Thursday, 20 April 2017

Glasgow and Equal Pay



I said in a recent post that I would be submitting an appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) over Glasgow City Council's refusal to confirm whether a senior official's leaving package benefited from 'added years'. 

So here is my letter of appeal to SIC and if you ask me, the City Council has a real cheek in refusing to disclose this information.

I suspect the answer is that when it comes to boosting people's pensions with 'added years' senior officials are treated more generously than the council's foot-soldiers, but let's see what SIC has to say.    


  


 10 April 2017

Dear Ms Agnew

Glasgow City Council (GCC) – FOISA Appeal

I enclose an exchange of correspondence with Glasgow City Council (GCC) regarding a FOISA enquiry I initiated with the council on 15 February 2017. 

I asked for a review of GCC’s initial response on 16 March 2017, but I am dissatisfied with the council's answer and refusal to provide me with the information I requested regarding a senior official's leaving package. 

I would, therefore, like to register an appeal with the Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) for the following reasons: 
  1. The information I requested relates to GCC as an employer and, specifically, the council's ability to use its discretionary powers to award extra 'added years' to boost the value of an employee's leaving package.
  2. An employer's decision to use its discretion in this way represents a cost to the public purse - one which is borne by the council alone and not the individual employee.
  3. In its response to my Review Request, the council raises a number of 'red herring' points about 'employee contributions' and 'opting into or out of the scheme', but these are completely bogus arguments because they have no bearing on the employer's ability, or otherwise, to award 'added years'. 
  4. I reject the council's assertion that I do not have a legitimate interest in the matter. As a publicly minded citizen and Glasgow council tax payer, I believe I am perfectly entitled to know how Scotland's largest council is spending public funds.
  5. I also believe that the council has a duty to ensure that its most senior, highly paid officials are not treated any more favourably than other council employees.
  6. If GCC did not award 'added years' to this official's leaving package, then the council should have answered 'No' in its initial response and the matter would simply have ended there.
  7. If GCC had any genuine concern about an employee's personal data, the council should have answered "Yes, Mr Drummond' was awarded 'X' number of added years to his leaving package, but we decline to provide further details as we believe this information constitutes personal data" - leaving the matter open to a further appeal (by me) to the Scottish Information Commissioner.
  8. Instead GCC has chosen to obfuscate and conceal whether or not its powers of discretion were used in the case of its Executive Director of Corporate Services who was, I believe, the author of the original 'redundancy and retirement' report. 
  9. In my view, GCC does not have a legitimate reason for withholding this information and I suspect the real motive behind its refusal to answer this particular aspect of my FoI request is a desire to shield the council from criticism over its use of public money. 
I look forward to hearing from you in due course and if you require any further details or clarification at this stage, please contact me by e-mail at markirvine@compuserve.com


Kind regards



Mark Irvine 

List of enclosures x 4

1 Original FOISA request to GCC dated 15 February 2017
2 Initial response from GCC dated 15 March 2009
3 Review Request letter to GCC dated 16 March 2017
4 Final response letter from GCCC dated 7 April 2017


Enclosure 1 - Original FOISA Request dated 1 February 2017

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Irvine <markirvine@compuserve.com>
To: annemarie.odonnell <annemarie.odonnell@ced.glasgow.gov.uk>
Sent: Wed, Feb 15, 2017 4:04 pm
Subject: FoI Request




15 February 2017


Annemarie O'Donnell
Chief Executive
Glasgow City Council


Dear Ms O'Donnell
FOISA Request
I would like to make the following request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. 
I refer to the article in The Telegraph newspaper dated 25 April 2012 which reported the remuneration package of Ian Drummond (in the previous year) as £450,628.

I understand that Mr Drummond left the City Council's employment in 2010-11 and that the figure of £450,628 will have represented a 'leaving package'.

