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IPSA's operations, costs and staffing information
FOI045
Disclosure Date:
Categories: IPSA - BOARD IPSA - FINANCIAL IPSA - STAFF
Exemptions Applied: Section 21
Request

I will also be grateful if, as a Freedom of Information request under the terms of the Act, you will provide me with the following information:

  1. The annual cost of the IPSA premises.
  2. The claimed depreciation on those premises and furnishings.
  3. The total number of staff now employed by IPSA.
  4. Details of the job descriptions and offered salaries for those (such as “communications staff”) that you are currently recruiting. This response to include full details of each post advertised under the heading “Building Confidence in the Future” in the Guardian Newspaper.
  5. The minutes of the IPSA Board meeting at which the decision to recruit a “Communications” executive was taken and the justification for that decision and inherent expenditure.
  6. Salary details and job descriptions for every member of the IPSA staff earning in excess of £50 thousand per year.
  7. Details of any bonus packages due payable to IPSA executives.
  8. Full details of the appraisal of the “key security” scheme that you have adopted together with an indication of the comparators used and assessments made of this system used, if at all, elsewhere.
  9. Details of the contract for the key security scheme, its annual cost, the duration of the contract and any penalties for early termination.
  10. Full details of the assessment made of the Members’ travel scheme and the manner in which calculations were made for door-to-door travel durations and distances between the Palace of Westminster and Members’ home destinations (not, please, Constituency station – London termini travel times). This information should indicate the times of day at which, for each individual constituency, assessments have been made.
  11. Your assessment of the number of Members who have, at today’s date, been unable to access London accommodation and Office Costs claims.”
Response

You requested the following information:

  • The annual cost of the IPSA premises.

IPSA currently pays an average rent of £348,000 per annum over the life of the lease for its IPSA office in Portland House.

  • The claimed depreciation on those premises and furnishings.

Figures for depreciation will be reported in IPSA’s forthcoming annual report. Therefore, in IPSA’s view, the information you have requested is exempt under Section 22 of the FOIA (Information intended for future publication).

  • The total number of staff now employed by IPSA.

There are currently 26 permanent and 49 temporary members of staff at IPSA.

IPSA will conduct a thorough organisational review in the autumn to ensure that it is meeting business needs and operating in a cost effective and efficient way. Subject to the outcome of the organisational review it is expected that the number of staff will progressively reduce towards 57.

Attached is an organisational chart which shows IPSA’s expected structure in October 2010. This is subject to an organisational review due to take place in the autumn.

  • Details of the job descriptions and offered salaries for those (such as the communications staff) that you are currently recruiting. This response to include full details of each post advertised under the heading “Building Confidence in the Future” in the Guardian Newspaper.

The following positions and salaries as advertised appeared under the heading ‘Building Confidence in the Future’ in the Guardian Newspaper:

Payments Manager (Grade D)

£35,000 to £40,500

Assurance & review Officers (Grade B)

£23,000 to £26,750

Head of Policy (Grade E)

£46,000 to £53,750

Policy Manager (Grade D)

£35,000 to £40,500

Assistant Policy Manager (Grade C)

£30,500 to £33,750

Communications Director

Up to £85,000

Communications Manager (Grade E)

£46,000 to £53,750

Head of IT and Data Security (Grade E)

£46,000 to £53,750

Finance Manager (Grade D)

£35,000 to £40,500

Assistant Manager Contract Management (Grade C)

£30,500 to £33,750

Assistant Manager Corporate Performance (Grade C)

£30,500 to £33,750

Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive (Grade C)

£30,500 to £33,750

Facilities Officer (Grade B)

£23,000 to £26,750

IPSA is also currently recruiting for an Investigations Manager with an advertised salary of £46,000 to £53,750, details of which can be found on the IPSA website.

In accordance with Section 21 of the FOIA (information accessible by other means) I refer you to the IPSA website where job descriptions for all members of IPSA’s staff can be found (http://www.parliamentarystandards.org.uk/). These can be found under the Publications section of the website.

  • The minutes of the IPSA Board meeting at which the decision to recruit a Communications executive was taken and the justification for that decision and inherent expenditure.

In accordance with Section 21 of the FOIA (information accessible by other means) I refer you to the IPSA website where the minutes of all IPSA Board meetings can be found.

