New website looks at who funds UK-based think tanks and political campaigns

Who Funds You LogoA new website launches today calling for think tanks and public policy campaigns to publish their annual income and name their major funders.

For its pilot project, Who Funds You? – – asked 20 leading UK-based think tanks and political campaigns to disclose their major funders and rated them on the depth of their responses. Continue reading

Stoke-on-Trent City Council To Trial Cabinet Meeting Webcasts

Stoke-on-Trent City Council plans to extend the city council’s webcasting facilities will be given a trial run this month when the cabinet meeting is broadcast online for the first time.

The webcasting system which reportedly cost £100,000 to install and has annual running costs of around £15,000 has so far only been used to webcast the full council meetings.

Councillor Paul Shotton, cabinet member for transformation and resources, said

This would be another step towards making the city council a clear and transparent organisation. We want local people to know how we make the decisions and give them a greater understanding of the systems in place at the city council. Obviously not everyone is able to attend these meetings in person so if we get to a position where we can broadcast more important meetings it will be good for local democracy.

It has not been reported how long the trail period of broadcasting Cabinet Meetings will be but if successful the council will decide if all meetings that are to be webcast will take place in the council chamber or if there is the potential to include webcasting facilities in other rooms.

It has long been alleged and previously confirmed,  that cabinet decisions are made at the secrative & private Cabinet Agenda Planning meetings with the public Cabinet meeting merely being a thinly veiled attempt at trying to look transparent.


The next cabinet meeting will take place on Thursday January 26, 2012 at 5:30pm.

Open Finances From Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service

Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service announced today that they have published details of their finances inline with the new transparency recommendations from Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles MP.

This makes Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service the first fire service in the country to do this.

Chairman of the Fire and Rescue Authority, Cllr Len Bloomer added, ‘We are fully committed to openness and transparency in all that we do and believe that we should respond to the Government’s wishes and make available as much information as we can as soon as possible. We will now publish details of all of our invoices paid, which total more than £500, on a monthly basis.’

Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive Peter Dartford said, ‘We owe the people of Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire a great debt for the way they support their fire and rescue service on an ongoing basis. With this in mind, we are keen to make sure we give them all the information that we can to allow them to help us move forward.’

The information can be accessed in the About Us section of the Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service website, under “Our Finances.”

Lets Make This The Most Accountable General Election Ever

Democracy Club is a new, independent network of volunteers who want to help internet-savvy transparency groups like mySociety and Thee Straight Choice to hold election candidates and representatives to account. Both of these organisations endorse this project. If you sign up, they will (in time) suggest ways you might want to help them.

When you sign up, representatives of these organisations will occasionally suggest tasks by email, such as gathering information on general election candidates or finding and sharing election leaflets, to help them build awesome sites that will make the next election the most transparent ever. They’ll also help you to collaborate with other volunteers in your area.

If you are serious about wanting to make changes then I suggest that you sign up for this and help make the candidates accountable.

Use the links below to sign up.