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Details of all MPs' expenses
FOI096
Disclosure Date:26 Nov 2010
Categories: GENERAL EXPENSES ENQUIRY
Exemptions Applied: Cost limit Section 22 Section 36
Request
  1. Please publish full details of all MPs' expenses claims processed, whether paid out, rejected, or other, since IPSA took over responsibility for paying expenses claims in May 2010. 
  2. Each claim should include the scanned receipts sent in to support the claim, and rejected claims should include the reasons for rejection/requests for further information, obviously redacted as necessary.
  3. If this request is rejected under exemption 22 (intended for future publication), then you should give full details of where, when, and how you intend to publish this information.
Response

 

IPSA will be releasing details about MPs’ expense claims paid under the new, independent regime on IPSA’s dedicated publication website – which will be www.parliamentary-standards.org.uk. This website will go live at 10am on 2 December. Therefore, in IPSA’s view, the information you have requested is exempt under Section 22 of the FOIA (Information intended for future publication).

IPSA’s Publication Policy outlines our approach to publishing MPs’ expenses and can be found on the IPSA website (www.parliamentarystandards.org.uk) under the ‘Publications’ section. A copy of the policy is enclosed for ease of reference.  

IPSA will not, as a matter of course, proactively publish images of receipts or invoices supporting claims. IPSA has estimated that it will cost more than the appropriate limit to consider this part of your request. The appropriate limit is set at £450 (Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the FOIA). This represents the estimated cost of determining whether IPSA holds the information, and locating, retrieving and extracting the information. Consequently, IPSA is not obliged by the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to respond to your request (see section 12(1)).

Claims made between 7 May and 14 September which were not approved for reimbursement will not be published proactively. Sir Scott Baker, the member of IPSA designated by the Lord Chancellor as the Qualified Person under s.36(5)(o)(iii) of the Freedom of Information Act, has conducted the public interest balancing exercise in relation to the engagement of the exemption at s.36(2)(c) (prejudicial to the effective conduct of public affairs) of the Act. It is his opinion that certain forms of adverse effect would or would be likely to follow from a full disclosure of the information you request. 

There is a legitimate interest in the public knowing whose claims were not approved for reimbursement and the reasons why. However, it is also very important and in the public interest that there is a satisfactory and effective working relationship between MPs and IPSA in implementing the new expenses regime. In July IPSA wrote to MPs to the effect that we would not publish details of claims that were not allowed in the period between May and mid-September, in recognition of the need to give MPs time to become accustomed to the new rules and the online expenses system, unless there had been clear attempts to transgress the rules. In recognition of this need to give all parties time to adjust to the new rules and system, publication of this information would, in Sir Scott’s view, damage the working relationship between MPs and IPSA. Sir Scott has therefore concluded that there is a greater public interest in withholding this information than there is in its release. Please note that details of all claims made from 15 September onwards will be published proactively, including those that have not been approved for reimbursement. Each claim not paid will cite a reason.