Hub and capital works data in spotlight on International Access to Information Day

Open data on expenditure and projects, a pro-release culture and livestreamed meetings are among the achievements Ipswich City Council is counting this International Access to Information Day.

2021 IAI Day, themed ‘Open by design: government transparency everyone can see’, comes just over a year since Ipswich City Council launched the Transparency and Integrity Hub, Australia’s first online financial data portal for a local government.

Mayor Teresa Harding said International Access to Information Day is a great opportunity to take stock on Council’s progress to date and consider future initiatives in open data.

“Ipswich City Council recognises that public trust is essential to good governance,” Mayor Harding said.

“In the past 18 months, we have put integrity, accountability and transparency at the forefront of all that we do.

“Our residents and ratepayers now have unprecedented access to how Council spends public money through the Australian-first Transparency and Integrity Hub.

“Other steps include publishing a three-year capital works program, publishing details on the budget and staffing of core services delivered by the organisation, and live-streaming Standing Committee and Council meetings.

“Council also publishes agendas and minutes for its briefing and workshop sessions for Councillors, and is one of the only councils in Australia to do so.

“Now we are looking towards tailored open data initiatives, and asking residents and ratepayers what information they would like to see to reach an even more informed view on Council initiatives.”

Major highlights in Council’s journey to restore trust and improve the community’s access to information include:

Transparency and Integrity Hub

The Transparency and Integrity Hub provides the community with unprecedented access to the city’s finances and provides greater scrutiny over how Council spends ratepayers’ money.

Data published on this portal includes detailed financial records from Council, its controlled entities, Councillor expenses and procurement data for contracts of $200,000 and above for the past five years.  From August 2020, Council also began publishing all procurement contracts at a value greater than $10,000.

In recent months, Council has published further information on the Hub including its forward procurement schedule for goods and services, information and communications technology and building, materials, maintenance and fleet.  A story on TiTree Bio-Energy Payments collected and purposed to environmental projects has also been published.

Data is updated in real-time and can be explored and analysed through stories or accessing raw data in reports.

Council will continue to build the depth and diversity of information openly available on the Hub to support our strategic theme of becoming a Trusted and Leading Organisation.

Visit the Transparency and Integrity Hub here.

Three-year Capital Works Program

For the first time, Council has published a Three-Year Capital Works Program.

The information is refined each financial year and clearly displayed via an interactive Civic Projects map.

The map has a range of filters to help the community better understand Council’s works program, including ‘major projects’, ‘under construction’, ‘current program’ and ‘planned projects’.

The Civic Projects map can be viewed here.

Live streamed meetings

Standing Committee and Ordinary Council meetings are livestreamed via Ipswich City Council’s YouTube channel. Recordings of the meetings are also kept and available on the channel following the completion of the meeting.

Documentation provided to Councillors during scheduled briefings and workshops in the lead up to Council meetings are published online each month.

For information about Council meetings click here.

To view Council’s YouTube channel, click here.

Fostering a pro-release culture

Ipswich City Council fosters a pro-release culture, encouraging a pro-disclosure push model for the release of information.

Efforts to achieve this culture included education for staff about information access rights and responsibilities, improvements to policies and procedures and the maintenance of a publication scheme.

Ipswich City Council recognises that proactively releasing information helps build greater trust between Council and the community and improves performance.

For more information about the publication scheme, click here.

Mowing map

In a Queensland-first, Council publishes an interactive mowing map to give residents greater access to Council services.

The interactive map shows Council’s mowing schedule and uses a colour-coded system to tell residents when and where to expect Council’s mowing services.

The mowing map can be accessed here.

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