UK Politics

All highly paid public officials now disclosed

Road sign on Whitehall
The salaries were revealed as part of a pledge to give the public more access to official information

The government has released the names of highly paid civil servants which were previously kept secret.

Last year ministers decided to publish the broad salary details of individuals working for public bodies who earned over £150,000 annually.

But when it issued the list in July 2010, the Cabinet Office said it was omitting 24 individuals who had objected to their salaries being publicly revealed.

The Cabinet Office has today been forced to disclose these names, after being instructed to do so by the information commissioner. This followed a freedom of information request for their identities made by the BBC. They are:

This information relates to last year when the main list was published, so some of these people have left their jobs since. For example this includes Daniel Bethlehem, who was the Foreign Office's chief legal adviser.

Lawyers feature strongly in the list. The four Cabinet Office names were all parliamentary counsel, who draft legislation. At least one of them, Daniel Greenberg, no longer works there.

Miscalculated

This list actually refers to 27 individuals. The Cabinet Office says that it was previously unaware of two Health Protection Agency staff who earned over £150,000, and that it miscalculated the remaining total as 24 when it should have been 25.

The Cabinet Office insists that it still does not know the name of one of the HPA staff who was in this earnings bracket, as the agency will not inform the Cabinet Office of the person's identity.

The Cabinet Office also now states that it cannot be assumed that all these individuals themselves personally declined to have their salaries published.

For example, it indicates that it was the Home Office which did not want this data released for Sir Paul Kennedy and Sir Peter Gibson.

Although the government was forced into publishing this information, I suspect it may not be too unhappy to have received the commissioner's ruling that it should override the wishes of any individuals who did not want their high salaries to be disclosed.

It may assist the centre of government in its disputes with other parts of the state and some civil servants over the transparency agenda.

Update, 17:13: The Health Protection Agency state that the unnamed individual involved has left the agency and moved abroad, and that is why they will not reveal who it is.

Sir Paul Kennedy (the Interception of Communications Commissioner) and Sir Peter Gibson (the Intelligence Services Commissioner) are paid on a pro rata basis in line with judicial salaries that would take them over £150,000 annually on a full-time basis.