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Investigations into conduct of IPSA staff and leaks
FOI114
Disclosure Date:5 Jan 2011
Categories: IPSA - STAFF IPSA - OPERATIONS
Exemptions Applied: Section 40
Request

I am making my request under Freedom of Information legislation: this, then, is my formal request for this information under section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

  1. How many Members of Parliament have made complaints to IPSA about the leaking of information to the media?
  2. What were the names of the MPs concerned?
  3. Were apologies made to any Member of Parliament?
  4. Has any member of IPSA staff faced investigation or internal disciplinary proceedings arising out of allegations of leaking information to the media concerning individual MPs?
  5. Has any member of IPSA staff left the organisation arising out of the leaking of information or any circumstance relating to the leaking of information?
Response

I can confirm that IPSA holds the information that falls within the description specified in your request.

Taking each of your questions in turn:

  • How many Members of Parliament have made complaints to IPSA about the leaking of information to the media?

IPSA has noted complaints from six Members of Parliament in relation to the alleged leaking of information to the media. Two of these complaints were made publically within the House of Commons by Ms Ann Clywd MP and Mr Tom Harris MP. Four complaints were made in writing to IPSA. 

In order to collect this information, we conducted a search of all correspondence to and from MPs relating to the leaking of information to the media.

  • What are the names of the MPs concerned?

In IPSA’s view, the names of Members of Parliament who made a complaint relating to the alleged leaking of information to the media are exempt under section 40 (personal information) of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), as the information constitutes third party data. 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.

  • Were apologies made to any Member of Parliament?

No evidence has been found to back up allegations that IPSA or its staff have leaked information to the media. Consequently, no apologies have been made about the alleged actions of IPSA or its staff. However, one letter of regret was issued to an MP in respect of the distress caused by media coverage.

  • Has any member of IPSA staff faced investigation or internal disciplinary proceedings arising out of allegations of leaking information to the media concerning individual MPs?

IPSA has stated that any allegation about improper behaviour by any members of its staff will be treated seriously and investigated accordingly.

In all cases, appropriate investigations have taken place. No internal disciplinary proceedings have arisen from any of the complaints made.

  • Has any member of IPSA staff left the organisation arising out of the leaking of information or any circumstance related to the leaking of information?

No members of IPSA staff have left the organisation as a result of allegations of leaking information to the media.