Bexley Council has refused to say whether its outgoing chief executive will receive a payout for leaving her role.

Last month, Gill Steward, who joined the council in 2016, announced she would be stepping down from the £192k role on August 31.

At the time, the council refused to comment on whether Ms Steward was working her full notice period, or whether she was receiving any financial payments as she departs.

A council spokesman said on July 9: “Due to a change in her personal circumstances, Gill asked to step down from her role in Bexley.

“The leader of the council, having just won a significantly increased majority and with an ambitious manifesto to deliver, agreed that it was in the best interests of all parties that new leadership arrangements be put in place.”

Now, following a freedom of information request, the council has refused to disclose whether the outgoing chief executive will be paid any severance.

The minimum period of notice required to be given for a role of Ms Steward’s level is three months.

The council was asked: “How much, if anything, did/will Gill Steward receive in terms of severance or any other contractual element, for leaving her role?”

The authority replied saying it would not provide that information, believing it is “exempt from disclosure.”

The council said it is not obligated to provide personal information that could breach the Data Protection Act.

It said: “In this instance, we believe that the release of this information would contravene the first data protection principle because it would not be fair to provide it and therefore section 40 (2) is engaged.

“As you may be aware, Section 40 confers an absolute exemption on disclosure, which means the public interest test does not apply in this case.”

A council spokesman said it would not comment further.