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The database contains the remuneration details of nearly 40,000 individuals working in the public sector who were paid £100,000 or more in the financial year 2009-10 or 2008/09.
The details were collated from the replies to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests which were sent by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism to 2,400 public sector organisations. Where FOI
responses were not forthcoming, or indicated that the information was already in the public domain, annual reports and other official documents were consulted.
Freedom of Information requests
The FOI requests asked for the name, gender and pay details of every person in an organisation whocis paid £100,000 or more according to the most recent data available. We also asked for information relating to any extra payments, bonuses and benefits in kind.
The Public Sector
Defining the public sector is not easy. The 2009 House of Commons report into Top Pay in the Public Sector comments: ‘There is a lack of clarity about what constitutes the ‘public sector’. The Cabinet Office produces an annual list of what it calls Non-departmental public bodies, some 766 in all. These are defined as bodies that “have a role in the processes of national Government, but is not a Government Department or part of one, and which accordingly operates to a greater or lesser extent at arm’s length from Ministers.”
We wrote to all the organisations on the list but also included FOI requests to other public institutions, that fall outside those categorisations including Universities, Local Councils, Police, NHS (including GPs) Armed forces, Emergency services, Quangos and the Judiciary.
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The UK National Accounts defines the public sector as comprising of central government, local government and public corporations; however we have excluded the larger public corporations such as Network Rail, Royal Mail, Channel 4 and the publicly owned banks.
These are operated as largely commercial concerns and as such they are unrepresentative of the vast bulk of the rest of the public sector. Others like the Financial Services Authority have also been excluded as they receive no public funds and raise their money from a levy on the banks. However, some smaller public corporations have been included where they have been the focus of government attention over the issue of top pay, for example British Waterways, the Audit Commission and OfCom.
We have not included earnings of freelance contractors – such as management consultants – because these staff are usually employed on temporary contracts.
Our database includes anyone, named or otherwise, earning a base salary of £100,000 or over. Total remuneration includes any additional payments such as bonuses or extra pay. The only exception to this is hospital consultants, their pay is made up of a number of payments so we have included ones whose base pay plus extra pay meets or exceeds £100,000.
Since the database is focused on tracking the actual amount an individual earned we have not included any pension contributions. Where possible we have to the best of our knowledge eliminated any redundancy awards in total remuneration.
Where a salary band has been supplied instead of an exact salary, we have taken the mid-point in that range to arrive at our total remuneration figure. Entries based on a salary band are marked with an *.
Earning figures for GPs come from the Certificates of Pensionable Profits, which each GP submits to their Primary Care Trust. Due to the way this information is recorded, much of the GP information dates from 2007/8 or 2008/09.
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