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Number of representations received in relation to IPSA's decision not to publish expense receipts; operating costs of IPSA broken down under budgetary heads.
FOI127
Disclosure Date:20 Jan 2011
Categories: IPSA - FINANCIAL
Exemptions Applied: Cost limit
Request
  1. With regard to IPSA’s decision not to publish the expense receipts of MPs, [contained in its press release dated 18th November 2010] the number of representations it has received from individuals, groups and organisations regarding its decision not to publish the data. Please summarise and structure the data in a meaningful form; to include whether the representation was in support of IPSA’s decision not to publish or against it.
  2. The operating costs of IPSA with a breakdown under the standard budgetary heads; to include the remuneration package – salary/bonus/benefits etc. – of each member of staff.
Response

In our original correspondence of 23 December 2010 we informed you that we had received nearly two thousand representations by e-mail and letter. However, as a result of your FOI request we have established that the actual figure is 1,167 documentary representations. We can confirm that the majority of the representations were received before the publication date, and were against IPSA’s decision not to publish expense receipts. We have conducted an initial search of 167 emails, which took 4 hours in staff time to complete the process. In order to extract the information you have requested it is estimated that it will take in excess of 24 hours of staff time. The appropriate limit is set at £450 (this equates to 2.5 days work), and represents the estimated cost of determining whether IPSA holds the information, and of locating, retrieving and extracting the data. In accordance with The Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 IPSA is not therefore obliged to respond to your request (see section 12(1) FOIA). Consequently, we are withholding the information you have requested on costs grounds.

With regards to the second part of your request, we can advise that a breakdown of the operating costs IPSA can be found in the IPSA Annual Report and Accounts 2009/2010 (copy enclosed). We can confirm that 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 £10 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.

The benefits received by the Director of Communications are the same as those received by other IPSA staff, namely: 25 days annual leave, rising to 30 days after five years’ service, 2.5 privilege days per year, opportunity to participate in Civil Service pension arrangements, the offer of an interest-free season ticket loan, sick pay, opportunity to participate in Benenden Healthcare.

Details of senior staff salaries can be found on the IPSA website (copy enclosed for your convenience), and a table detailing staff salary band information is also enclosed (please note, the table does not include senior staff salary band information).