The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government wrote to local authorities informing them they should publish expenditure on items over £500 by January 2011. We will be publishing the data each month in two formats - Adobe PDF and Comma Separated Value (CSV) which can be read by Microsoft Excel, so as to make the data as useful as possible to as many people as possible.
The reports have been produced following the Practitioners Guide to Publishing Local Spending Data, so as to maximize its use to local people.
Making sense of the invoice information
This is what the PDF data looks like:
The files contain details of all invoices paid in the reporting month that have a value of £500 or more (excluding VAT). We will not be publishing the Supplier details of payments that are of a personal nature as this information will be redacted in accordance with the guidance.
The data is split into eight columns containing:
- Service Label represents the highest level to which costs are charged, following the CIPFA objective category for service class
- Service Code is linked to the Service Label
- Expenditure Category describes the type of expenditure against account codes held within the finance system
- Date is the invoice payment date
- Transaction number is a unique internal reference that identifies the invoice within the finance system
- Net Amount is the invoice value net of recoverable VAT, this may be coded to several expenditure categories so individual values may be less than £500
- Capital and Revenue simply states the expenditure type
- Supplier Name identifies the recipient of the spend, but this may be redacted if it is of a personal nature
The open data initiative is promoting the use of machine readable formats, so we have also published the data in CSV format following the output requirements of the guidance.