Smaller Authorities Transparency Fund
The Transparency Code for Smaller Authorities became mandatory on 1 April 2015. The Code requires smaller authorities (including local councils) with an annual turnover not exceeding £25,000 (defined as the higher of an authority’s gross income for the year and its gross expenditure for the year) to publish certain information on-line.
As many smaller authorities do not have websites or own the IT equipment to upload information on-line, the Government has created a Smaller Authorities Transparency Fund to which those authorities can apply for funding to cover some of the costs of becoming compliant with the Code. If your council has a turnover greater than £25,000 it cannot apply to the fund.
Smaller Authorities Transparency Fund 2017/18:
Funding provided by DCLG for the current financial year (2017/18) is being claimed quickly and may be spent by the end of December. Councils are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to the fund. The Fund helps smaller council with the burden of complying with the Code to cover the costs of the council becoming compliant with the Code; for example buying a laptop computer, scanner, creating a website, site hosting, staff time involved in the populating the site with Transparency Code related information, keeping the website up to date in that regard and for training in how to use the website.
In addition, the Fund will support ongoing costs so a council can make an application per financial year or (if it hasn’t previously applied) the council can claim for back-dated ongoing and equipment costs. Applications can be for further website hosting, staff time to keep the website up to date with Transparency Code information, ongoing training for the site and any equipment not applied for in a previous application.
The closing dates for receipt of applications by YLCA are at 12 noon on the following dates:
| 13 November | 11 December
15 January | 12 February
Please be aware that if your application is incorrectly completed there will be need to return it to you and if this happens close to one of the deadlines above, you may miss that month’s submission list.
Application form and guidance notes 2017/2018:
Please see the current form below. Remember to read your application thoroughly before sending it to YLCA.
Please note that applications must be made electronically; paper applications will not be accepted by DCLG.
Who can apply and what for?
It has been confirmed by DCLG that smaller councils that didn’t submit a claim for funding to cover any costs incurred as a result of complying with the Transparency Code in the 2015/16 and 2016/17 financial years, may submit applications in the current financial year. For example, if a council has set up a website any time after April 2015 for the purposes of complying with the Transparency Code, and has covered this expense itself, it can request funding from the Transparency Fund to cover those costs during 2017/18. The type of things that can be applied for are:
Internet connection (but see limitations in the guidance note);
Cost of the Internet subscription;
Word processing/spreadsheet software;
Website costs and associated charges and website hosting costs;
Basic training for the clerk in how to manage the website;
Officer time for the process of achieving transparency; and
Officer time to ensure that the Council keeps compliant with the Transparency Code.
Councils that have already received funding from the Transparency Fund can also apply. We anticipate that applications in this regard will likely be for officer time in keeping compliant with the Transparency Code and for any other aspects not already applied for previously.