Senior salary information

Katie M. made this Freedom of Information request to Liverpool 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 refused by Liverpool City Council.

Dear Liverpool City Council,

Could you please let me have the information on employee salaries and responsibilities you were required to publish by 31 January 2011 under Regulation 4 of the Accounts and Audit (Amendment No.2) (England) Regulations 2009 [SI 2009 No. 3322], including those employees of the Council seconded to other organisations. This information does not appear to be available on the Council website.

Yours faithfully,

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

We are required to publish senior officer remuneration in our statement
of accounts which are published on the internet on the link below

http://liverpool.gov.uk/council/performa...
ance/statement-of-accounts/

The first year this applied to was 2009/10 and the 2010/11 information
will be published next month

I trust this information satisfies your enquiry

Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[email address]

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Dear Mr. Symm,

Thank you for your prompt response.
The page in your link no longer exists, but I was able to find the information you refer to on the Council website.
However, this is not actually the information I asked for in my request (information you were required to publish in January 2011 relating to employees as at November 2010).
Could you also please clarify whether or not details of those Liverpool City Council employees seconded to other organisations, including Liverpool Direct, are included in the statements of accounts you refer to.
If such details are not included, would you please provide them.

Yours sincerely,

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

I can confirm that this information is not included in the statement of
accounts

I trust this information satisfies your enquiry

Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[email address]

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Dear Mr Symm,

Thank you for the clarification, but this does not satisfy my enquiry.
You are required to provide details of all LCC employees on salaries over 50,000 by band, and all those on over 150,000 are to be named.
Seconded employees are still LCC employees, and as such you are required to publish these details.
My original request was clear - I would be most grateful if you would provide the missing information within the deadline for my original request (25 July).

Cordially

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

Can you confirm whether or not the following questions would be
acceptable to you to be treated as a formal request for information
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000?

1. Details of all LCC employees on salaries over 50,000 by band, and the
names of all those on over 150,000.

2. The same details of those Liverpool City Council employees seconded
to other organisations, including Liverpool Direct

If so please let me know and I will log your request accordingly

Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[email address]

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Dear Mr. Symm,

Yes, this is a formal request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 - to be honest I thought I'd made that clear in my initial request (I specified the legal provision under which the information had to be released, which has in fact been recently clarified by the Information Commissioner, as I am sure you are aware).
In any event, I look forward to receiving the information I requested.

Cordially

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

I didn't log the request formally as I was hoping to respond under
Business as Usual as I assumed the information you requested was already
in the public domain and I wanted to get the information to you as
quickly as possible.

As you have informed me that this information is not what you require I
will now deal with your request formally and respond accordingly

Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[email address]

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Kevin Symm, Liverpool City Council

1 Attachment

Please find attached acknowledgement letter

Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[1][email address]

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Dear Mr. Symm,

May I remind you that I should have received this information by 2 August 2011 - which was yesterday. Could you please explain what the problem is?

Sincerely

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

I write regarding your recent request made under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000

Unfortunately we will be unable to provide our response within the
statutory 20 working day time frame.

We are currently gathering as much relevant information as we can, then
transferring it into a more practical format. This process is almost
complete and we are looking to respond to you shortly

As soon as our response is complete I will ensure they are sent to you
as quickly as possible.

Please accept my apologies for this delay and if I can be of any further
assistance please do not hesitate in contacting me.

Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[email address]

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Kevin Symm, Liverpool City Council

2 Attachments

Please find attached response

Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[1][email address]

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References

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Dear Mr. Symm,

This is not the information I asked for, and is for all intents and purposes a refusal to provide information that you are legally required to publish, in appropriate detail.
You are surely aware that Liverpool City Council, like every other local authority in the country, is bound by the provisions of Regulation 4 of the Accounts and Audit (Amendment No.2) (England) Regulations 2009 [SI 2009 No. 3322, which introduced a legal requirement to report the remuneration of senior employees to increase transparency and accountability in Local Government.
This information should have been published several months ago, so I doubt that the time it might take to compile it can be used as a reason for not providing it at this stage. Especially as extracting information from individual HR files seems an extraordinary and inefficient way to compile information on pay, since you must have payroll software listing all employee salary and pension details.
So I would ask you to review your decision, perhaps after consulting the clear and helpful guidance on how to comply with this requirement that is published on the website of the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Whether you do this yourself, or feel an internal review process is necessary, is up to you. I certainly will be complaining to my councillor, my Member of Parliament, as well as to the Information Commissioner, if you do not provide this information without further delay.

Cordially

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

Please accept this email as formal acknowledgement of your request for
an internal review

As response will be provided to you as soon as possible

Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[email address]

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Dear Mr Symm,

You will be aware that the Information Commissioner's guidance recommends that internal reviews be completed within 20 working days.
This period has now elapsed. Would you please explain what is taking so long?

