Spend data published today (28 February 2011) for the department’s ‘procurement card’ covers the period 12 May 2010 to 31 January 2011.
The data will continue to be published on a month by month basis.
The move is the latest in an effort to drive forward a new era of transparency and openness in government.
Government Procurement Cards are issued to specific employees, in central Whitehall and some local authorities, as a way of buying in low value goods and services.
The department has already committed to publishing details of all its spending over £500 online. Having urged local authorities to follow suit, all except a very small minority have now adopted a transparent approach.
Ministers believe the public, as taxpayers, should be able to scrutinise how their money is being spent as this will help root out waste, spot duplication and achieve better value for money.
The decision to publish procurement card data follows the review by Sir Philip Green which found that the government had consistently failed to make the most of its scale, buying power and credit rating.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:
“We are continuing to break new ground on transparency. By shining a light on our own accounts and opening up another avenue for the public to see how their taxes are being spent. We are keeping our commitment to a new and more open government that is ready to root out waste and making the taxpayers’ cash go further.
“The data is already showing us where we could do things differently. There will always be room for improvement and opportunities to bear down on costs and get better deals.
“Transparency must be the underlying principal behind everything councils do. The overwhelming majority are already publishing their spend data over £500 online and I urge them to ensure that they also publish their corporate credit card spend over £500. Opening up the books for public scrutiny can help save money in tough times and protect the frontline by cutting waste and unnecessary costs.”