Thursday 1 October 2009

Barnet Council in secret £250,000 payoff probe

Documents seen by Don’t Call Me Dave claim that an officer, sacked by the council in 2008, received a secret payoff of £250,000 cash plus a gold plated pension.

According to the figures, the officer in question allegedly received:
  • £61,000 severance payment
  • £75,000 in lieu of notice and holidays
  • £106,000 lump sum pension
  • £36,700 annual pension
And for good measure the council apparently wrote off a car loan of £7,000.

A spokesman for the council refused to confirm or deny whether these figures were accurate, citing sections 40(5) and 41(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, which exempts certain categories of personal and confidential information from publication.

However, the Information Commissioner’s Guidance Notes relating to exemptions states:
“It may also be relevant to think about the seniority of staff: the more senior a person is the less likely it will be that to disclose information about him or her acting in an official capacity would be unfair.”
In a case three years ago, the Commissioner added:
“The Commissioner recognises that there may be circumstances where it would be legitimate to release information of this nature relating to the unexpected retirement of a senior official at a public authority.”
A request has therefore been submitted to the Information Commissioner to force Barnet Council to come clean about this particular case and that of one other senior officer who was also sacked.

Even if the above figures are incorrect, the public has an absolute right to know how much is being paid to senior council officers who are sacked because of work related issues. As Conservative Party Leader David Cameron recently made clear; the culture of rewarding failure must come to an end.

Please note that any comments left on this blog naming the officer will be removed.

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