Legal Advice on Councillors' Expenses

Richard Jackson made this Freedom of Information request to Belfast City Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Richard Jackson

Dear Sir or Madam,

In the minutes of the Policy and Resources (Members) Sub-committee of 16th February 2004, under the heading "Local Government Audit Office", it is noted that "the Members' Support Officer should seek legal advice from the Director of Legal Services in relation to the Chief Local Government Auditor's ruling."

Can you please provide a copy of this advice provided, and any subsequent legal advice sought (whether internally or externally) on the matter of Councillors' expenses, as well copies of any further correspondence with the Local Government Auditor's office on the matter of Councillors' expenses (whether in this regard or otherwise), and a pointer to the minutes of any future meetings where any such matters were again considered.

Thank you,

Richard

Richard Jackson

Dear Sir or Madam,

The above query of 4 July has not yet received an answer although 20 working days have now passed. Can you please provide an update on the status of the request?

Thank you,

Richard

Robin Boyd, Belfast City Council

17 Attachments

Dear Mr. Jackson,

Freedom of Information Request - Legal Advice on Councillors' Expenses

I refer to your e-mail of 4th July making the following request:-

"In the minutes of the Policy and Resources (Members) Sub-committee

of 16th February 2004, under the heading "Local Government
Audit

Office", it is noted that "the Members' Support Officer should seek legal
advice from the Director of Legal Services in relation to the Chief Local
Government Auditor's ruling."

Can you please provide a copy of this advice provided, and any

subsequent legal advice sought (whether internally or
externally)

on the matter of Councillors' expenses, as well copies of any

further correspondence with the Local Government Auditor's
office

on the matter of Councillors' expenses (whether in this regard
or

otherwise), and a pointer to the minutes of any future
meetings

where any such matters were again considered."

I can confirm that Belfast City Council does hold the information you have
requested and has decided that it can be disclosed. Accordingly, please
find attached the information you have requested. This comprises a number
of documents the majority of which are extracts from Council minutes.
Included also are letters and legal advice which were not published in
full within the minutes (2c, 5b and 6b), together with one additional
letter from the Local Government Auditor to the Director of Corporate
Services in which an attachment refers to Councillors' Expenses (9). A
complete listing of the documents is attached for your convenience (Index
to Docs).

If you are dissatisfied with how the Council handled your request for
information, you have the right to request that the Council review this
decision. If you wish to do so, please write to the Records Manager,
Belfast City Council, Adelaide Exchange, 24-26 Adelaide Street, Belfast,
BT2 8GD.

Should you remain dissatisfied following the Council's internal review,
you can seek an independent review from the Information Commissioner.
Requests for an independent review should be made in writing to: The
Information Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire,
SK9 5AF. However I would advise you that the Information Commissioner has
indicated that a review will not be undertaken unless the Council has
first had an opportunity to re-consider its decision

Yours sincerely

ROBIN BOYD

Members' Support Officer

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