Local council transparency and accountability

Supporting detail:

Single data list

The single data list is a list of all the datasets that local government must submit to central government.

If a data requirement is not on the list, councils won’t have to collect and provide it without receiving extra funding. The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government made this commitment to local government in a written ministerial statement.

The government has reduced the number of required datasets by 81 since summer 2010 and significantly reduced the scale of a further 34.

We are working to reduce the burden of data collection further. To help achieve this, all new proposed data requirements from local government will need to:

  • meet one or more of 6 principles
  • be fully funded as outlined in new burdens procedures
  • pass through a ‘gateway group’ chaired by the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Local Government Association to ensure that any proposed new data requirements place the minimum possible burden on local government

Principles for assessing new data requirements from local government

There are 6 principles for assessing proposed new data requirements from local government. Each data request must comply with at least one of these principles.

Central government may reasonably require data from local councils:

  • to fulfil international obligations, for example under EU directives
  • to support the effective administration of funding - clarity is important here in highlighting where data are being used as proxies (for example, data on free school meals being used as a proxy for need)
  • to support accountability to Parliament for national public funds and national policy decisions
  • to hold public services to account, for example holding government to account for national delivery
  • to support the evaluation of economic, social and environmental trends
  • to provide comparable local performance data, by exception, where it doesn’t already exist, to enable local people to hold local services to account