I would be grateful if you could:  
  1. Provide me with a breakdown of the £450,628 figure into its component parts, i.e annual salary, pension payments etc 
  2. Explain the basis of the 'compensation for loss of office' payment and how this payment was calculated
  3. Confirm whether Mr Drummond's remuneration package benefited from any discretionary payments, e.g. 'added years' under the Local Government Pension Scheme
I look forward to your reply and would be grateful if you could respond to me by e-mail at: markirvine@compuserve.com
Kind regards
Mark Irvine 


Mobile - 07947 795222


Enclosure 2 - GCC's Initial Response to my FOISA request 
  

-----Original Message-----
From: Dickson, John (Revenues) (Revenues) <John.Dickson@glasgow.gov.uk>
Sent: Wed, Mar 15, 2017 3:36 pm
Subject: FOI request

Financial Services
Glasgow City Council
Room 10
City Chambers,
Glasgow  G2
Phone 0141 287 8186
Fax 0141 287 9568
Corporate Services
Glasgow City Council
City Chambers
George Square
Glasgow   G2  1DU

Phone 0141 287 8186

Fax 0141 287 4575


Date  15 March 2017
Mr Mark Irvine

Sent by email to: markirvine@compuserve.com
Dear Mr Irvine,  

Freedom Of Information  Request

I refer to your Freedom of Information request received on 16 February 2017 requesting that the following information be provided to you:
“I understand that Mr Drummond left the City Council's employment in 2010-11 and that the figure of £450,628 will have represented a 'leaving package'.
I would be grateful if you could:  
1.         Provide me with a breakdown of the £450,628 figure into its component parts, i.e annual salary, pension payments etc 
2.         Explain the basis of the 'compensation for loss of office' payment and how this payment was calculated
3.         Confirm whether Mr Drummond's remuneration package benefited from any discretionary payments, e.g. 'added years' under the Local Government Pension Scheme”
The Council is treating your request as a request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.
Please note, some of the information which you have requested is, in our opinion, exempt from a request under section 1 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 because of an exemption contained in s 38(1)(b) of the Act.  In other words, in our opinion disclosure of the information would involve disclosure of personal data as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998 (as amended) and that such disclosure would breach the Data Protection Principles contained in Schedule 1 Part 1 of that Act.  We are therefore unable to comply fully with your request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.
The information which you have requested and which can be provided is as follows :
1.         Provide me with a breakdown of the £450,628 figure into its component parts, i.e annual salary, pension payments etc 
Ø  Within the Councils 2010/11 annual accounts, as a Senior Officer, Mr Drummonds annual remuneration was detailed as follows:
4.3. Remuneration of senior employees                                                    
Year ended 31 March 2011
            
            
Remuneration           Salary fees           Compensation            Election Duties          Total
of senior                     and                        for loss of 
employees                 allowances           office               
                                
                                                                                
Ian Drummond          £ 132,051               £ 109,303                         £ 10,201            £ 251,555
Executive Director of Corporate Services
(to December 2010)
and Executive Director of Special Projects 
(from December 2010)
Thereafter, within the annual accounts, as a Senior Officer Mr Drummond’s Pension Benefit’s were detailed as such :
5.2. Pension benefits of senior employees      
In year pension contributions                     Accrued pension benefits
Pension benefits of 
senior employees                 For year to 31 March 2011               As at 31 March 2011
                        
