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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Electorate needs to monitor Mastercard

Two Cheshire East councillors have asked to see credit and debit card statements for council spending above £500, after being told some details would not be posted on the website.

The council publishes all details of expenditure of more than £500 except that spent on purchase cards (writes local democracy reporter Belinda Ryan).

A report to last Monday’s meeting of the Audit and Governance Committee said card spending was now being made public but “due to external supplier systems,” the only information that could be provided was the amount, date, merchant category code and the supplier or retailer’s name.

Committee vice-chair Coun David Marren (Shavington), who originally raised the matter, said: “It appears as though the detail will still be lacking and that is down perhaps to the finance house who runs the software for the debit and credit cards.

“In terms of openness, why do we not just put copies of the credit and debit card payments on the website for people to look at if they wish to take the time and trouble to do that?”

Alex Thompson, director of finance and customer services, said: “We think that as much information as we have is now transparently available.”

He said he could provide statements for Coun Marren to see, adding they wouldn’t be published online because sometimes they may contain personal information.

Coun Patrick Redstone (Odd Rode) said he too would like to see the statements and asked why personal information would be included if the cards were for council business.

Mr Thompson replied: “Obviously the council is an organisation that deals with an awful lot of clients and customers in different capacities. Sometimes we make payments to individuals for service delivery.”

He said there was no use of council resources by staff.

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