Elected Members And Pension Funds

Colin Webb made this Freedom of Information request to North East Lincolnshire Council

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, North East Lincolnshire Council should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

From: Colin Webb

10 February 2011

Dear North East Lincolnshire Council,

The previous Government changed rules to allow Councillors to join
a pension fund (Local Government Pension Scheme) if they wished to
do so.

I would be grateful if the Council could inform me of the names (if
any) of all Councillors who have exercised their wish to join a
pension fund.

Additionally, I would also be grateful if you could inform me as to
the exact amount of council taxpayers money (if any) paid to date
into each elected member's pension fund.

Yours faithfully,

Colin Webb

Link to this

From: PPD - FOI
North East Lincolnshire Council

11 February 2011

Dear Mr Webb

I am pleased to acknowledge your request for information received on 10
February 2011, which has been allocated the reference number 20110233.

Your request has been passed to the relevant department for processing
and you can expect your response within the 20 working day limit. If it
will take us longer than 20 working days to respond to you, we will
inform you of this and provide you with the expected date for receiving
the response.

Further information about how we will deal with your Freedom of
Information requests is available on our website at:
http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council-and-de...
dom-of-information/

Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or
assistance quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Freedom of Information Officer
North East Lincolnshire Council

-----Original Message-----
From: Colin Webb [mailto:[FOI #61749 email]]
Sent: 10 February 2011 16:48
To: PPD - FOI
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Elected Members And Pension
Funds

Dear North East Lincolnshire Council,

The previous Government changed rules to allow Councillors to join
a pension fund (Local Government Pension Scheme) if they wished to
do so.

I would be grateful if the Council could inform me of the names (if
any) of all Councillors who have exercised their wish to join a
pension fund.

Additionally, I would also be grateful if you could inform me as to
the exact amount of council taxpayers money (if any) paid to date
into each elected member's pension fund.

Yours faithfully,

Colin Webb

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From: PPD - FOI
North East Lincolnshire Council

21 February 2011

Dear Mr Webb

Thank you for your request under the Freedom of Information Act made on
10 February 2011, reference number 20110233.

I can confirm that North East Lincolnshire Council holds the information
you have requested.

We have considered your request for the names of each councillor who has
exercised their right to join the pension fund and the amount the council
has contributed to each councillor's pension fund, and deem that this is
personal information of a third party and therefore exempt from disclosure
by virtue of section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Act 2000. Section 40 (2)
provides an exemption to the disclosure of information which is personal
data of a third party, where disclosure would breach one of the principles
contained within the Data Protection Act.

The Data Protection Act 1998 defines personal information as 'data which
relates to a living individual who can be identified a) from those data,
or b) from that data and other information which is in the possession of,
or is likely to come into the possession of, the data controller'. We are
satisfied that disclosure of the councillor's name would allow them to be
identified.

The information would therefore be exempt from disclosure if either of the
conditions set out in sections 40 (3) or 40 (4) of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 are met. The relevant condition in this case is at
section 40 (3) (a) (i), where disclosure would breach any of the Data
Protection Principles, set out in schedule 1 of the Data Protection Act
1998.

We have considered the eight Principles and conclude that disclosure of
the information would breach the first Principle, which states that
'Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully'. In concluding that
disclosure of the requested information would contravene the first Data
Protection Principle, I have taken the following factors into account:

1. The purpose for which North East Lincolnshire Council obtained and
holds the information requested.

2. The third party's reasonable and legitimate expectations of what would
and should happen to their personal information.

Having considered the information involved and the purposes for which it
was obtained, I am satisfied that it is exempt from disclosure under
section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 by virtue of section
40 (3) (a) (i). As this is an absolute exemption there is no statutory
requirement to consider the public interest.

As we have determined that disclosure of the information would be unfair
to a third party, we have not considered whether any of the other Data
Protection Principles would be breached by the disclosure of the
information requested.

We have further considered if the information could be provided to you in
an aggregated form, which would not identify the third party. We are
satisfied that providing aggregated data will prevent individuals from
being identified, and that this can be provided to you.

Councillors first became eligible to join the Councillors Local Government
Pension Scheme on 01 October 2006. Since that date, a total of 14
councillors have joined the scheme, however only 11 of those are currently
making contributions. The total cost of the Council's "employer
contributions" for all 14 councillors from 01 October 2006 to 31 March
2011 is £158,628.