The decision to recruit a Communications Executive was taken at a meeting of the Design Authority Board in February 2010.

  • Salary details and job descriptions for every member of the IPSA staff earning in excess of £50 thousand per year.

Details of senior staff salaries and a breakdown by pay band of junior staff salaries will be published in the IPSA Annual report which will be available in Summer 2010. This information is therefore exempt under Section 22 (Information intended for future publication) of the FOIA.

In accordance with Section 21 of the FOIA (information accessible by other means) I refer you to the IPSA website where job descriptions for all members of IPSA’s staff can be found (http://www.parliamentarystandards.org.uk/). These can be found under the Publications section of the website.

  • Details of any bonus packages due payable to IPSA executives.

IPSA has no bonus schemes in place for its employees. There is, however, a Reward and Recognition Scheme for IPSA staff. The aim of this scheme is to recognise and reward behaviours that support IPSA’s values, deliver extra-ordinary service to our users or outstanding pieces of work. The reward is limited to vouchers worth up to £20 per person for the five award categories.

Please note that civil servants seconded to IPSA are covered by the policies of their departments. Pay policy varies by government department. Typically, policies provide for non-consolidated performance bonuses relating to the 2009-10 performance year to be awarded in 2010 to top performers. Recognising and rewarding top performers is consistent with the Civil Service Reward Principles launched in 2006. These payments will have been budgeted for within the spending plans approved by HM Treasury.

  • Full details of the appraisal of the ‘key security’ scheme that you have adopted together with an indication of the comparators used and assessments made of this system used, if at all, elsewhere.

The use of RSA remote access tokens is standard practice in both the public and private sector to provide 'two factor authentication' thus ensuring the security of the data that is being transferred. This approach was adopted following advice from the security and information assurance advisors that the IPSA Implementation Team appointed.

  • Details of the contract for the key security scheme, its annual cost, the duration of the contract and any penalties for early termination.

The RSA Security solution was procured by via the overall contract with Calyx (UK) Ltd. on the advice of our security advisors who investigated a number of options.

The annual support cost for the RSA token scheme is £6762.81. The duration of the contract is 5 years and the penalty for early termination is the outstanding amount in the 5 year support period.

The details of the contract are commercially sensitive. In IPSA’s view the disclosure of this information is therefore exempt under Section 43(2) of the FOIA (Commercial interests). The engagement of this qualified exemption requires an explanation of the competing public interest arguments surrounding its use. Arguments in favour of disclosure include transparency in the accountability of public funds, that public authorities are getting value for money and conducting procurement activities in an open and honest way. The competing argument that weighs in favour of withholding the requested information is that to do so would prejudice IPSA’s commercial interests by affecting adversely its bargaining position during any future contractual negotiations which would result in the less effective use of public money. It is IPSA’s view that the public interest is therefore best served by the continued engagement of this exemption.

  • Full details of the assessment made of the members travel scheme and the manner in which calculations were made for door-to-door travel durations and distances between the Palace of Westminster and Members’ home destinations.

No assessment was made of door-to-door travel durations and distances between the Palace of Westminster and MPs' home destinations. This would not have been possible as IPSA was not in possession of MPs' home addresses at the time at which the Expenses Scheme was agreed (which sets out the 128 constituencies whose MPs are ineligible for accommodation expenses).

However, in any case, IPSA did not consider that eligibility for accommodation could reasonably be decided on the basis of where the MP elected to live. This would have created a perverse incentive for the MP to opt to live further away from Westminster, in order to be eligible for accommodation. The decision was therefore taken on principle that eligibility should depend on the constituency's proximity to Westminster. It is then down to MPs whether they elect to live close to the station within their constituency which has the fastest links to Westminster.

  • Your assessment of the number of members who have, at today’s date, been unable to access London accommodation and Office costs claims.

All MPs can access claims for office costs if they wish to do so.  522 MPs can access claims for London accommodation as long as they are not entitled to a grace and favour home or mortgage interest repayments. It is for individual MPs to decide if they wish to claim for accommodation in London or in their constituency.  Alternatively they could decide to claim the London Area Living Allowance (LALP) and not claim for accommodation.

The number of MPs who have registered constituency offices is 234.

The number of MPs who have registered living accommodation is 279.