                       
Ian Drummond                            £ 199,073                        Pension         -  £    56,000
          Lump sum     -   £ 155,000
2.         Explain the basis of the 'compensation for loss of office' payment and how this payment was calculated
Ø  Please see attachment, detailing Council’s policy on redundancy and retirement provisions for the requested period, which was approved by the Executive Committee on 13 November 2009.
3.         Confirm whether Mr Drummond's remuneration package benefited from any discretionary payments, e.g. 'added years' under the Local Government Pension Scheme”
Ø  This request relates to personal information which is exempt in terms of section 38(1)(b) the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, as explained above.
I trust the above information is of assistance. If you have any further enquiries or questions I can be contacted on telephone number 0141-287-8186 or at the noted e-mail address.
However, should you be dissatisfied with the way Glasgow City Council has dealt with your request you are entitled to require the council to review its decision.  Please note that for a review to take place you must:
Lodge a written requirement for a review within 40 working days of the date of this letter. Include a correspondence address and a 
description of the original request and the reason why you are dissatisfied.
Address your request to the :
Director of Governance and Solicitor to the Council
Glasgow City Council
City Chambers
George Square
Glasgow G2 1DU
You will receive notice of the results of the review within 20 working days of receipt of your request.  The notice will state the decision reached by the reviewing officer as well as details of how to appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner if you are still dissatisfied with the Council’s response.  You must request an internal review by the Council before a complaint can be directed to the Scottish Information Commissioner.  For your information at this stage, an appeal can be made to the Scottish Information Commissioner by contacting her office as follows if you do remain dissatisfied with the outcome of the Council’s review decision -  
Address: Kinburn Castle, Doubledykes Road, St Andrews, KY16 9DS. 
Telephone: 01334 464610
You can also use the Scottish Information Commissioner’s online appeal service to make an application for a decision: 
Please note that you cannot make an appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner until you have first requested an internal review by the Council.
If you wish to submit a complaint to the Council in relation to the manner in which it has handled your request for information then you can do so by requesting that the Council review its decision. Details of how to request a review are set out in the above paragraph “Right of Review”.
Yours sincerely
John Dickson
Executive Compliance Officer
Financial Services 
Glasgow - UK Council of the Year 2015
Disclaimer:
This email is from Glasgow City Council or one of its Arm’s Length Organisations (ALEOs). Views expressed in this message do not necessarily reflect those of the council, or ALEO, who will not necessarily be bound by its contents. If you are not the intended recipient of this email (and any attachment), please inform the sender by return email and destroy all copies. Unauthorised access, use, disclosure, storage or copying is not permitted. Please be aware that communication by internet email is not secure as messages can be intercepted and read by someone else. Therefore, we strongly advise you not to email any information, which if disclosed to someone else, would be likely to cause you distress. If you have an enquiry of this nature then please write to us using the postal system. If you chose to email this information to us there can be no guarantee of privacy. Any email including its content may be monitored and used by the council, or ALEO, for reasons of security and for monitoring internal compliance with the office policy on staff use. Email monitoring or blocking software may also be used. Please be aware that you have a responsibility to make sure that any email you write or forward is within the bounds of the law. Glasgow City Council, or ALEOs, cannot guarantee that this message or any attachment is virus free or has not been intercepted and amended. You should perform your own virus checks.


Enclosure 3 - Review Request Letter from Mark Irvine

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Irvine <markirvine@compuserve.com>
To: FOIreviews <FOIreviews@glasgow.gov.uk>
Sent: Thu, Mar 16, 2017 1:05 pm
Subject: Fwd: FOI request

Dear Glasgow City Council

FOISA Review Request

I would like to register a formal FOI Review Request in response to Glasgow City Council's refusal to provide me with information regarding Mr Ian Drummond's remuneration package upon leaving the City Council's employment in 2010-2011.

Specifically, I am seeking  a review of the City Council's refusal to answer Part 3 of my original FOI request in which I asked whether Mr Drummond's remuneration package included any discretionary benefits such as 'added years' in respect of the Local Government Pension Scheme.

I do not agree that this information is exempt as personal information given Mr Drummond's position as one of the City Council's most senior officials. In my view, since other aspects of Mr Drummond's remuneration package have been released, the same logic must apply to any discretionary payments agreed by the Council in respect of this employee.

Furthermore, I believe this is especially important since Mr Drummond, as Executive Director of Corporate Services, appears to be the author of the report on 'discretionary redundancy and retirements payments'  from which he seems  to have benefited personally on leaving the City Council's employment.

I look forward to hearing from you and would be grateful if you could respond to me via email at: markirvine@compuserve.com

Kind regards



Mark Irvine


Enclosure 4 - GCC's Final Response letter dated 7 April 2017

Our Ref RQST6081264/HC Your Ref
7th April 2017
By email: 
markirvine@compuserve.com

Dear Mr Irvine

Director of Governance and Solicitor to the Council Carole Forrest LLB DipLP
Glasgow City Council
City Chambers
George Square
Glasgow G2 1DU
DX GW145
Legal Post: Corporate & Property Law
LP-4, Glasgow 10
Hand Deliveries to: 40 John Street Glasgow G1 1JL

page1image6088
REQUEST FOR REVIEW UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (SCOTLAND) ACT 2002 (“THE ACT”)

Thank you for your email of 16th March 2017 requesting a review of the response by Glasgow City Council (“the Council”) to your request for information under the Act.

YOUR REQUEST
You submitted a request on 16th February 2017 for the following information:
I would like to make the following request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.
I refer to the article in TheTelegraphnewspaper dated 25 April 2012 which reported the remuneration package of Ian Drummond (in the previous year) as £450,628.

