Winner of the 2014 WA and the 2015 World Summit Award, the website www.localauthorityfinances.com aims at increasing awareness of how taxpayers’ money is spent locally by providing cross-council information on local authority spending and income, disaggregated by expenditure function and revenue source. Aimed at improving transparency and accountability, the interactive web application can be used to readily access and more easily understand individual council income and spending budgets, but also cross-council comparisons, with a view to identifying differences in local authority spending and income, but also star performers and council laggards. The project will contribute to a wider debate on the future role of local government in Ireland, but also on current issues relating to, for example, local authority financial performance, balance between business and non-business local taxes (e.g. commercial rates versus local property tax), decentralisation of expenditure functions (including social housing), planned city council boundary extensions and local council mergers, and the future governance of local governments e.g. the role of Chief Executive versus directly-elected Mayor. Over the longer term, this project will, by highlighting cross-council differences and best performing councils, help to measure and, ultimately, improve the financial performance of local authorities. This project is of interest to a number of different stakeholders, including local and national policymakers, political parties, media outlets, researchers and academics, and above all, communities, taxpayers and citizens.
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