If you are unhappy with the response you have received, you have the right
to request an internal review by the Council. If following this you are
still dissatisfied you may contact the Office of the Information
Commissioner. If you wish to request an internal review, please contact me
and I will make the necessary arrangements.

Yours sincerely

Paul Ellis
Corporate Records and Information Manager
North East Lincolnshire Council

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

P Reduce your environmental footprint, please do not print this
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This
electronic message contains information from North East Lincolnshire Council
which may be privileged or confidential. The information is intended to be for
the use of the individual(s) or entity named above. If you are not the intended
recipient be aware that any disclosure, copying, distribution or use of the
contents of this information is prohibited. If you have received this
electronic message in error, please telephone or email the number(s) or address
above immediately. Activity and use of the North East Lincolnshire email system
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From: Colin Webb

21 February 2011

Dear North East Lincolnshire Council,

Thank you for your response.

However, I believe my request for information made to the Council
has not been dealt with in accordance with the requirements of Part
1 of the Act.

Consequently, I request an internal review.

Yours sincerely,

Colin Webb

Link to this

From: PPD - FOI
North East Lincolnshire Council

22 February 2011

Dear Mr Webb

Thank you for your email of 21 February 2011 requesting an internal review of the response received for your Freedom of Information request relating Elected Members and Pension Funds.

This has been passed to the relevant department for processing and your review will be with you in due course.

Yours sincerely

Freedom of Information Officer
North East Lincolnshire Council

-----Original Message-----
From: Colin Webb [mailto:[FOI #61749 email]]
Sent: 21 February 2011 16:10
To: PPD - FOI
Subject: Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Elected Members And Pension Funds

Dear North East Lincolnshire Council,

Thank you for your response.

However, I believe my request for information made to the Council
has not been dealt with in accordance with the requirements of Part
1 of the Act.

Consequently, I request an internal review.

Yours sincerely,

Colin Webb

-----Original Message-----

Dear Mr Webb

Thank you for your request under the Freedom of Information Act
made on
10 February 2011, reference number 20110233.

I can confirm that North East Lincolnshire Council holds the
information
you have requested.

We have considered your request for the names of each councillor
who has
exercised their right to join the pension fund and the amount the
council
has contributed to each councillor's pension fund, and deem that
this is
personal information of a third party and therefore exempt from
disclosure
by virtue of section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Act 2000. Section 40
(2)
provides an exemption to the disclosure of information which is
personal
data of a third party, where disclosure would breach one of the
principles
contained within the Data Protection Act.

The Data Protection Act 1998 defines personal information as 'data
which
relates to a living individual who can be identified a) from those
data,
or b) from that data and other information which is in the
possession of,
or is likely to come into the possession of, the data controller'.
We are
satisfied that disclosure of the councillor's name would allow
them to be
identified.

The information would therefore be exempt from disclosure if
either of the
conditions set out in sections 40 (3) or 40 (4) of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 are met. The relevant condition in this case
is at
section 40 (3) (a) (i), where disclosure would breach any of the
Data
Protection Principles, set out in schedule 1 of the Data
Protection Act
1998.

We have considered the eight Principles and conclude that
disclosure of
the information would breach the first Principle, which states
that
'Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully'. In
concluding that
disclosure of the requested information would contravene the first
Data
Protection Principle, I have taken the following factors into
account:

1. The purpose for which North East Lincolnshire Council obtained
and
holds the information requested.

2. The third party's reasonable and legitimate expectations of
what would
and should happen to their personal information.

Having considered the information involved and the purposes for
which it
was obtained, I am satisfied that it is exempt from disclosure
under
section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 by virtue of
section
40 (3) (a) (i). As this is an absolute exemption there is no
statutory
requirement to consider the public interest.

As we have determined that disclosure of the information would be
unfair
to a third party, we have not considered whether any of the other
Data
Protection Principles would be breached by the disclosure of the
information requested.

We have further considered if the information could be provided to
you in
an aggregated form, which would not identify the third party. We
are
satisfied that providing aggregated data will prevent individuals
from
being identified, and that this can be provided to you.

Councillors first became eligible to join the Councillors Local
Government
Pension Scheme on 01 October 2006. Since that date, a total of 14
councillors have joined the scheme, however only 11 of those are
currently
making contributions. The total cost of the Council's "employer
contributions" for all 14 councillors from 01 October 2006 to 31
March
2011 is £158,628.

