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I've Just Sent An Foi Request To Hm Treasury

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The text of my Freedom of Information Request is:

Dear HM Treasury,

I would like to know how much was paid in the financial year 2010/2011 to each of the public sector pension schemes including nationalised industry schemes such as the Royal Mail and Network Rail and the Civil Service, Universities, Police and Armed Forces to fund payments to pensioners, and how much was received from these schemes by way of employee and employer contributions.

I'll post the answer for all to see.

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The text of my Freedom of Information Request is:

I'll post the answer for all to see.

I bet you don't get an answer (at best, the answer will be they don't know / won't tell you).

I'll definitely buy you a pint if you actually find out.

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I bet you don't get an answer (at best, the answer will be they don't know / won't tell you).

I'll definitely buy you a pint if you actually find out.

They have to tell you if it is a valid FOI request. Which it appears to be. I think they have two weeks. When I did one to Chelmsford council regarding housing benefit I received a reply within hours.

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They claim they have 20 days in which to respond.

This Telegraph article from 2007 claims that £128bn was being paid even back then.

By George Jones, Political Editor

12:01AM BST 28 Jul 2007

The cost of paying for inflation-linked pensions for civil servants has soared by £27 billion over the past year, according to figures slipped out by the Government as Parliament rose for the summer holiday.

The total cost faced by the taxpayer has risen to £128 billion - equivalent to £5,000 for every household in Britain, the Conservatives said yesterday.

Philip Hammond, the Conservative Treasury spokesman, said the total liabilities for civil service pensions had risen 50 per cent in two years.

According to a Cabinet Office report, the total liability of the civil service pension scheme in 2006-07 was £128.7 billion - compared to £101.3 billion for 2005-06.

The figures do not include separate liabilities for index-linked final salary pensions for teachers, NHS staff, the Armed Forces and local government workers.

It's not clear from the article if the "liability" and "cost" relates to one year's outgoings (seems a bit high if so) or rather to the total future predicted costs.

That's why I specifically asked about the cash doled out in one year.

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The text of my Freedom of Information Request is:

I'll post the answer for all to see.

Surely these are numbers some government minister will have used for PR over the past months? In which case its reasonable to expect you get a swift answer - if only of the 'it was published here on this date..' variety.

Of course if the numbers say things the government don't want people to know, and they don't give you an answer, it is a fair bet these are numbers the unions will want the public to know. (And perhaps are not the answer you're hoping for?)

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It is an interesting concept setting off a potentially very expensive information request in order to find out something about costs that you are probably not sure what you will actually do with when you get it.

But that's fine...just go ahead and waste my money. :lol:

Given the topicality of the question they should have this information at their fingertips; anything less would be incompetence.

The only real problem is that I emailed my request after 3pm on a Friday afternoon, which means there's no one there to answer. :P

Edited by Nationalist

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It is an interesting concept setting off a potentially very expensive information request in order to find out something about costs that you are probably not sure what you will actually do with when you get it.

But that's fine...just go ahead and waste my money. :lol:

Actually with an efficient MI system, this type of information request should be fairly easy to perform, and quite inexpensive to run as it should just be a standard reporting query.

But yes, as we're talking about the government, it probably is a highly labour intensive process, downloading figures from various different systems in different formats, and needing several days of collation, verification and reconciliations. :(

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The text of my Freedom of Information Request is:

I'll post the answer for all to see.

Good request.

I bet you don't get an answer (at best, the answer will be they don't know / won't tell you).

I'll definitely buy you a pint if you actually find out.

You will more likely get an answer than not. The default position for all FOIA requests is that unless the department can provide a strong legal basis using exemptions against disclosing (which goes through two units whose job it is to tear down that case) the information must be provided on time and in succinct terms.

It is an interesting concept setting off a potentially very expensive information request in order to find out something about costs that you are probably not sure what you will actually do with when you get it.

But that's fine...just go ahead and waste my money. :lol:

FOI is an *EXTRAORDINARILY* expensive piece of legislation to service for central government. As I said, a request goes through a number of departmental units not to censor any answer but to do the opposite - to tear apart any legal protestations from departments not wishing to reveal information! They are pretty ruthless and they have retained legal staff. It'll be batted about for days of intensive and frantic activity - people have to drop things they are doing and service the request ultra quick before finally being approved by the minister and an answer sent back down the ranks and off to you. Yes, that's right. The minister will approve the final answer.

Given the topicality of the question they should have this information at their fingertips; anything less would be incompetence.

The only real problem is that I emailed my request after 3pm on a Friday afternoon, which means there's no one there to answer.

