog)

  • DCLG, Strategic Consultancy - Smith Institute, £7,500

  • Infrastructure Planning Commission, Subscriptions Dir Strategy - European Policy Forum Ltd, £7,500


11.20am:



  • Community Development Foundation, Rail travel, £129,080

  • DCLG, Admin and Clerical - Faithwise Ltd, £108,018

  • DCLG, Clothing - Seton, £771

  • DCLG, Events Organisation - Box of Frogs, £800

  • DCLG, Strategic Consultancy - Faith Based Regeneration Network,
    £1,370

  • DCLG, Catering - Manchester United, £12,948



11am:


  • Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation, Balloon Art Studio, £1,210

  • West Northamptonshire Development Corporation, Northampton Rugby Football Club Ltd - Print, £341.75

  • DCLG, Institute for Fiscal Studies - Research, £29,763

  • Government Offices for the Regions, Building Repair and Maintenance - Tropical Foliage, £1,196

  • Government Offices for the Regions, Accommodation - Blackpool Pleasure Beach, £539.75

  • Government Offices for the Regions, Staff Health and Safety - Stress Angels (Corporate Massage), £1,673

Today the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) published their departmental spend with suppliers for the 2009-10 financial year. It contains every transaction over £500, and is a huge step forward for transparency. It's something that we hope to see every department do, as taxpayers now have the opportunity to see what their money is spent on. DCLG have demonstrated that providing this level of transparency isn't too difficult a task for departments to handle - an excel spreadsheet with all of the data is available here.

Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

“It is extremely exciting to see the Department for Communities and Local Government leading the way on spending transparency. Taxpayers have a right to know how their money is spent and transparency can improve results. It both exposes corruption and enables greater scrutiny and broader involvement in decision making. Hopefully, over the coming months, other departments will follow the DCLG’s superb example.”

Throughout the day we will be operating a rolling blog as we uncover questionable, wasteful, expensive or just interesting items of spending. If any readers spot anything, feel free to leave your own examples in the comments.

6.00pm:

Update: This has been a bitter-sweet day for taxpayers, all in all. On one hand, we've seen the gory details of some real waste in 2009-10; on the other you have to say that this level of transparency is absolutely fantastic for taxpayers, and kudos to DCLG. Other departments must follow suit. A few more to finish the day:


  • DCLG, Domestic Goods - Hemel Hempsted Laundry Co, £2,203

  • DCLG, Food - Majestic Wine Warehouse, £500

  • DCLG, Vehicle Hire - Sandown Limousines, £1,769

  • DCLG, Vehicle Hire - Gerrard Chaffeur Driver, £986

  • DCLG, Events Organisation - Exeter Racecourse, £782


2.30pm:


  • Valuation Tribunal Service, Rail and Hotel Booking Services, £96,249

  • Planning Inspectorate, Clothing - Greenham, £34,385

  • Homes and Communities Agency, Clothing, £22,063


2.00pm:

The total spent by the Homes and Communities Agency on Flowers was £12,975. They also spent £138,151 on catering and £420,663 on cleaning.

The department itself spent £49,369 on interpretation and translation services.

1.30pm:

Update: The Audit Commission figures have now been published too.


  • Audit Commission, Financial Services - Fishburn Hedges, £14,804

  • Audit Commission, Technical Services - Connect Public Affairs, £38,696

  • Audit Commission, Unclassified - Merchandise Mania, £4,547

  • Audit Commission, Technical Services - Kantar £2,420

  • Audit Commission, Unclassified - Monty Rakusen's Studio (Bespoke Photography), £7,335

  • Audit Commission, Vehicle Maintenance - Auto Windscreens, £27,027


12.30pm:


  • Tenant Services Authority, Building Management - Cliff's Flowers, £1,175

  • Government Offices for the Regions, Child Social Care, £95,485

  • Government Offices for the Regions, Healthcare, £15,800

  • Homes and Communities Agency, Marketing - Gran Paradiso, £724

  • Government Offices for the Regions, Financial Services - Advantage West Midlands, £74,660