If you are unhappy with the response you have received, you have
the right
to request an internal review by the Council. If following this
you are
still dissatisfied you may contact the Office of the Information
Commissioner. If you wish to request an internal review, please
contact me
and I will make the necessary arrangements.

Yours sincerely

Paul Ellis
Corporate Records and Information Manager
North East Lincolnshire Council

-------------------------------------------------------------------
Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be
published on the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offic...

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #61749 email]

If you find WhatDoTheyKnow useful as an FOI officer, please ask
your web manager to suggest us on your organisation's FOI page.
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<p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>This
electronic message contains information from North East Lincolnshire Council
which may be privileged or confidential. The information is intended to be for
the use of the individual(s) or entity named above. If you are not the intended
recipient be aware that any disclosure, copying, distribution or use of the
contents of this information is prohibited. If you have received this
electronic message in error, please telephone or email the number(s) or address
above immediately. Activity and use of the North East Lincolnshire email system
is monitored to secure its effective operation and for other lawful business
purposes. Communications using this system will also be monitored and may be
recorded to secure effective operation and for other lawful business purposes.
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From: PPD - FOI
North East Lincolnshire Council

2 March 2011

Dear Mr Webb,

An Internal Review has taken place following your request of February 21st
2011, into North East Lincolnshire Council's handling of your
information request 20110233.

Background

Your original request was made on February 10th 2011, and asked for the
names of all North East Lincolnshire Councillors who had exercised their
right to join the Local Government Pension Scheme and the contribution
paid into each member's pension fund by North East Lincolnshire Council.

The Council responded to your request on February 21st 2011, confirming
that it held the information requested but as the information was personal
information relating to third parties it was exempt from disclosure by
virtue of section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act. The Council
did however consider that the information you had requested could be
provided to you in a summarised form, and provided the following:

Councillors first became eligible to join the Local Government Pension
Scheme on 01 October 2006. Since that date, a total of 14 councillors have
joined the scheme, however only 11 of those are currently making
contributions. The total cost of the Council's "employer contributions"
for all 14 councillors from 01 October 2006 to 31 March 2011 is
£158,628.

Review

I have reviewed the response provided to you on February 21st 2011, and
concluded that North East Lincolnshire Council has met its
responsibilities to you under the Freedom of Information Act, namely

* To inform you whether or not the information is held by North East
Lincolnshire Council;
* To comply with the request within the statutory time of 20 working
days;
* To explain why the information cannot be supplied to you; and
* To provide you with the information we can disclose in response to
your request.

I have reviewed the Council's application of an exemption to the
disclosure of the information you have asked for under section 40 (2) of
the Freedom of Information Act. As detailed in your response Section 40
(2) provides an exemption to the disclosure of information which is
personal data of a third party. As the information you have requested
asked for the name of each Councillor who had exercised their right to
join the Local Government Pension Scheme and the contribution paid into
their pension fund by North East Lincolnshire Council, I am satisfied that
the Council have correctly deemed that the information asked for is
personal information of a third person as defined by the Data Protection
Act, and from which they can be identified.

After deeming that the information requested is personal information,
before applying the exemption the Council correctly considered if either
of the conditions set out in sections 40 (3) or 40 (4) of the Freedom of
Information Act was met. In relation to your request the Council
considered that section 40 (3) (a) (i) was met, that disclosure would
breach one of the Data Protection Principles, set out in schedule 1 of the
Data Protection Act. The principle identified that would be breached by
disclosure was the 1st principle, which states 'Personal data shall be
processed fairly and lawfully'. In coming to this conclusion the Council
considered the following factors 1) the purpose for which the information
was obtained and held, and 2) the third party's reasonable and legitimate
expectations of what would and should happen to their personal
information.

