Question:I would like to request information under the Freedom of Information Act in relation to:
The exit package negotiated by Northumberland County Council and the former Chief Executive Steven Mason.
I would like to know to the nearest £10,000 bracket, the final exit package amount paid to the former Chief Executive.
this should include, lump sums, salary, loss of salary contributions, pension contributions and 'in kind' benefits.
Response:In the present case the County Council takes the view that the information relating to your request is exempt under the following provisions;
Section 22 of the Act states that a public Authority does not need to provide information under section 1 of the Act if that information is intended for future publication.
Information intended for future publication.
22. (1) Information is exempt information if- (a) the information is held by the public authority with a view to its publication, by the authority or any other person, at some future date (whether determined or not),
The information requested is intended for future publication in 2017/18 accounts.
Public Interest Test Considerations
Section 22(1) is a qualified exemption which means that the information falling within the exemption still has to be released unless the public interest in disclosure is outweighed by the public interest in maintaining the exemption.
Northumberland County Council recognises that there is a general public interest in information held by public authorities being made available and that it should take place at the earliest appropriate time. This helps towards ensuring the public accountability and transparency of public authorities and promotes public engagement in any debate about the delivery of public services and the use of public funds.
However, the public interest can sometimes be best served by the planned publication of information at an appropriate time rather than in response to an individual request for that information ahead of that time.
On balance, and in all the circumstances of this particular case, we have concluded that the public interest is best served by the planned future publication of the information you have requested and by maintaining the exemption at section 22(1) at this time.