Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas Special - Police Commissioner refuses to reveal chief exec pay off

It looks like Tory Police Commissioner Tony Hogg is at it again - wasting taxpayers' money on his own office. But this time he is trying to keep his spending a secret.

A month ago the chief executive of the Commissioner's office, Sue Howl, left - officially to 'seek new challenges'. I felt that this reason did not stand up to scrutiny, so I asked for any further details as well as details of any compensation that Ms Howl received for loss of office. In other words, had she received a pay off. If she had, it would indicate that she was pushed rather than jumped as was being claimed.

Lo and behold, on Christmas Eve, I get a reply reiterating the paper thin 'in order to seek new challenges' line. And on the issue of money, a flat refusal claiming that any disclosure would:
'involve the disclosure of personal data concerning Sue Howl, in circumstances where Sue Howl has not given her consent to the disclosure of that information.'
'the information requested is subject to an express duty of non-disclosure and confidentiality owed by the OPCC to Sue Howl, and its disclosure is therefore exempt under the provisions of section 41 FOIA.'
'the information requested is exempt from disclosure under section 43(2) of the FOIA as its disclosure would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of the OPCC. The OPCC consider that the potential prejudice to their commercial interests caused by the disclosure of this information outweighs any public interest in the disclosure of that information.'
So, in short, the reason for not disclosing how public money is being spent is that a pay-off for a senior member of staff is commercially confidential.
I don't accept this at all and have appealed the refusal to disclose the information. It seems pretty clear that Ms Howl must have received some sort of pay-off and this seems to indicate that the idea that she chose to leave of her own accord is baloney. After all, if there was no pay-off, why not just say so.

Tony Hogg needs to change his attitude to public money as well as to openness and transparency. If he is spending public money then he needs to account for it.

1 comment:

Sarah Beagley said...

o my god what more money out of are pockets ... :( one day they might get thing right and do and say what is going on .they tell all of us to be good girls and boys and what do they do hide from telling us the truth ....SHAME ON POLICE COMMISSIONER MY ****** own up and tell us