FOI/2016/34

The Request

received on 31 may 2016

Dear FOI Team
 
I would like to request the following information under the Freedom of Information Act.
 
I understand my request will take 20 working days to process but I would be grateful if you could acknowledge receipt
 
Please note that the reference to employees should include all staff irrespective of whether they are full time or part time and irrespective of whether they are directly employed and or employed on a freelance basis. Please do include all employees who are on contracts worth £144,000 a year or more. Please do include all staff paid the relevant amount through companies they have set up. Please do include trustees who have been paid the relevant amount.
 
1…How many staff currently employed by the organisation are  in receipt of salaries of and or equivalent to  £144,000 a year or more.
 
2…In the case of each of these people can you provide their name, job title and current salary level. Can you please state for how long they have been in receipt of a salary/payment at this level. Can you please specify when they last received a pay rise. Can you give details of the pay rise in terms of a percentage.
 
3…In the case of each person in receipt of £144,000 or more could you please state how much they have claimed in expenses so far this year and how much they claimed in the previous financial year. Please do include information about actual expenses claimed and or any expenditure on a corporate credit/hospitality card (or similar). 
 
4…In the case of each person earning £144,000 a year or more could you please provide a list of overseas destinations visited at the organisation’s expense. Please note I am only interested in trips and visits which have taken place since 31 May 2015 to the present day. In the case of each member of staff and each trip can you state the precise destination, dates of travel  and duration of the trip. Can you please state the overall cost of the trip to the organisation. Can you please provide a breakdown of costs to include costs of flights, costs of other transport and accommodation costs. Can you please provide details of the class of any plane and or train tickets purchased as part of the trip. Can you please identify any hotels used during the trip. Can you provide the name of the hotel and the cost of the room (s) booked. Can you please state the total number of employees on each trip.
 
Thank you for dealing with my request and I look forward to hearing from you.

Our Response

responded on 28 june 2016

Case Reference: FOI/2016/34

28 June 2016

Dear

Thank you for your request for information dated 31 May 2016 concerning details of the salary and expenses for currently employed staff who are on £144k or more. Your request has been handled under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000 and has been passed to me for reply.

I can confirm, under section 1 (1) (a) of the FOIA, that the British Council does hold the information you have requested.

For your ease of reference, I have restated your questions below in bold and have provided our response beneath each question.

1…How many staff currently employed by the organisation are in receipt of salaries of and or equivalent to £144,000 a year or more.

Two employees are in receipt of salaries of £144,000 or more.
 
2…In the case of each of these people can you provide their name, job title and current salary level. Can you please state for how long they have been in receipt of a salary/payment at this level? Can you please specify when they last received a pay rise? Can you give details of the pay rise in terms of a percentage? 

 

Name

Job Title

Current Salary

How long in receipt of a salary at this level

Last pay rise

Pay rise percentage

Ciarán Devane

Chief Executive Officer

£186,850

Since January 2015

August 2015

1%

Mark Robson

Director English & Exams

£148,177

Since August 2014

August 2015

2%

3…In the case of each person in receipt of £144,000 or more could you please state how much they have claimed in expenses so far this year and how much they claimed in the previous financial year. Please do include information about actual expenses claimed and or any expenditure on a corporate credit/hospitality card (or similar). 

 

Name

Claimed in the previous financial year

Claimed in expenses so far this year

Ciarán Devane

£24,878.82

£9,955.66

Mark Robson

£13,820.80

£150.43

4…In the case of each person earning £144,000 a year or more could you please provide a list of overseas destinations visited at the organisation’s expense.  Please note I am only interested in trips and visits which have taken place since 31 May 2015 to the present day.  In the case of each member of staff and each trip can you state the precise destination, dates of travel and duration of the trip?  Can you please state the overall cost of the trip to the organisation. Can you please provide a breakdown of costs to include costs of flights, costs of other transport and accommodation costs? Can you please provide details of the class of any plane and or train tickets purchased as part of the trip? Can you please identify any hotels used during the trip? Can you provide the name of the hotel and the cost of the room (s) booked.  Can you please state the total number of employees on each trip?

Please find attached four documents, which provide details of the trips, as requested under point four above.

Please note that we are withholding the details of the hotels used/name of the hotel under Section 38(1), which allows a public authority to withhold information where disclosure would, or would be likely to, endanger the physical or mental health of any individual or the safety of any individual.

The health and safety of individuals and those of other guests and staff may be harmed by the release of details of hotels regularly used by the British Council.  The disclosure of the names of hotels used by British Council would actively prejudice the security, health and safety of our staff and others.  Releasing details of locations in the public domain would increase the profile of the hotels making them more vulnerable to attack, thereby increasing the risk of harm.  Hotels are targeted by the profile of the brand and people who often stay at the hotel.

The exemption for Health and safety is subject to the public interest test as stipulated by the Act, which means that the exemption can only be upheld if the public interest in doing so outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

Whilst we acknowledge that there is public interest and disclosure would facilitate accountability in decision making in this case we feel that there is a clear public interest in protecting the safety of our staff. On balance we believe that the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

I hope the information provided has been useful.

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the right to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your original letter and should be addressed to:

Information Governance Advisor (Disclosures)
Information Governance and Risk Management
British Council
Bridgewater House
58 Whitworth Street
Manchester
M1 6BB
Email: IGDisclosures@britishcouncil.org

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner for a decision at:

The Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Phone: 0303 123 1113
Website: www.ico.org.uk

Yours sincerely