FOI 21-23: MLA salaries and Expenses

Information Standards Freedom of Information Response

Our Ref: FOI 21-23

18 August 2023

Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“FOIA”)

I am writing to confirm that the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission (Assembly Commission) has processed your request dated 2 August 2023 in line with the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In your request, you asked:

“Under Freedom of Information I wish to know the total amount in respect of salaries, office expenses, travel expenses and any other expenses paid to all MLAs from 3 February 2022 to 31 July 2023.

I would ask that it be broken down under these headings.”

Members’ Salaries and Expenses from February 2022 to December 2022

The Assembly Commission considers this information to be exempt from disclosure under Section 21 of the FOIA. Section 21 provides that information is exempt from disclosure if it is accessible to the applicant by other means, as outlined below: 

(1)  Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant otherwise than under section 1 is exempt information.

(2)  For the purposes of subsection (1)—

(a)  information may be reasonably accessible to the applicant even though it is accessible only on payment, and

(b)  information is to be taken to be reasonably accessible to the applicant if it is information which the public authority or any other person is obliged by or under any enactment to communicate (otherwise than by making the information available for inspection) to members of the public on request, whether free of charge or on payment.

Please click the links below to view;

Members’ Salaries and Expenses from January 2023 to July 2023

The Assembly Commission considers this information to be exempt from disclosure under Section 22 of the FOIA. Section 22 provides that information is exempt from disclosure if it is intended for future publication, as outlined below: 

(1)  Information is exempt information if—

(a)  the information is held by the public authority with a view to its publication, by the authority or any other person, at some future date (whether determined or not),

(b)  the information was already held with a view to such publication at the time when the request for information was made, and

(c)  it is reasonable in all the circumstances that the information should be withheld from disclosure until the date referred to in paragraph (a).

The Assembly Commission anticipates that the full data set requested (including Members’ Salary Information) will be made available at the links above no later than 30 September 2023.

You have the right to request a formal review by the Assembly Commission and if you wish to do so, please write to me at the above address. If after such an internal review you are still unhappy with the response, you may appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF which will undertake an independent review.

The Assembly Commission may publish details of your FOI request and its official response within the organisational disclosure log. The request will be completely anonymised and you will not be identified in any way. This is to meet the requirements as laid out by in the agreed publication scheme with the Information Commissioners’ Office.

Yours sincerely

Data Protection and Governance Officer

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