I have therefore considered whether section 40 (3) (a) (i) of the Freedom
of Information Act has been met by the Council . It must be acknowledged
that individuals who undertake a public role such as that of a Councillor
should expect a greater level of scrutiny of their activities,
particularly in relation to any remuneration they receive. As part of this
scrutiny and to ensure transparency, accountability and value for money,
details of the allowances and expenses claimed by Councillors are
routinely published. I have therefore considered whether the pension
arrangements of Councillors should also be published to support
transparency, accountability and value for money in the use of public
funds. The membership criteria for Councillors to the Local Government
Pension Scheme and the associated contributions and benefits are clearly
set out and published on the LGPS website
([1]http://www.lgps.org.uk/lge/core/page.do?...), with an independent
review of the contribution to the scheme from public funds undertaken on a
three yearly basis. I am therefore satisfied that the transparency
arrangements and controls currently in place for the scheme, already
provide a clear understanding of the scheme and allow public scrutiny to
ensure the effective use of public funds. The summary information
disclosed to you detailing the number of Councillors who had exercised
their right to join the scheme and the total contribution made by the
Council to the scheme on their behalf since its commencement, along with
the information already available in the public domain provides sufficient
detail to ensure accountability and transparency of the scheme and allows
effective scrutiny to ensure value for money is achieved in the use of
public funds within North East Lincolnshire. The disclosure of the names
of the individual Councillors and the contribution made by the Council on
their behalf to the scheme, would therefore represent unwarranted and
disproportionate interference into the privacy of those individuals
identified and would breach their rights under the 1st principle of the
Data Protection Act requiring fair and lawful processing of their personal
information. I am therefore satisfied that the Council have shown that
section 40 (3) (a) (i) of the Freedom of Information Act has been met.

Summary

I am satisfied that North East Lincolnshire Council has handled your
request in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act in terms of
timeliness, confirming that the information is held, communicating the
information you have requested and providing an explanation where the
information cannot be provided to you. I am further satisfied that the
application of an exemption under section 40 (2) of the Freedom of
Information Act to the disclosure of the information you have requested
has been properly considered and applied by the Council.

I trust that the internal review has clarified why the information you
have requested is exempt from disclosure and that your request was handled
in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act. If you remain
dissatisfied with the Council's handling of your request, you can request
an independent review by contacting the Information Commissioner's Office
at:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF

Telephone 08456 306060 or 01625 545745

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council
 
Paul Ellis
Corporate Records and Information Manager
North East Lincolnshire Council

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

P Reduce your environmental footprint, please do not print this
email unless you really need to.

This
electronic message contains information from North East Lincolnshire Council
which may be privileged or confidential. The information is intended to be for
the use of the individual(s) or entity named above. If you are not the intended
recipient be aware that any disclosure, copying, distribution or use of the
contents of this information is prohibited. If you have received this
electronic message in error, please telephone or email the number(s) or address
above immediately. Activity and use of the North East Lincolnshire email system
is monitored to secure its effective operation and for other lawful business
purposes. Communications using this system will also be monitored and may be
recorded to secure effective operation and for other lawful business purposes.
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References

Visible links
1. http://www.lgps.org.uk/lge/core/page.do?...

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From: Colin Webb

2 March 2011

Dear North East Lincolnshire Council,

The Council's internal review has determined that disclosure of
information concerning the elected members would be unfair to them
and have therefore not considered whether any of the other Data
Protection Principles would be breached by the disclosure of the
information requested. However, it appears from the content of the
Council’s response that they have not appropriately considered the
following issues:

1) whether the elected members explicitly refused consent to the
disclosure of the requested information;

2) the elected members reasonable expectations of what would happen
to their personal data in respect of their participation in the
LGPS; and

3) how the disclosure of the elected members names and
contributions made by the Council on their behalf to the LGPS would
cause unwarranted and disproportionate interference into the
privacy of those elected members.

Without this information, it is not possible to conclude how
disclosure of the requested information would be indeed unfair to
the elected members whilst balancing the legitimate interests of
the public.

Even if the elected members concerned decided to withhold their
personal data it must be made quite clear it was they who made a
choice as to whether or not they participated in the LGPS. The
Council have for a long time made elected member allowances paid
from public funds open to public scrutiny, which reveal their names
and the types and amounts of those allowances:

http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/GetAsset.aspx?...

An elected member can chose to accept an allowance or can decline
it. In choosing to accept an allowance, the elected member receives
a benefit paid from public funds. This is comparable to the
position concerning membership of the LGPS in terms of the type of
personal information it reveals.

The requested information relates primarily to the elected members
public lives and does not intrude significantly on their private
and family lives. Additionally, there is no evidence to suggest
that disclosure would compromise their personal safety or otherwise
be likely to cause unwarranted interference (or prejudice) to their
rights, freedoms and legitimate interests.

