Councillor’s amounts for being on outside bodies
Following a comment on the previous post, I thought I would demonstrate how easy (or otherwise) it is to get this information and whether it’s as easy as Councillor Chris Blakeley claims because it is on the website.
Let’s start with Merseytravel. So like most people you do a search on Merseytravel’s website.
The first result is their publication scheme, which states they publish “PTA Members Allowances” and “PTA Members Allowances paid” (PTA stands for Passenger Transport Authority). This states it’s only published on paper, not electronically or on the website, but then this document was written eight years ago and not updated.
So you change the search for Members Allowances. Eventually you find this page on the website which only has the details for 2007/2008 and 2008/2009. With a bit of digging you’ll find they call the amounts for 2009/2010 “Members Year End Figures” and that you can get figures for 2010/2011 under “Members Allowance” but this only has a list of amounts and titles (no names).
As Merseytravel don’t publish online the minutes of their meeting at which they decide who does what there is no easy way to find out what Merseytravel councillors are currently being paid. My personal experience of Merseytravel is that they don’t make it easy to get information. For example this report showing how Merseytravel charged the disabled and elderly on Merseyside £48,000/year in 2007 if they lose their pass (and that was before they doubled the charge!) was subject to a “public interest test” before they would release it! Since they doubled the charge it’s now probably nearer £100,000/year. Perhaps this is how they plan to finance the hundreds of millions they’re spending on Merseytram’s “Line One to Nowhere”! The Mersey Tunnels Users Association has had similar problems getting information out of Merseytravel.
Cllr Blakeley is right, Merseytravel do publish the information, but it took me a good ten minutes to find it. Merseyside Police Authority’s was easier to find (however the Merseyside Police Authority has since been abolished so I have removed the link) and simpler, but again has no names. They currently pay councillors ~£11,000, + ~£4,000/chair + ~£14,000 as Chair of the MPA.
Mersey Fire and Rescue Service do publish the information, in part 5 article 28, page 206 of their constitution. However once again it is a list of amounts, job titles and other allowances (travel etc) with no names.
I gave up trying to find the information on the Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority site, but the above took a total of twenty minutes. There is no easy way to answer the question “What was X councillor paid for being a councillor this year”? This information is (sadly) still a secret to me and (apart from the councillors themselves and the taxman) a secret to the members of the public who pay them.