I understand that Mr Drummond left the City Council's employment in 2010-11 and that the figure of £450,628 will have represented a 'leaving package'.

I would be grateful if you could:
  1. Provide me with a breakdown of the £450,628 figure into its component parts, i.e annual salary, pension payments etc
  2. Explain the basis of the 'compensation for loss of office' payment and how this payment was calculated
  3. Confirm whether Mr Drummond's remuneration package benefited from any discretionary payments, e.g. 'added years' under the Local Government Pension Scheme”
THE DECISION

The Council emailed you on 3rd March 2017 and provided you with a response to your request for information. The content of the response is reproduced in the under-note for ease of reference.

YOUR REQUEST FOR REVIEW

On 16th March 2017 you emailed the Council requesting a formal review of the decision. Your review request is reproduced in the under-note for reference.


THE REVIEW DECISION

I have carried out a full and impartial review of the initial response provided to you with regards to the withheld information. I can confirm that I uphold the original decision to withhold certain non-publically available information. I refer you to Decision 139/2012 which held that disclosing information about income received by a living individual on their retirement would breach s38(1)(b) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.
In terms of the application of s38(1)(b) to the information you requested, the following points are noted:
1. Is the information requested personal data, as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998?
Section 1(1) of the Data Protection Act 1998 defines personal data as data which relates to a living individual who can be identified from that data or from other information in the possession of/likely to come into the possession of the data controller.

The Council is of the view that the information you have requested is personal data as it relates to income received by a living individual on retirement. The information clearly relates to a former employee of the Council and, in this context, would identify him as the request only relates to one individual.
  1. Would disclosure breach the first data protection principle?
    Disclosure of the withheld information would breach the first data protection principle. This requires that personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully and, in particular, shall not be processed unless at least one of the conditions in Schedule 2 to the DPA is met. The processing would be the requested release of the withheld information into the public domain.
  2. Schedule 2 of the Data Protections Act 1998
    For this matter, it appears that the most relevant condition of Schedule 2 is contained in paragraph 6 which permits processing if the processing is necessary for the purposes of legitimate interests pursued by the data controller or by the third party or parties to whom the data are disclosed, except where the processing is unwarranted in any particular case by reason of prejudice to the rights and freedoms or legitimate interests of the data subject.
    To assess whether paragraph 6 of Schedule 2 is met, the Council has considered whether you have a legitimate interest in obtaining the data.
    There is no specific definition of ‘legitimate interest’ in the Data Protection Act 1998. TheSIC has noted in guidance that in ‘some cases, the legitimate interest might be personal to the applicant e.g. he or she might want the information in order to bring legal proceedings. With most requests, however, there are likely to be wider legitimate interests, such as the scrutiny of the actions of public bodies or public safety.’
    The SIC has previously noted that salaries are derived from public funds & as such, there is a potential for there to be a legitimate interest in them. However, the SIC has stated in Decision 139/2012 that information about occupational pension arrangements has a different nature. This is because the value of an occupational pension is a product of contributions made by both an employee and their employer (and also, in the case of the scheme under consideration at least, receipts from invested funds), and the value of that pension will be a product of a range of factors, including the length of service and salary, but also decisions taken by the employee. For example, an employee may choose to opt in or out of a pension scheme; they might transfer contributions from the pension scheme of one employer to the scheme of another, or make additional voluntary contributions.’ Accordingly, there is no general legitimate interest in knowing the value of an individual’s pension.
    In your request for review, you said you considered that as ‘other aspects of Mr Drummond's remuneration package have been released, the same logic must apply to any discretionary payments agreed by the Council in respect of this employee’. I would note however, that information that has been released is in accordance with the CIPFA Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting.
As the Council does not consider you to have a legitimate interest, consideration is not given here as to:
  1. (a)  whether such disclosure is necessary to achieve these legitimate aims (i.e. if the disclosure is proportionate as a means and fairly balanced as to ends, or could these legitimate aims be achieved by means which interfere less with the privacy of the former employees); or
  2. (b)  whether the disclosure would cause unwarranted prejudice to the rights and freedoms or legitimate interests of the former employee.
Condition 6 has not been met and therefore, the Council regards disclosure of the withheld information as unlawful. Disclosure would breach the first data protection principle and as such, the initial decision to withhold this information is upheld.

