News 18th November 2014

Whitehall Monitor 2014 | How transparent is the UK Government?

by Tim Hughes

Tim is coordinator of the UK Open Government Network.

The Institute for Government has just published the findings of it’s Whitehall Monitor, which reviews the size, shape and performance of Whitehall: http://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/IFG%20-%20Whitehall%20Monitor%202014.pdf

Among the findings are indicators of how transparent government is. Headline findings on this are:

  • “Government has improved the way it publishes and uses some of its data over the past year, including top-level financial data and objectives for permanent secretaries.”
  • “A lack of financial transparency in some areas makes it difficult to explain changes between planned spending and actual outturn, and to present a comprehensive picture of government contracting”
  • “Some datasets are missing a large amount of information (for example, on civil servants’ individual professions)”
  • “The actions and impact indicators contained in Departmental Business Plans (which should allow the public to track the progress of actions and reforms, and their impact in the real world) are of limited use and not always taken seriously by departments.”
  • DECC is most transparent about it’s spending plans, with Cabinet Office, HMRC and Treasury joint last.
  • The Wales Office, followed by Department of Health and Department for Transport are best at responding to information requests, while the Home Office is the worst.

Follow #WhitehallMonitor on Twitter for updates from tonight’s launch.

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