Sunday, 17 June 2018

Glasgow's Golden Goodbyes



Glasgow City Council is due to answer my FOI Request early this week regarding the £120,000 'gifted' to its outgoing director of finance, Lynn Brown, which allowed Lynn to access her pension early.

Now I don't begrudge anyone accessing their pension early, but I think it is reasonable to ask how this decision was made because clearly someone had to recommend such a highly generous use of public funds.

Especially, when Lynn Brown was already a highly paid senior council official whose salary in 2016/17 was in the region of £161,000 which makes me wonder if the same treatment would have been extended to a council Home Carer, Classroom Assistant or School Cleaner? 

Yet again, the City Council failed to answer my original FOI Request which meant I had to submit a separate FOI Review Request which has wasted further time and effort for no good reason, and leads me to conclude that council officials are being deliberately obstructive and unhelpful.

If the Council does not respond with a straight answer on this occasion, I will raise an appeal with the independent Scottish Information Commissioner although this would make a mockery of the Council's policy of becoming a 'world leader' in terms of the openness and transparency of its decision-making procedures.  

So we shall see what happens because it's difficult to believe that senior council officials are acting in 'good faith' when one of their colleagues is handed a £120,000 'gift', yet the City Council refuses to answer my FOI request about the role of senior officials in the WPBR - on the grounds that it would cost more than £600 to answer.   

I plan to share this post with all Glasgow's Councillors, MSPs and MPs because if you ask me, it's high time the city's politicians took a more active interest in these matters  and in the conduct of the Council's senior officials. 


22 May 2018

Carole Forrest
Director of Governance and Solicitor to the Council
Glasgow City Council


Dear Ms Forrest

FoI Review Request

I refer to my FOISA Request to the Council's chief executive Annemarie O'Donnell dated 20 April 2018, a copy of which is attached for easy reference.

In view of the Council's failure to respond within the time limits laid down by FOISA I would now like to initiate a formal Review Request.

I look forward to your response to my Review Request and would be grateful if you could reply to me by email at: markirvine@compuserve.com

Kind regards


Mark Irvine

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Irvine <markirvine@compuserve.com>
Sent: Fri, Apr 20, 2018 3:05 pm
Subject: Fwd: FOISA Request


20 April 2018

Annemarie O'Donnell
Chief Executive
Glasgow City Council


Dear Ms O'Donnell

FOISA Request

I refer to the letter below from John Dickson, Executive Compliance Officer, and would like to make the following request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. 

1) Please provide me the name and job title of the Council official who recommended that Glasgow City Council should pay £120,079 to compensate the Local Government Pension Scheme for allowing the Council's former executive Director of Finance, Lynn Brown, to access her pension benefits early?

2) Please provide me with the written explanation for this recommendation and the process by which the expenditure of this large sum of public money approved? 

3) Please confirm how long the former Executive Director of Finance would otherwise have had to wait to access her pension benefits, if it were not for this generous use of public funds? 

I look forward to your reply and would be grateful if you could respond to me by e-mail at: markirvine@compuserve.com
Kind regards



Mark Irvine 

-----Original Message-----
From: Dickson, John (Revenues) (Revenues) <John.Dickson@glasgow.gov.uk>
To: markirvine <markirvine@compuserve.com>
Sent: Wed, Apr 18, 2018 11:57 am
Subject: FOI Request

Financial Services

Glasgow City Council
Room 10
City Chambers,
Glasgow  G2

Phone 0141 287 8186
Fax 0141 287 9568
Corporate Services
Glasgow City Council
City Chambers
George Square
Glasgow   G2  1DU

Phone 0141 287 8186

Fax 0141 287 4575




Date  18 April 2018









Sent by email to: markirvine@compuserve.com


Dear Mr Irvine,

Freedom Of Information Request

I refer to your Freedom of Information Request dated 21 March 2018, wherein you asked that certain information be supplied to you, namely :-

“I refer to the Annual Accounts of Glasgow City Council for the year to 31 March 2017 and, specifically, to Paragraph 5.2 (Page 131) which deals with the pension benefits of senior council employees.

1) Please explain the basis of the £134,147 employer pension contribution paid in respect of the Executive Director of Finance, Lynn Brown? I note the figure increased to £134,147 in 2017 from £26,116 in 2016.

2) Please confirm whether this payment was made in respect of 'added years' and what impact this payment had on the Executive Director's pension benefits?

3) Please provide a copy of the council correspondence or the official council report which recommended that the Executive Director should be awarded 'added years'.

The Council is treating your request as a request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

The information you have requested is as follows :

1) Please explain the basis of the £134,147 employer pension contribution paid in respect of the Executive Director of Finance, Lynn Brown? I note the figure increased to £134,147 in 2017 from £26,116 in 2016.

Ø The sum of £134,147 as quoted in the annual accounts comprised of £14,068 employer contributions before the Executive Director of Finance retired on 30 September 2016 and £120,079 as a one off payment to the Local Government Pension Scheme as recompense for the early release of pension rights

2) Please confirm whether this payment was made in respect of 'added years' and what impact this payment had on the Executive Director's pension benefits?

Ø The executive Director of Finance, Lynn Brown was not awarded “added years”
3) Please provide a copy of the council correspondence or the official council report which recommended that the Executive Director should be awarded 'added years'.

Ø Not applicable


The Council accordingly feels that it has complied in full with your request.  However, if you feel that this is not the case or have any questions relating to information contained within the spreadsheet, I can be contacted at the noted e-mail address or on telephone number 0141-287-8186.

However, should you be dissatisfied with the way Glasgow City Council has dealt with your request you are entitled to require the council to review its decision. Please note that for a review to take place you must:

Lodge a written requirement for a review within 40 working days of the date of this letter. Include a correspondence address and a description of the
original request and the reason why you are dissatisfied.

Address your request to the :
Director of Governance and Solicitor to the Council
Glasgow City Council
City Chambers
George Square
Glasgow G2 1DU
You will receive notice of the results of the review within 20 working days of receipt of your request.  The notice will state the decision reached by the reviewing officer as well as details of how to appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner if you are still dissatisfied with the Council’s response.  You must request an internal review by the Council before a complaint can be directed to the Scottish Information Commissioner.  For your information at this stage, an appeal can be made to the Scottish Information Commissioner by contacting her office as follows if you do remain dissatisfied with the outcome of the Council’s review decision -  

Address: Kinburn Castle, Doubledykes Road, St Andrews, KY16 9DS.
Telephone: 01334 464610
You can also use the Scottish Information Commissioner’s online appeal service to make an application for a decision:

Please note that you cannot make an appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner until you have first requested an internal review by the Council.
If you wish to submit a complaint to the Council in relation to the manner in which it has handled your request for information then you can do so by requesting that the Council review its decision. Details of how to request a review are set out in the above paragraph “Right of Review”.

Yours sincerely,



John Dickson
Executive Compliance Officer