Senior public sector officials should reveal salary and expenses details

Salary and expenses details for every senior public-sector official in the country should be published openly on the internet, Scotland's freedom of information watchdog claimed last night.

The Scottish Information Commissioner, Kevin Dunion, applauded the chief constables for taking the pro-active step of publishing the details of their pay and perks.

But he said that such openness and transparency should be replicated through every public authority in the country, so the public could see how much they were paying for those in top jobs.

The commissioner's latest Annual Report showed a decline in the number of freedom of information cases taken to appeal and a much quicker turnaround for appeals.

Mr Dunion said he hoped this was an indication of a change in attitudes, and that public authorities were now becoming more attuned to the spirt of the Freedom of Information Act, not just the letter of the law.

The commissioner said he also hoped he might now be able to shift his focus from dealing with appeals to pushing the agenda on freedom of information more widely across the public sector.

Part of this will include "information audits" of public authorities. Mr Dunion and his officials will analyse public bodies, finding out whether they are conforming to the demands of the Act.

Two bodies, Transport Initiatives Edinburgh – which is responsible for the trams project – and Queen Margaret University College have both been audited, with favourable results.

Top civil servants 'should reveal salaries' (The Scotsman, 9 March 2009)