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Government Transparency and Accountability

Volume 670: debated on Thursday 23 January 2020

Since 2010, the Government have been at the forefront of opening up data to allow Parliament, the public and the media to hold public bodies to account. Such online transparency is crucial to delivering value for money, cutting waste and inefficiency, and to ensuring every pound of taxpayers’ money is spent in the best possible way.

The Government are today publishing a number of documents as part of their ongoing commitment to transparency and accountability.

The following subject areas include documents and data that the Government are due to publish, or which have recently been made available.

Ministerial transparency

Departments are publishing the routine quarterly ministerial data on external meetings, gifts, hospitality and overseas travel.

The Government are also making available the agenda and the meeting notes of the July 2019 co-ordination committee meeting between the Government and the DUP.

Further transparency documents relating to Ministers were published on 20 December 2019.

Transparency in the civil service

Departments are publishing reports on the median gender pay gap. Across the Civil Service, this encouragingly states that the median gender pay gap has narrowed to 11.1%. This demonstrates progress to date, but shows there is still further to go.

Departments are also publishing routine spend and prompt payment data, demonstrating our continued commitment to supporting businesses by ensuring they are paid on time.

Transparency of senior officials and special advisers

Alongside quarterly data on the travel, expenses and meetings of senior officials, the Government are also publishing the annual list of salary details for senior public officials in Departments and arms’ length bodies earning £150,000 and above, reflecting the enhanced scrutiny we have put in place for these most senior posts. Though the Government recognise the need to attract the brightest and the best to deliver on the people’s priorities and save taxpayers' money, very high salaries must be justified and publishing this data allows them to be scrutinised.

Departments are also publishing routine returns from special advisers.

Departments are also publishing routine quarterly data summarising decisions made by Departments about outside appointments or employment taken up by former members of the civil service at SCSI and SCS2 level and equivalents (including special advisers of equivalent standing).

These documents will be published on