Whitehall fails to publish nearly half of documents included in transparency pledge

Written by Tamsin Rutter and Josh May on 29 August 2017 in News

Research shows 92 of 202 publications withheld despite commitment for open government

The government has been accused of a lack of transparency after data on civil service pay remains unpublished. Credit: Pixabay

Almost half the publications that ministers pledged to release for public scrutiny are missing – despite claims by former prime minister David Cameron  to create the “most transparent” administration ever.

According to The Sunday Times, 92 of the 202 transparency publications – covering big spending items, gifts received, travel, meetings and other issues – are either late or not published.


The research shows that just three Whitehall departments have published their gender pay gap as required, while 19 out of 22 departments are late posting lists of civil servants in “off-payroll arrangements”.

Nine departments are late publishing lists of civil service staff moving to the private sector, despite rules that aim to address the “revolving door” between Whitehall and business. 

The Sunday Times singles out the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which has never released details of its spending, and the Department for International Trade, which has failed to publish six out of the nine transparency documents it should have released since it was formed in July last year.

Jon Trickett, the shadow cabinet office minister, accused the government of “breaching public trust” and failing “to ensure proper scrutiny of government business”.

A government spokesperson said: “We are releasing more information than ever before. The World Wide Web Foundation recently ranked the UK government first on its global Open Data Barometer, putting the UK at the forefront of open government.”

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Tamsin Rutter and Josh May
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Tamsin Rutter is senior reporter for Civil Service World and Josh May is news editor of PoliticsHome.com, where a version of this story first appeared

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