Monday, 6 February 2012


Councils admit: 'we can't reveal our top earners, it's too costly'

Councils have refused government demands to identify staff earning more than £58,200 a year because there are so many it would be an “onerous burden”.

Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, ordered councils last year to publish details of high-earning staff and any spending of more than £500.

He urged an “army of armchair auditors” to pore over the data, identify waste and hold local government to account.

But council chiefs said they had so many well-paid staff the cost of listing them and their responsibilities could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. They also said staff safety would be at risk if the public knew how much they earned.

Other councils claimed that taxpayers lacked the “evaluation skills” to decide whether spending was good value for money and would fall victim to “misunderstandings”. Several insisted there was little demand locally for information on how they spent public money.

Mr Pickles said that greater transparency “drives down costs, cuts out waste and enhances trust” in the political system.

“It’s quite frankly insulting and not credible to say the public won’t understand spending data put online,” he said. “This is about a number of vested interests trying to dodge the sunlight of ­transparency and cover up their expenditure.

“You have to ask, what have they got to hide? The statutory code came into force in September but it was disregarded by a number of councils, which only published the salaries of the topmost tier of management.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea said: “It is felt the threshold of £58,200 is too low.

"A fair proportion of a large authority’s workforce is likely to exceed this threshold and so publishing this data, including job descriptions, budgets, numbers of staff and responsibilities represents an onerous burden on already stretched resources.”

It and others have since released the data.

Nottingham city council told the Whitehall consultation: “We feel that it is important that individuals have the right not to be named. In some cases there may be potential personal safety issues.”

It has refused to publish spending of less than £25,000, claiming residents would suffer “data-overload” if it disclosed smaller transactions.

“It is not possible for citizens to judge value for money, necessity of expenditure etc from the information given,” it said.

Oldham council said: “The spending limit of £500 risks unnecessary scrutiny on irrelevant areas, which leads to inappropriate, vexatious and at times trivial requests for information which takes the focus off the big issues and priorities.”

It said that disclosing staff pay “could lead to harassment and questions of a perceived worth of an individual as opposed to a specific post”.

Essex county council said disclosing spending could “lead to misunderstandings and lack of trust”.

Kent county council said revealing staff pay would be “infringing their personal privacy”, adding: “It implies a 'name and shame’ culture rather than one where we value our staff.”

Leeds city council told the consultation disclosing salaries and spending could breach the council’s “intellectual property rights”.

Þ North Somerset council, which is under pressure to cut £47 million from its budget, is considering giving its 61 councillors either iPads or laptops at a cost of £450 each. It says the proposal will save money by reducing the cost of printing and posting documents.

Responses 'Onerous’ task of listing staff paid £58,200

Kensington and Chelsea: So many staff earning more than £58,200 listing them all would be an “onerous burden”.

Essex county council: Taxpayers would struggle to assess value for money and suffer “misunderstandings”.

Nottingham city council: Staff safety could be put at risk if the public knew how much they were paid.

Leeds city council: Releasing information could breach “intellectual property” rights.

Knowsley borough council: There is “little public interest” in seeing how money is spent.


This is what Council Leaders think of the Local Taxpayer.

The quicker you vote into Councils Councillors who are anything other than the Lib/Lab/Conned (were all the same party only different colours), preferably Nationalist councillors, and hold these CORRUPT SCUM to account.

Only your VOTE can change things unless you prefer VIOLENT REVOLUTION ?

1 comment:

Andyj said...

The Gov't should simply get a high court order to instruct the bailiffs and police in to their wages dep't (or debt department, lol) and tell the lazy imp to get a print out in numerical order for fear of prison.

If the council will not obey the Gov't, then the Gov't does not need to fund the councils. Redundancies and blacklisting should scare them into line. The new lot will be on realistic (affordable) incomes and pensions.

Then this Gov't can tell the BBC to be succinct for once to the public who was enemy #1.

Simples. If only. BBC next? lol