Elected representatives that have donated to charity following a pay rise

Information Standards Freedom of Information Response

Our Ref: FOI 56-21

31 January 2022



Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“FOIA”)


I am writing to confirm that the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission (Assembly Commission) has processed your request dated 1 December 2021 in line with the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In your request, you asked:

Following the restoration of Stormont in January of 2020, All 90 MLAs received a pay rise of £1000. It was agreed that MLAs could either return the uplift to the public purse through a consolidated fund, or donate it to charity through a 'Give As You Earn' scheme (GAYE). In September of last year, It was revealed by the Irish news that only 38 out of the 90 MLAs had or had begun to return their £1000 pay rise.

This FOI request is the request for information regarding the parties and the names of the elected representatives that have misled the public they serve, by failing to do what is deemed morally acceptable. It is paramount that these individuals are named and it is beyond necessary that the outlined information is released. I would also request the names and parties associated with the MLAs that have returned the £1000, Outlining how they returned the money, whether this was done by donating the pay rise to charity or to be put back into the 'public purse'.

At this time I would also request the names (if applicable) of the charities that received a £1000 donation, from the relevant MLAs. This applies to current and previous MLAs that served as public servants during the time period of when the pay rise would've been received.”

a) Names of the Elected Representatives

The information which you requested relates to personal data as defined by the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) and the United Kingdom General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR). The information which you requested is personal data because it is information relating to one or more identifiable living individuals.

The Assembly Commission considers this information to be exempt from disclosure under Section 40(2) (Personal Information) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA 2000), whereby personal data is exempt from disclosure in certain circumstances.

Section 40(2) of the FOIA 2000 provides that any information is exempt information if it constitutes personal data of which the applicant is not the data subject and satisfies one of the three conditions.

The Assembly Commission is satisfied that one such condition is satisfied.  It is not therefore necessary to consider the other potentially applicable conditions.  The relevant condition is set out at section 40(3A) of the FOIA, and is that:

“… disclosure of the information to a member of the public otherwise than under this Act—

(a) would contravene any of the data protection principles…”

The information requested can therefore be disclosed only if to do so would not contravene “any of the data protection principles”.

In addition, disclosure of this personal information would be considered a breach of the DPA 2018, Schedule 2, Part 3, Paragraph 16 - Protection of the Rights of Others.

Under Schedule 2, Part 3 Paragraph 16 of the DPA 2018, third party personal data must not be disclosed unless we have the consent of the third party to do so.

Protection of the rights of others: general

16 (1) Article 15(1) to (3) of the UK GDPR (confirmation of processing, access to data and safeguards for third country transfers), and Article 5 of the UK GDPR so far as its provisions correspond to the rights and obligations provided for in Article 15(1) to (3), do not oblige a controller to disclose information to the data subject to the extent that doing so would involve disclosing information relating to another individual who can be identified from the information.

(2) Sub-paragraph (1) does not remove the controller’s obligation where -

(a)  the other individual has consented to the disclosure of the information to the data subject, or

(b)  it is reasonable to disclose the information to the data subject without the consent of the other individual.


b) Anonymised Member donations through GAYE

However, we have provided anonymised information below that does not disclose the personal data exempted above. The table below outlines the total Members who have used the GAYE scheme since January 2020 to November 2021, as split by the five main parties and those who are outside of this grouping.

It also records the number of Members who have forwarded cheques or made bank transfers to the Consolidated Fund since January 2020 to November 2021 split by the five main parties and those who are outside of this grouping. The contributing Members do not necessarily stipulate the purpose of returning this money. The amount of money contributed through the GAYE scheme and the Consolidated Fund varies by Member.



Consolidated Fund




Sinn Fein
















c) List of Charities in receipt of GAYE donations

The Assembly does not hold or process details of the intended recipients of monies in respect of GAYE schemes. This matter is arranged exclusively between the Member and the GAYE service.

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 have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF who will undertake an independent review.

The Assembly Commission may publish details of your FOI request and our 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