Spotlight On Spend

Spotlight on Spend: SSDC publishes all expenditures over £500


Government now requires all public sector organisations, to publish expenditures that are over £500.

As a council, all our financial information and budget setting has always been publicly available here, and decisions on our budget setting are made in public meetings.

However, the Government wants to improve transparency so the aim of publishing each 'spend' over £500 is to make it easy for you to see more specifically how we spend money.

South Somerset District Council is participating in the Spotlight on Spend website, which breaks down spending data into set categories so you can easily compare our spending data with other council's data. The link to this data is at the bottom of this page.

This scheme does not include grant aid or cases where some of our funds are transferred to another council such as Somerset County Council to deliver part of a partnership service as it would be misleading to publish these in this format as a separate 'spend', but SSDC would be more than happy to go through this with you if you are interested.

How to use the Spotlight on Spend website

Spotlight On Spend

Column 1: - is a fairly self-explanatory.  (If you hover over the symbols a full explanation appears, to aid understanding)

Column 2: - is the actual number coming from our spend data.

Column 3: - is how we compare to other district councils in England that are on the system so far. Apart from the 2 and 3rd row all indicators are in the minus meaning we are better than the average by that amount. So these are good indicators.

The 2 and 3rd rows show scores in the positive which I believe is good given that they are indicating we spend more with SME and spend more locally, both gaols local councils seek to support whilst having regard to the European Procurement rules.

On the far right are some more tabs, the most interesting being the second one "View Spend by Category" you can drill down via these by clicking on the blue headings. Spend is classified using a UK based system so that all spending is recorded in a like for like manner across all councils in the country.

The system currently uses Pro-Class a UK recognized procurement classification system.


Detailed below are some spend areas that require a little more explanation, we have attempted to cover most of the significant areas that look interesting, however as with such a big amount of data its inevitable that some other areas could exist that on the face of the spending data look " worthy of more explanation"

  1. Under Utilities, heading "Other" Windmills and Wind power equipment value £32,550.00.

Explanation, whilst this shows as a spend against the councils a large proportion of the cost was recouped from Grants from Central Government and a major Energy supplier the actual cost to the councils was less than  £15K.

  1. Under Utilities, Water Companies a very large spend of £154,247.00 shows in the data.

Explanation, the number is distorted compared to other district councils, primarily due to the council owning and running its own swimming pool and this has a high cost in terms of water and effluent charges.

  1. Facilities management, Security, Security Services, large spend of £142,827.00

Explanation, due to the categorisation our cash collection spends has been lumped in with Security Services. A large proportion of this spend is on our cash collection contract which covers collection and delivery of cash from all council offices ands more importantly all public car parks.

  1. Arts and Leisure Services has a collective very large spend of £606,732.00.

Explanation, this council has a well-regarded local Theatre and this spend reflects the investment in this valued local services.

  1. Catering, Food and Beverages, Brewers with a substantial spend of  £21,198.00

Explanation, we have a theatre with a bar and the spend with St, Austell Brewery is for bar stocks sold to the public

  1. Furniture and soft Furnishings, Office furniture and equipment, has a large spend of £62K.

Explanation, although listed as furniture, includes all the office suppliers that the council has used including paper etc.

We have provided explanations to the most obvious and largest spend areas undoubtedly others small spend areas may look interesting, the council will be more than happy to answer such questions as they arise.

Why we use Spotlightonspend

What this means in practice continues to evolve as the Public Sector Transparency Board defines open data standards and oversees the publication of detailed guidance. What is however already clear is that the policy has cost, complexity and risk implications at a time when the public sector's priority is addressing the maintenance of front-line services in the light of significant budget cuts. This council has therefore used spotlightonspend  which cuts costs, eliminates complexity and reduces risk, spotlightonspend is a managed service that is comprised of everything necessary to cost-effectively facilitate publication of the spend and related information we have elected to make available to the general public.

Spotlightonspend is designed to: cut costs by removing the need to add to the workload of our current staff or increase headcount,  eliminate the complexity of becoming and staying compliant with policy,  reduce the risk of inadvertent breach of the Data Protection Legislation, enhance the information we publish to improve its accessibility, relevance and value for the intended audience - the general public.

Go to the Spotlight On Spend pages...


Spotlight on Spend Icon


Government Procurement Cards

In accordance with the Transparency Agenda, South Somerset District Council wishes to fully and correctly engage with and support central government policy to make as much of the spending decisions we make available to public scrutiny.

You can view monthly spend reports on the Government Procurement Card page.


Payment Performance Statistics

Under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 we are required to publish data demonstrating compliance with the obligation to pay invoices within 30 days to first tier suppliers/prime contractors over the previous 12 months.  

Finance Year                          % of invoices paid within 30 days      
2015/16 97%
2016/17 97%

No interest was paid to suppliers due to late payment.


Central Government

Central Government's Transparency Agenda also allows you to see a whole range of information and publications. For more information, visit the Cabinet Office Transparency page online.