Tuesday, February 01, 2011

So much for a transparent House of Commons

It's well known that during the build-up to the Expenses Scandal, it was the House of Commons and the Speaker of the time that fought tooth-and-nail to avoid a light to shine on the expenses and allowance spending of our Lords and Masters. Thankfully, as a result of a leak it didn't matter anyway.

Whilst it's unlikely that this was a driving force behind the desire by the Tory element of the Coalition to establish the principle that Government department should be publishing their spending on anything over £500, it was probably a factor, hence many department are now telling us, in raw data format at least, what taxpayers money they're pissing up the proverbial.

Well, all except the House of Commons of course. You wouldn't expect that institution, often of lofty "born to rule" arrogance, to take transparency with your money seriously would you? You see, they don't, as, when asked what single tender contracts they'd agreed since May 2010 the response from the House of Commons Commission was as follows,
The House's central contract database contains information on six single tender contracts awarded since May 2010, namely:
  • Additional access control
  • Supply, delivery and installation of security screening equipment
  • Anti-fragmentation film in 14 Tothill street
  • Modifications to the House of Commons Chamber sound equipment and supply of specialist radio microphones
  • Supply of curtaining fabric
  • Replacement of broken glass roof domes, Moncrieff's Restaurant
None of these contracts was above the EU public procurement threshold for supplies and services which currently stands at approximately £101,000.

Single tender contracts under £25,000 within individual House Departments are not recorded on the central contract database, and it is not known how many of these there have been.
You didn't expect them to tell you how much it cost to protect them from the rabble throwing stones at their windows did you?

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