DATA published as part of City of York Council's bid to become more transparent has come under fire for being "hard to interpret" and "impossible to use".

The authority is one of only eight in England to have been excluded from a national report into local council spend with small businesses.

The report, compiled by Spend Network, forms part of the Spend Small campaign by the Centre for Entrepreneurs, and analysed public spend data from all 155 upper and single tier authorities in England as well as three authorities from Wales.

Figures from City of York Council do not appear in the research, with the report stating the authority's figures were excluded due to "data quality issues".

Speaking to The Press about York's data, Ian Makgill from Spend Network, said: "York has not been very good at publishing its data.

"They are bad at publishing data that we could use to analyse what they are doing.

"It's obvious they don't think anyone is going to run the data against an algorithm. They have got dirty data, and manage it in a poor way.

"It's not very helpful for people to use the data, and not helpful for people to read it as a human, it's very hard to interpret."

Mr Makgill said local authorities are guided on data publication by the Local Government Association and the Department for Communities and Local Government, stating York is breaching "very clear guidelines".

He said: "What this really indicates is they are publishing data but they don't expect anyone to use it.

"It's publishing for the sake of publishing, rather than publishing it with the hope of people using it and being transparent."

However the authority has defended its data publishing, saying it has "committed to regularly releasing even more data over the next few years", and that the Spend Network has not directly raised any concerns with the council.

Stewart Halliday, City of York's assistant director of Transformation and Change, said: "We currently publish every single payment made to our suppliers each month and this goes above and beyond the £500 statutory limit set by Government.

"In order to make this information accessible the council produces a list of its top 20 suppliers, and provides this in simple graph form.

"Additionally we publish all salary information for staff who earn above £45,000 pa and publish related travel and expenses payments.

"From a wider open data perspective, the council will be positioned as one of the top authorities in the country for data sharing, when it launches the York Data Mill with neighbourhood local authorities during 2015.

"This will provide a platform for the public, developers and businesses to access the council’s and partners data in order to create evidence bases and applications."