16012 – Chief Fire Office travel expenses

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A request asking for details of the Chief Fire Officer’s official cars and expenses.

Ref: FOI/16012

Dear

RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST

I am writing to confirm that the West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information you requested on 22nd January 2016

Please find below a summary of our findings.

Request

Could you tell me the value of any official car(s) used by the Chief Fire Officer, as well as its make and model, the date of its last renewal and how often the vehicle has been changed in the last five years.

Reply

The Chief Fire Officer does not have an official car allocated to him.

There is based at Headquarters a vehicle that has been part of the brigade fleet for some 6 years that is for use by Principal Officers including the Chief Fire Officer and the Chair of the Authority when on official business. This vehicle may well be utilised by other Headquarters managers.

Request

The annual mileage for official and private business of the Chief Fire Officer’s official car(s).

Reply

Not applicable

Request

All travel expenses claimed from December 2014 to present, including amount charged on each occasion and, where possible, the details of the journey.

Reply

For the period 1st December 2014 to present the Chief Fire Officer has claimed £557.10 in travel expenses.

The information requested concerning the amount charged on each occasion and, where possible, the details of the journey, for the last 13 months could be classed as quite privacy invasive and could therefore provide a considerable amount of detail about the Chief Fire Officer’s private life. This personal information would attract an exemption under Section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Even though it did not need to be considered because Section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act is an absolute exemption, there is a public interest in knowing how much the Chief Fire Officer has claimed in expenses. The public is entitled to assurance that public money is not being misappropriated and hopefully the information that we have provided will give this assurance.

Where applicable rail travel expenses are for second class tickets and the best rates, as in the government rate guidelines are used when staying at hotels. If attending a conference then the local rate used by the hosting hotel is used.

Reimbursements have been received from external organisations where West Midlands Fire Service has paid expenses to Principal Officers whilst they are carrying out duties on behalf of these organisations, for example Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA).

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications. If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision please write to The Public Relations Department, West Midlands Fire Service, 99 Vauxhall Road, Birmingham, B7 4HW

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