Yours sincerely,

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

Your response is being worked on and will be with you as soon as
possible

Please accept my apologies for this delay

Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[email address]

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Katie M. left an annotation ()

Dear Mr Symm,

A couple of points that the internal review may wish to consider to avoid further delay and a complaint to the Information Commissioner:
even assuming that it is not possible to obtain the information I requested by interrogating your HR/payroll database (and I don't actually believe this), it would be a simple matter to check the salary and pension details of the chief executives and other senior senior staff of joint ventures and associates to which LCC has seconded staff. This would be a start;
the second point is to remind you that the IC has issued guidance making it clear that extracting information from databases is not "creating information", so this excuse cannot be used.

Cordially

Catherine Byrne

Dear Mr Symm,

A couple of points that the internal review may wish to consider to avoid further delay and a complaint to the Information Commissioner:
even assuming that it is not possible to obtain the information I requested by interrogating your HR/payroll database (and I don't actually believe this), it would be a simple matter to check the salary and pension details of the chief executives and other senior senior staff of joint ventures and associates to which LCC has seconded staff. This would be a start;
the second point is to remind you that the IC has issued guidance making it clear that extracting information from databases is not "creating information", so this excuse cannot be used.

Cordially

Catherine Byrne

Kevin Symm, Liverpool City Council

1 Attachment

Please find attached response
Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[1][email address]

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References

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mailto:[email address]

john smith left an annotation ()

Perhaps the Council is legally entitled to refuse to disclose this information. I'm not a lawyer, so I couldn't comment on the legal technicalities. What I do know is that they are not morally entitled. This is OUR money, OUR taxes, and we're being denied even the most modest knowledge of where our money is going.

Katie, I hope that you will challenge this.

Katie M. left an annotation ()

Yes, I am complaining to the IC.
The definition of a senior officer who has to be named is quite narrow, so possibly they don't have to actually name the people on over 150,000 in the various "partners" - Enterprise, LDL etc. But worth clarifying.
But they do have to provide the info on all employees over 50,000, in bands of 5,000, irrespective of whether or not they are secondees. This would inevitably include all the senior management of LDL, with the exception of the operations person (people) who are paid by BT.
In his response on 1 July, Kevin Symm stated that this info was not included in the published information. So I cannot see how this is compliant with the legal requirements. Unless they are saying that these people are not LCC employees, in which case who is their employer and why do their salaries appear in the LDL accounts as money paid to LCC?
Presumably they are relying on the "it would take too long to extract the information" excuse they offered in August. Which, as I have already pointed out, is risible.

john smith left an annotation ()

Katie,

I'm pleased that you are referring this to the ICO. The ICO's punitive powers are, well, puny - it seems that the worst that can happen is a ticking-off and a spell on the naughty step.

Perhaps as FOI becomes more embedded in our public sector culture we will see more responsive approaches from councils and other bodies. I certainly hope so.

Please let us all know of the ICO's findings. I feel that this needs the widest possible coverage, both within Liverpool and nationally, and would be happy to assist with bringing this to the attention of elected representatives and media.

Jenny Griffin left an annotation ()

Hear hear. We should acknowledge that this is public money - our hard-earned cash. I appreciate that people are entitled to their privacy, and I wouldn't wish to embarrass anybody, but the air of secrecy which surrounds the council and its partner worries me.

Katie M. left an annotation ()

The punitive powers of the ICO have seemed puny to date, but they have certainly caused massive and beneficial embarrassment.
But they have other powers - the ICO can actually apply to a judge for a warrant to enter premises to access information that is being withheld deliberately - they don't seem to have used this power so far, but there's always a first time.

Mr and Mrs Batista left an annotation ()

Dear Ms Byrne,

Having read through the above correspondence between yourself and the Liverpool City Council, regarding trying to find the salaries of their Chief and Senior Executives, I am outraged with their avoidance tactics.

This is information they should provide when requested and should be readily available in the public domain. I recommend that you contact the media, such as the ITV and BBC News (or even BBC Watchdog), with all the correspondence that you have received from Liverpool City Council regarding this matter.

I am sure many of their viewers would be highly interested in the way these Senior elected Public Council Officials in Liverpool flout the law and their responsibility for transparency, by ignoring your repeated requests. I imagine it is the same situation in many large cities around the Country, where these senior elected officials are far too highly paid, at a time where ordinary Council workers are losing jobs and Council services are being cut severely (as an example, social services support for the disabled and elderly, where the money used paying these fat-cat salaries would be better spent).

Kind regards,

Mr and Ms Batista

dh left an annotation ()

I would dispute he original refusal statement that it would take over 18 hours to obtain the seconded personnel information.If the request was specifically for seconded personnel whose payroll data is held by LDL then this would be a small fraction of 18 hours as it would just involve a minor amendment to the original program that was used to obtain the information for non seconded personnel. To obtain this information would however involve an approach to either HR or IT both of whom come under LDL

Katie M. left an annotation ()

Yes, dh - you've hit the nail on the head.
It is clear that LDL considers itself a law unto itself. So much for joint ventures - LCC has no control at all and has to accept whatever it's given, in the way of information.
But if they do not accept that their original employer - LCC - has any control over what they do, then this clearly shows that they are not LCC seconded employees any more, because being seconded means a bit more than just being paid through your original employer. With all that that implies. No more having your (LA pension) cake and (private sector) eating it.