Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Update on the councillors who were late with their tax

Interesting that so far only two members of Cornwall Council have had the courage to "out" themselves as among the 17 who at one time or another over the past two years had to be pursued before paying their council tax.

Last week council leader Alec Robertson roundly condemned councillors who were late with their taxes, and agreed with the suggestion that a voluntary register of members who had paid on time would improve openness and transparency. That's not the same as saying that it's a good idea, or that he planned to introduce such a register. So after today's Cabinet meeting I asked him.

"No, I don't think it's a good idea and I wouldn't support it," he told me. "We've been advised that there are Data Protection issues and I'm taking that advice."

I have now had the council's formal, written, reasons for refusing to disclose the names:
"This information is exempt under section 40 (personal information) of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), as the information constitutes third party data. Section 40(2) provides that personal data about third parties is exempt information if one of the conditions set out in section 40(3) is satisfied. Under the FOI Act disclosure of this information would breach the fair processing principle contained in the Data Protection Act (DPA), where it would be unfair to that person."
The issue is now with the Information Commission.

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