Transparency

As part of the Government’s Transparency Agenda, the Valuation Office Agency is publishing a profile of the items it spends its budget on which exceed £25,000 in value. This data will be published monthly on the VOA and www.data.gov.uk websites.

The data includes spend on the Payment of Local Authority Rates (POLAR) scheme. The VOA is responsible for administering POLAR on behalf of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Under POLAR, the Agency pays the rates incurred by embassies, high commissions and diplomatic missions to local councils across the UK from a budget provided by HM Treasury. The Government is obligated to pay these costs under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961) and the Diplomatic Privileges Act (1964) which exclude diplomatic missions from national or municipal taxes in respect of the premises that they occupy.

Monthly spend exceeding 25,000

(Glossary)

The Operational Efficiency Programme (OEP )

The VOA is publishing the Operational Efficiency Programme (OEP ) benchmarking data relating to the cost of their back office functions. This is the first time the Agency has published such data and it is in line with the Governments commitment to improving transparency.

There are significant variations between the data published by different departments and agencies today. For some organisations, this is the first year they have gathered data in this way or used these measures. In these cases, this data would form a baseline and would not be used to identify trends or draw comparisons. Significant variation exists in the application of accounting and data standards across government that make it difficult to compare between departments meaningfully.

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