Please provide details of all expense claims by the IPSA chairman, Board members, chief executive and senior leadership team since the organisation’s foundation.
Please include for each individual the date the claim was made, the amount the claim was for and a description of what the claim was for. If the claim was for a meal or any other business hospitality, please include the name of the venue. Please provide the original receipts where possible.
I can confirm that IPSA holds the information that falls within the description specified in your request. We are therefore attaching the information you requested to this letter, specifically:
- Details of all IPSA Board and senior staff business expenses to March 2010 and for Quarters 1 and 2 of this financial year (covering April – June and July – September 2010), This information is also available on our website, parliamentarystandards.org.uk, under the Publications section; and
- A document containing copies of supporting evidence for expense claims submitted by the IPSA Board and senior staff.
The supporting evidence has been redacted to remove home addresses, invoice numbers, BACS codes, credit card numbers, account numbers, precise travel times and room numbers. We have also removed any information that is not relevant to your request. We have withheld this information under Section 40(2) (personal information) and Section 31(1)(a) (Law enforcement) of the FOI Act.
Section 40(2) provides that personal data about third parties is exempt information if one of the conditions set out in section 40(3) is satisfied. (Please see http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/36/contents). Under the FOI Act disclosure of this information would breach the fair processing principle contained in the Data Protection Act (DPA), where it would be unfair to those persons or is confidential.
Section 31(1)(a) of the Act states that information is exempt if its disclosure under the FOI Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice the prevention (or detection) or crime.
After considering the nature of the withheld information it is our opinion that were a disclosure to be made into the public domain it is probable that this information could be traced back to sensitive personal or commercial information which could be used for criminal activity. Although we recognise the public interest in transparency surrounding the publishing of invoice information there is also a strong public interest in ensuring that as an organisation we are able to protect our staff members and suppliers from the threat of being subjected to criminal activity, which is achieved through our capacity to withhold certain information from disclosure. It is for this reason that we have decided that the application of the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.
IPSA Board and senior staff business costs for Quarter 3 of this financial year will be published on the IPSA website by the end of March 2011 and information about these expense claims are therefore exempt under Section 22 (information intended for future publication) of the FOIA. We have considered whether the public interest in releasing the information outweighs the application of the exemption. It is our opinion that the public interest is best served by publishing the information at set dates, rather than on a piecemeal basis, which will mean that a clear and complete set of information is published, and will also avoid causing confusion. It is for these stated reasons that the application of the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure.