Today (Wednesday 8th July 2009) is the first of twenty working days during which Cambridge City Council’s accounts, including all invoices, receipts and contracts are available for anyone who is interested to view. A “Notice of public rights” posted deep within the council’s website states:
Notice is hereby given that from 8th July to 4th August 2009 inclusive (excluding weekends and public holidays) any person interested, on application to the Department of the Director of Finance, Second Floor, Lion House, Lion Yard, Cambridge CB2 3NA, (telephone Cambridge 458134), may inspect and make copies of the accounts of the Cambridge City Council for the year ended 31st March 2009 and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers and receipts relating thereto. The inspection may take place between 9 am and 5 pm (Monday to Thursday) and 9 am to 4 pm (Friday).
Due to the volume of material which will be made available the council has in previous years refused, on cost grounds, to make it available online, so individuals wishing to review the documents will have to do so in person.
I have no idea what to expect if I were to attend the council’s offices during the open period. Perhaps copies of all the relevant documents are placed on a table (or on a bookshelf) and members of the public are free to browse through them?
Items which I believe may prove particularly interesting include:
- Details of Section 106 Agreements, particularly their terms relating to the amount of time available to spend the money.
- The folk festival online ticket sales contract.
- The Chief Executive’s contract of employment.
- Consulting contracts and payments to consultants.
- Details behind the £100,000 or so a year the council pays to Microsoft.
- Details relating to the legal case, and land ownership position at Quayside. There may be relevant leases or similar agreements.
- A breakdown of how the £62,523 the council allocated to spend on Penny Ferry was actually spent
- IT and web-development contracts.
- Details of other environmental improvements projects
- Information on how much the council’s tree felling spree cost
- Costs relating to the new technology in car parks, and the specifications of the equipment.
- Costs relating to CCTV, covert snooping devices, and the specifications of the equipment purchased.
- Expenses payments
Any further ideas for places to look would be welcome in the comments (or by phone or email if preferred).
Perhaps it will also prove a convenient time to inspect the councillor’s (and senior officers?) hospitality register.