On 17th June 2010 under the Freedom of Information Act Peterborough City Council were asked to update the list of Members Allowances and publish the current figures for who gets what.
On 21st June they responded as follows:
Your request for information has now been considered and I am not obliged
to supply the information you have requested:
“Please provide a current list of Members’ Allowances in the form
councillor exact responsibility amount payable for 2009/10 as you publish
for 2008/9 on your website”
This information is due to be published by Peterborough City Council by
August 2010. In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 this
correspondence acts as a Refusal Notice.
The exemption applied is Section 22 of the Act which states that a public
authority is not obliged to provide information which intended for
publication at a future date.
This exemption applies because the information requested will be published
by the authority at a future date in the `library’ subsection of the democracy’ pages of the Council’s web site.
This is information which should be kept up to date. In fact they publish an annual snapshot, historical data, no longer true and accurate. They would say they publish this information, but in fact they don’t. They publish out of date information. It is difficult to see how Council justify refusing to state clearly which councillors have which responsibilities and allowances. How can this be a secret?
They gave the same reason for refusing to publish top salaries. And they declined the FOI request for spend on consultancy. Now they’ve done it again with Members’ Allowances. There’s a climate of secrecy operating at Peterborough City Council. One can only assume they have a reason to conceal this simple piece of information. It’s not a state secret. I wonder what that reason is.
Note: this pm 22nd June 2010 Council has placed their decision under review. One can only hope for a triumph of common sense. They say that in a worst case scenario the review could take forty days, coincidentally delaying the publication of the information until August! Surely not ..
Note 19th July 2010: Peterborough Council have published some docs which contain the information required if you’re prepared to dig deep. They refused the FOI request itself. You could say they don’t want to give information out at all, but if they have to then they prefer to do it in their own time and in a form which suits them.