Furthermore, I now understand the Information Commissioner has
already made a decision in similar matters and upheld that
processing of information, concerning elected members names and
contributions made by a local authority on their behalf to the
LGPS, was indeed fair.

As of consequence, I will now submit a complaint to the Information
Commissioner as the Council is not entitled to rely on section
40(2) and as a result is now breaching section 1(1)(b) and section
10(1) of the Act.

Yours sincerely,

Colin Webb

Link to this

From: PPD - FOI
North East Lincolnshire Council

30 August 2011

Dear Mr Webb

Your request 20110233, asked for the names of all North East Lincolnshire
Councillors who had exercised their right to join the Local Government
Pension Scheme and the contribution paid into each member's pension fund
by North East Lincolnshire Council. I can confirm that we hold this
information, which is available on our website at
[1]http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council-and-de...

If you are unhappy with the response you have received, you have the right
to request an internal review by the Council. If following this you are
still dissatisfied you may contact the Office of the Information
Commissioner. If you wish to request an internal review, please contact me
and I will make the necessary arrangements.

Yours sincerely

Paul Ellis
Corporate Records and Information Manager
North East Lincolnshire Council

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

P Reduce your environmental footprint, please do not print this
email unless you really need to.

This
electronic message contains information from North East Lincolnshire Council
which may be privileged or confidential. The information is intended to be for
the use of the individual(s) or entity named above. If you are not the intended
recipient be aware that any disclosure, copying, distribution or use of the
contents of this information is prohibited. If you have received this
electronic message in error, please telephone or email the number(s) or address
above immediately. Activity and use of the North East Lincolnshire email system
is monitored to secure its effective operation and for other lawful business
purposes. Communications using this system will also be monitored and may be
recorded to secure effective operation and for other lawful business purposes.
Scanned by Anti Virus Software

References

Visible links
1. http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council-and-de...

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Neil Gilliatt left an annotation (31 August 2011)

Quote-marks The following information resides on North East Lincolnshire Council's website and linked to in the above Council's email of 30 August.

"LOCAL GOVERNMENT PENSION SCHEME

Since October 1st 2006, Councillors have been able to join the Local Government Pension Scheme. The Councillors of North East Lincolnshire who have exercised this right are listed below along with the contribution made by the Council towards their pension fund for the period October 1st 2006 and March 31st 2011.

COUNCILLOR / CONTRIBUTION

PK Bailey ..........£1,195.70
PM Barker .........£6,519.15
KC Brookes .......£19,364.36
P Burgess .........£13,160.05
JB Colebrook .....£9,515.00
IB Colquhhoun ...£10,255.15
A De Freitas .....£24,346.33
P Elliott ............£7,509.80
S Hocknell .......£6,524.28
P Jackson ........£12,801.60
AT McCabe ......£17,851.29
M Morland .......£11,034.32
SJ Norton ........£5,268.08
MJ Vickers .......£13,282.93"

Has anyone any idea why the figures differ so drastically?

Maybe:

• The length of time they've been in the Scheme?
• Salary linked?
• Related to, or a percentage of any personal contributions?

Link to this

Colin Webb left an annotation (31 August 2011)

Quote-marks Hi Neil

The information you refer to was finally disclosed by North East Lincolnshire Council after the ICO intervened following my complaint to them in respect of my information request.

Link to this

Neil Gilliatt left an annotation (31 August 2011)

Quote-marks Hi Colin

I've just read again my comments above and can understand why you would think the details I'd posted would imply that the information was already available.

This unfortunately was just the way it came across and I realise these details were finally disclosed, obviously because of your persistence.

I just wondered if anyone had any idea why the figures differ so drastically.

By the way, well done for achieving this result. I think we are entitled to know where our council tax goes.

Link to this

George Cant left an annotation ( 1 September 2011)

Quote-marks Hi

I presume the difference is becuase ADF and Crooks were leaders and paid more for there roles, probebly a % each year of there incomefom the council.

What i am wandering is, were is khan, what pension scheem was he and the others on.

Looking at the names on this list, its a bit of a rouges gallery,

Link to this

Neil Gilliatt left an annotation ( 1 September 2011)

Quote-marks The one whose name rhymes with "Eggy Marriott", was only last week demonstrating her outrage on a radio interview about how unfair it was that those committing benefit fraud in North East Lincolnshire were stealing from the majority of law abiding council taxpayers.

I'm not in support of benefit cheats, but isn't this also taking from the taxpayer?

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