RIGHT OF APPEAL

I hope you are satisfied with this response. However, if you are not you have the right to make an application within six months of receipt of this letter for a decision by the Scottish Information Commissioner. The Scottish Information Commissioner can be contacted as follows:
Address: Kinburn Castle, Doubledykes Road, St Andrews, KY16 9DS. Email: enquiries@itspublicknowledge.infoTelephone: 01334 464610
You can also use the Scottish Information Commissioner’s online appeal service to make anapplication for a decision:

Thereafter a decision by Scottish Information Commissioner may be appealed on a point of law to the Court of Session.

Yours sincerely


CAROLE FORREST
DIRECTOR OF GOVERNANCE AND SOLICITOR TO THE COUNCIL
page3image15128 page3image15288
3
Under-note
FOI response dated 3
rd March 2017
I refer to your Freedom of Information request received on 16 February 2017 requesting that the following information be provided to you:

“I understand that Mr Drummond left the City Council's employment in 2010-11 and that the figure of £450,628 will have represented a 'leaving package'.

I would be grateful if you could:

1. Provide me with a breakdown of the £450,628 figure into its component parts, i.e annual salary, pension payments etc
2. Explain the basis of the 'compensation for loss of office' payment and how this payment was calculated
3. Confirm whether Mr Drummond's remuneration package benefited from any discretionary payments, e.g. 'added years' under the Local Government Pension Scheme”

The Council is treating your request as a request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.
Please note, some of the information which you have requested is, in our opinion, exempt from a request under section 1 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 because of an exemption contained in s 38(1)(a) of the Act. In other words, in our opinion disclosure of the information would involve disclosure of personal data as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998 (as amended) and that such disclosure would breach the Data Protection Principles contained in Schedule 1 Part 1 of that Act. We are therefore unable to comply fully with your request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

The information which you have requested and which can be provided is as follows:

1. Provide me with a breakdown of the £450,628 figure into its component parts, i.e annual salary, pension payments etc
 Within the Councils 2010/11 annual accounts, as a Senior Officer, Mr Drummonds annual remuneration was detailed as follows:
4.3. Remuneration of senior employees - Year ended 31 March 2011
page4image16984 page4image17144
Remuneration of senior employees
page4image19592
Salary fees and allowances
Compensation for loss of office
Election duties
page4image24528 page4image24848
Total
Ian Drummond
Executive Director of Corporate Services
(to December 2010)
and Executive Director of Special Projects
(from December 2010)
£ 132,051
£ 109,303
£ 10,201
page4image32512 page4image32832
£ 251,555

Thereafter, within the annual accounts, as a Senior Officer Mr Drummond’s Pension Benefit’s weredetailed as such:

5.2. Pension benefits of senior employees
page4image38208
In year pension contributions
page4image39256
Accrued pension benefits
Pension benefits of senior employees
For year to 31 March 2011
As at 31 March 2011
Ian Drummond
page4image46744
£ 199,073
Pension - £ 56,000 Lump sum - £ 155,000

4
2. Explain the basis of the 'compensation for loss of office' payment and how this payment was calculated
 Please see attachment, detailing Council’s policy on redundancy and retirement provisions for the requested period, which was approved by the Executive Committee on 13 November 2009.

3.
disc
retionary payments, e.g. 'added years' under the Local Government Pension Scheme”
Confirm whether Mr Drummond's remuneration package benefited from any
 This request relates to personal information which is exempt in terms of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Request for review – 16th March 2017:

I would like to register a formal FOI Review Request in response to Glasgow City Council's refusal to provide me with information regarding Mr Ian Drummond's remuneration package upon leaving the City Council's employment in 2010-2011.

Specifically, I am seeking a review of the City Council's refusal to answer Part 3 of my original FOI request in which I asked whether Mr Drummond's remuneration package included any discretionary benefits such as 'added years' in respect of the Local Government Pension Scheme.

I do not agree that this information is exempt as personal information given Mr Drummond's position as one of the City Council's most senior officials. In my view, since other aspects of Mr Drummond's remuneration package have been released, the same logic must apply to any discretionary payments agreed by the Council in respect of this employee.

Furthermore, I believe this is especially important since Mr Drummond, as Executive Director of Corporate Services, appears to be the author of the report on 'discretionary redundancy and retirements payments' from which he seems to have benefited personally on leaving the City