[wdmmg-discuss] Local Spending Report
apt1002 at goose.minworks.co.uk
Fri Apr 23 18:43:08 BST 2010
I've been getting to grips with the Local Spending Report:
It's a lot harder to understand than the CRA, even though (and partly
because) it only covers about a quarter of government spending, for one
The first problem is the large number of organisations that do the
spending. They are split up geographically (obviously) but also by
function. For example, about 3/4 of local spending is health spending, and
that all goes through various bits off the NHS. Of the rest, quite a lot
is spent by the other emergency services. Each of these services (NHS
Trusts, Ambulance Trusts, Police and Fire authorities) is split into local
authorities in a different way.
The second problem is that some of the spending bodies do nothing but
manage and fund the other spending bodies. This is especially true of
health care. For example, the new-fangled Strategic Health Authorities
have a purely managerial role, and the Primary Care Trusts are all about
procurement from other authorities.
In theory we have a good data model to represent these complex flows of
money. We can make accounts to represent each authority, and we can make
transactions that transfer money between them. We will need further
accounts and transactions (far more!) to represent the money actually
spent on services. We should be able to see how much money is lost (spent
on paper clips, window cleaning, etc) at each level of government.
However, it is difficult to work out who pays money to whom. The general
pattern is as follows, I think (but I'm not very confident):
- Central government pays Upper-tier local authorities.
- Central government pays Strategic Health Authorities.
- Central government pays Primary Care Trusts.
- Upper-tier local authorities pay police and fire and waste services.
- Primary Care Trusts pay Ambulance Trusts.
- Primary Care Trusts pay NHS Trusts.
- Department of Work and Pensions... dunno. Independent?
There is a table in the report for each of these seven classes recipients.
There is also a mapping table which gives the geographical relationships
between them. In most cases it is either one-to-one, or a hierarchy, but
there are a small number (about 20%) of exceptions. If anybody can work
out how the money flows in the hierarchical and the many-to-many cases I
would be grateful.
There are also lower-tier local authorities, which I have not understood
yet. I think these may be in table 1 along with the upper-tier ones. For
example, I can find both Fenland and Cambridgeshire in table 1, despite
the fact that Fenland is a lower-tier authority inside the Cambridgeshire
upper-tier authority. In that case even table 1 alone suffers from
double-counting; we need to separate it into the two separate levels.
Finally, I could do with some help working out how the various authorities
are coded. I think many of the authorities are identified by standard
codes, but I don't know what the coding systems are called or where I can
get the complete lists of codes. If anybody happens to know those answers,
I would be grateful for them.
I'm pleased to say that this data set has good documentation and cites its
sources properly. I hope that by digging a bit deeper we can answer all
I've written up my notes so far here:
Please feel free to help.
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