:P

Yes and no. like many private sector workers, some civil servants work flexitime so they'll be gone 5pm on the dot if they've put their time in during the week. The clock will start ticking Monday for your request anyway as you've submitted it too late Friday - before midday and the clock would probably start ticking from that day.

For the record, topicality, controversiality, embarrassment etc. don't come into it. They won't get their objection through the process if a department says "we think this would be embarrassing" - they'll be told to provide the requested information without delay. There is no Machiavellian device here only dumb prompt and response - expect the answer to be bland and unsurprising.

Edited by Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond

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One caveat.

If the information is already publicly available (via the ONS website etc.), they will not answer your request, but they will probaly point you to where you can find it.

If they do not have the information (not all departments have good MI unfortunately), they will also tell you they don't have it. They are not allowed to lie and face criminal proceedings if they do - is that really worth it for a less-than-average-paid civil servant? Probably not.

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+1

Although it depends on how well the question has been framed.

If something already exists in the public domain they'll just refer you to that.

Edit

Didn't see the above response. :lol:

Edited by interestrateripoff

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The text of my Freedom of Information Request is:

I'll post the answer for all to see.

You almost certainly will only get information relating to a sub section of public sector workers such as civil servants, For local government workers you will be directed to the relevant local authorities since they all have their own schemes within the larger local government fund which is not managed or paid for directyly by the Treasury. I also expect that you will only be told current liabilities since future costs for final salary schemes can not be determined until the parties have either retired or resigned and even then future projection are dependent on life expectancy, future workforce projections and surprisingly people transferring the value of their public sector pensions to private schemes. You certainly wont be getting a figure anywhere near £128 billion. You might find that it is even more complicated than you imagine as ex Civil Service pensions amongst others are managed by Capita on behalf of HMG and I believe that similar arrangements may exist for some other schemes

Edited by stormymonday_2011

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The text of my Freedom of Information Request is:

I'll post the answer for all to see.

You might at the same time want to ask how much lower professional public sector salaries were than equivalent private sector salaries between 1993 and 2007. My experience would suggest anything between 1.5 to 2x lower. Starting salary in the public sector in my industry in 1993 was £10.5k compared to £18k in the private sector. 3 years later when fully qualified, the salary was £16.5k public sector vs £30k private sector.

Anybody who thinks the benefits are so much better in the public sector should probably just come and work in it.

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It is an interesting concept setting off a potentially very expensive information request in order to find out something about costs that you are probably not sure what you will actually do with when you get it.

But that's fine...just go ahead and waste my money. :lol:

The upside is that they are reminded that they might be asked by anyone to justify their conduct in office. Keeps them on their toes. A bit, anyway. Accountability is such an inconveniece, isn't it?

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You might at the same time want to ask how much lower professional public sector salaries were than equivalent private sector salaries between 1993 and 2007. My experience would suggest anything between 1.5 to 2x lower. Starting salary in the public sector in my industry in 1993 was £10.5k compared to £18k in the private sector. 3 years later when fully qualified, the salary was £16.5k public sector vs £30k private sector.

Anybody who thinks the benefits are so much better in the public sector should probably just come and work in it.

What is your industry?

You have to go back to 1993-1996 to claim that the public sector is worse off than the private sector? Shows how weak and out of date your argument is then. The public sector pensions were damn good back then, too. And still are. And still will be.

Edited by happy_renting

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What is your industry?

You have to go back to 1993-1996 to claim that the public sector is worse off than the private sector? Shows how weak and out of date your argument is then. The public sector pensions were damn good back then, too. And still are. And still will be.

This situation prevailed between 1993 and 2007 as far as my industry is concerned (science / engineering). So that's 14 years out of the last 18 where private sector workers earned more than in the public sector.

I'm not griping; my point is simply that everyone who thinks working in the public sector is so great should come and work in it. Plenty of 'non-jobs' there for everyone after all, according to some of the respondents on here.

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This situation prevailed between 1993 and 2007 as far as my industry is concerned (science / engineering). So that's 14 years out of the last 18 where private sector workers earned more than in the public sector.

I'm not griping; my point is simply that everyone who thinks working in the public sector is so great should come and work in it. Plenty of 'non-jobs' there for everyone after all, according to some of the respondents on here.

Science/ Engineering is pretty badly paid in the private sector too.(I'm engineering/ management). The way for better pay is to be self-employed or run your own business, but that involves extra work running the business, personal investment and/or periods out of work.

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In case you're all wondering....

I sent the FOI request on the 1st July.

They acknowledged receipt on the 4th of July.

They claim they will answer within 20 days.

It's the 28th July and so far I've received no answer.

I'll give them a few more weeks before rattling their cage. (They may have meant 20 working days - although that's not what their website says.)

Edited by Nationalist

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