Brentwood Borough Council

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Brentwood Borough Council

FOI 14055

Council Tax - Councillors

Request

In the 2016/17 council year

1. How many councillors were issued with reminders for missing council tax payments due in the 2016/17 council year?

2. Of those referred to in question 1, how many councillors complied with the reminders to the point where no further action was required?

3. Of those referred to in question 1, how many councillors were sent court summonses as a result of missing council tax payments due in the 2016/17 council year?

4. Of those referred to in question 3, what was their name, political party and amount owed in each case?

5. Of those referred to in question 3/4, whose cases did not proceed to court and how were those cases resolved? (i.e. a payment plan entered into, deductions from member allowances,
the full amount being paid off, etc)?

6. Of those referred to in question 3/4, whose cases went ahead in court?

7. Of those referred to in question 6, what was the outcome of their case?

8. Were any councillors prohibited from voting on the council's budget at the relevant meeting (most councils hold this meeting in February or March) as a result of these matters? If so, what was their name and political party? Note: It is irrelevant whether
they turned up to the meeting or not: The principle laid down by legislation is that, had they turned up, they would not be allowed to vote.

Response

We are only able to supply some of the information you have requested. Below is an explanation of what cannot be supplied and why. We hope the information supplied is helpful.

Section 40 (2): Personal Information

Personal data of any other person (third party data) is exempt under section 40(2) if disclosure would breach one of the data protection principles. This aspect of Section 40 is Qualified and therefore subject to the Public Interest Test.

This means we have balanced the legitimate interests of the public in having access to the information (under FOI a disclosure is a publication to the world at large) against the interests of the individual under the first principle of the Data Protection Act (1998).

Information about any individual’s Council Tax account payment history, constitutes personal data specific to them. It is therefore subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act (1998). We believe that to provide the full breakdown (in all categories) would enable individual Councillor’s to be identified. There is no prior expectation on the part of Councillor’s that this information would be published into the public domain under FOI. A disclosure made under FOI constitutes a publication to the world at large. We believe that to disclose this in full would be likely to breach the first Principle of the Data Protection Act by unfairly contravening their right to privacy and confidentiality as the information relates to their private finances.

However, in the interests of transparency and openness we are able to share aggregated information which is less likely to enable individual Councillors to be identified.