  • London Thames Gateway Development Corporation, Strategic Consultancy - South East England Development Agency, £13,852


12.15pm:


  • Housing Ombudsman Service, Building Management - The London Plant Company, £2,492

  • Government Offices for the Regions, Event Organisations - including hotels such as the Grosvenor and the Hilton, £215,306

  • Government Offices for the Regions, Staff Health and Safety - Fitness2Live Ltd, £95,002

  • Infrastructure Planning Commission, IT Support - Price Waterhouse Coopers, £242,336


12.00pm:

We've added up the total amount given to SOLACE and SOLACE Enterprises - the association for local authority chief executives, similar to the ACPO organisation for police chiefs - and it looks like they received £104,227 in 2009-10.


  • Planning Inspectorate, Marketing, £241,511

  • Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation, Marketing - London Communcations Agency £113,681

  • Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation, Marketing - Pixelwork £111,600

  • London Thames Gateway Development Corporation, Legal Services - Various companies, £1,575,931


11.55am:


  • Fire Service College, Air - Al-Amaan Travel and Holidays, £1,555

  • Homes and Communities Agency, Unclassified - SOLACE Enterprises, £517

  • Government Offices for the Regions, Learning and Development Services - SOLACE Enterprises, £5,924

  • Ordnance Survey, Marketing and Media - SOLACE, £73,000 (total)

  • Tenant Services Authority, SOLACE, £2,932

  • Community Development Foundation, Advertising and Consultancy - SOLACE, £11,500


11.45am:


  • Valuation Tribunal Service, Rail & Hotel booking Services, £96,249

  • Standards Board for England, Staff Training - SOLACE Enterprises, £632

  • Standards Board for England, Events at Conferences - SOLACE Enterprises, £4,600

  • Standards Board for England, Staff Training - SOLACE, £575

  • Standards Board for England, Events at Conferences - SOLACE Enterprises, £546

  • Standards Board for England, Staff Training - SOLACE Enterprises, £632

  • Standards Board for England, Conference Networking - SOLACE Enterprises, £1,558

  • Standards Board for England, Conferences - SOLACE Enterprises, £546

  • Standards Board for England, Staff Training - SOLACE Enterprises, £1,265


11.40am:


  • DCLG, Strategic Consultancy - Faith Matters, £33,750

  • Standards Board for England, Train Fares, £72,577

  • Standards Board for England, Mobile Telephones, £15,265

  • Standards Board for England, Contract Staff, £252,660

  • Standards Board for England, Recruitment Advertising, £84,634

  • Standards Board for England, Accommodation Capita Business Travel, £16,395


11.30am:


  • DCLG, Events - Reubens Hotel (nr. Buckingham Palace), £17,000 (via Paul Waugh's blog)

  • DCLG, Strategic Consultancy - Smith Institute, £7,500

  • Infrastructure Planning Commission, Subscriptions Dir Strategy - European Policy Forum Ltd, £7,500


11.20am:



  • Community Development Foundation, Rail travel, £129,080

  • DCLG, Admin and Clerical - Faithwise Ltd, £108,018

  • DCLG, Clothing - Seton, £771

  • DCLG, Events Organisation - Box of Frogs, £800

  • DCLG, Strategic Consultancy - Faith Based Regeneration Network,
    £1,370

  • DCLG, Catering - Manchester United, £12,948



11am:


  • Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation, Balloon Art Studio, £1,210

  • West Northamptonshire Development Corporation, Northampton Rugby Football Club Ltd - Print, £341.75

  • DCLG, Institute for Fiscal Studies - Research, £29,763

  • Government Offices for the Regions, Building Repair and Maintenance - Tropical Foliage, £1,196

  • Government Offices for the Regions, Accommodation - Blackpool Pleasure Beach, £539.75

  • Government Offices for the Regions, Staff Health and Safety - Stress Angels (Corporate Massage), £1,673

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