On 31 May 2010 the Prime Minister wrote to all government departments with plans to open up government data, with a specific commitment to publish government expenditure over £25,000.
The information is to include payments for goods and services, grants to third party providers, expenses, rent and policy related lending, credit notes over £25,000 and transactions with other government departments or public bodies.
The content of the data will show if the expenditure is made by the MOD itself or one of its “family” organisations such as a trading partner or Non Departmental Public Body, the payment date, the general nature of the expenditure, the part of the organisation making the payment, the name of the supplier, the unique transaction number and the amount in sterling.
MOD is committed to improving the quality of the transparency data and over the forthcoming months will be implementing a number of measures to facilitate this. The defence framework document describes and explains the overall purpose of Defence and should assist Users of the data in understanding the context of the transactions.
The usual Freedom of Information exemptions will apply, and MOD personnel will be making judgements on which expenditure to withhold from publication. Please refer to the exemption table which provides examples of the types of transaction that may be redacted from publication. Additionally the Efficiency and Reform Group within the Cabinet Office have agreed a wider exemption, initially for a 12 month period, for MOD contracts linked to EC guidance for “War like stores”.The agreed ERG concessions are detailed below:
ERG agreed concessions
- A blanket exemption from publication for all; tendering, contract, and financial information associated with:
‘War like stores’, all information that falls within the scope of Council Decision 255/58 - EC Council List Of Items Defining The Scope Of Article 346 of the Treaty for the Functioning of the European Union (EU). This would exempt all information for
- Portable and automatic firearms
- Artillery and smoke, gas and flame-throwing weapons
- Ammunition for the weapons at 1 and 2 above
- Bombs, torpedoes, rockets and guided missiles
- Military fire control equipment
- Tanks and specialist fighting vehicles
- Toxic or radioactive agents
- Powders, explosives and liquid or solid propellants
- Warships and their specialist equipment
- Aircraft and equipment for military use
Military electronic equipment
- An exemption to redact from contracts all information associated with:
‘Military sensitive technical information’ – all such information that might expose UK military and civilian personnel, or those employed by the UK government, or our coalition partners and allies to potential personal risk of serious injury or loss of life. In reality this would mean that for most of our contracts, the schedule including the Technical Specification would be redacted.
MOD has a zero tolerance policy on fraud, theft and irregularity, and disciplinary action is taken if any wrongdoing is found.
Suppliers should direct any specific questions relating to this publication of expenditure to their MOD Contract Manager or MOD Demander.
Further queries on the data should be submitted through the FOI route.