Skip to the content

Information relating to Volunteer Intern Agreements
F1314-024
Disclosure Date:5 Jun 2013
Categories: MPs' STAFFING
Exemptions Applied: Section 42
Request

‘1. Any legal advice received by IPSA regarding the “Volunteer Intern Agreement” and its compatibility with the National Minimum Wage Act.
2. Whether any legal advice was received by IPSA regarding the “Volunteer Intern Agreement” and its compatibility with the National Minimum Wage Act.
3. The number of MPs using “Volunteer Intern Agreements” in 2012.
4. The names of MPs using “Volunteer Intern Agreements” in 2012.
5. The maximum length of “Volunteer Intern Agreements” allowed by IPSA
6. Any advice provided by IPSA to MPs regarding the National Minimum Wage Act
7. Any provision or steps that IPSA takes to avoid MPs exploiting interns under these agreements’

Response

IPSA holds some of the information that you request.


Taking your requests in turn:
1. Any legal advice received by IPSA regarding the “Volunteer Intern Agreement” and its compatibility with the National Minimum Wage Act.
2. Whether any legal advice was received by IPSA regarding the “Volunteer Intern Agreement” and its compatibility with the National Minimum Wage Act.

IPSA received legal advice in 2010.


We are withholding this information under Section 42 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act which states that:

“Information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege or, in Scotland, to confidentiality of communications could be maintained in legal proceedings is exempt information.”

Section 42 of the FOIA provides an exemption for information that is protected by Legal Professional Privilege (LPP). For the purposes of the exemption, this covers communications between professional legal advisers and their clients, specifically for the purpose of obtaining legal advice, or documents created specifically for the purpose of litigation.

We have considered the public interest arguments, for and against release of the information you request.
The arguments considered in favour of disclosure:

 there is an inbuilt presumption in the FOI legislation that information requested should be released on request; and
 there is a legitimate public interest in understanding the rules relating to the spending of public funds;

Reference Number: F1314-024
Date of disclosure: 5 June 2013
Request summary: Volunteer Intern Agreements
Exemptions used: Section 42

The arguments considered against disclosure:
 there is a strong inbuilt public interest in maintaining the principle of LPP.

After carefully considering the opposing public interest arguments in favour of engaging the exemption and in favour of releasing the information, there is, we believe, a strong and overriding public interest in maintaining the principle of legal professional privilege and, in turn, ensuring that the openness in communications between lawyers and clients is preserved and that the administration of justice is assured. We are, therefore, refusing this part of your request under section 42 of the FOIA.

3. The number of MPs using “Volunteer Intern Agreements” in 2012.
4. The names of MPs using “Volunteer Intern Agreements” in 2012.

Members of Parliament may register volunteers with IPSA for the purpose of claiming for incidental expenses such as lunch and travel to and from work. This may also include individuals undertaking work experience or student placements. Each of these individuals must complete a registration via the online expenses system and complete and send to IPSA a model volunteer intern agreement. That a volunteer is registered with IPSA does indicate that claims for incidental expenses have been submitted to IPSA.

In 2012, 183 MPs registered individuals using the Volunteer Intern Agreement. The names of those MPs are attached in Annex A.

5. The maximum length of “Volunteer Intern Agreements” allowed by IPSA

IPSA does not currently impose any maximum length on such agreements.

6. Any advice provided by IPSA to MPs regarding the National Minimum Wage Act

IPSA does not provide advice to MPs on their responsibilities as employers or engagers of volunteers. MPs are advised in the guidance to the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (under paragraph 7.12) that volunteer agreements are only suitable for those who are not workers and so not entitled to the National Minimum Wage.

7. Any provision or steps that IPSA takes to avoid MPs exploiting interns under these agreements

IPSA does not monitor or control MPs’ use of volunteers. If a volunteer becomes a worker, he or she is entitled to the National Minimum Wage. This wage would be paid from the MP’s Staffing Expenditure budget, which is £137,200/year for non-London Area MPs and £144,000/year for London Area MPs.

 

 

Annex A

 

 

Diane Abbott

Peter Aldous

Rushanara Ali David Amess

Stuart Andrew

Ian Austin

Adrian Bailey

Norman Baker

Steve Baker

Harriett Baldwin

Gordon Banks

Gregory Barker

John Baron

Guto Bebb

Alan Beith

Henry Bellingham

Hilary Benn Jake Berry

Brian Binley

Bob Blackman

Roberta BlackmanWoods

Hazel Blears

David Blunkett

Nick Boles

Peter Bone

Ben Bradshaw

Graham Brady

Tom Brake

Julian Brazier

Kevin Brennan

Gordon Brown

Richard Burden Aidan Burley

Andy Burnham

Conor Burns

Paul Burstow

Lorely Burt

David Cameron

Jenny Chapman

Rehman Chishti

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown

Therese Coffey

Jeremy Corbyn

Stephen Crabb

Mary Creagh

Stella Creasy

Mike Crockart

Nick Dakin

Simon Danczuk

Geraint Davies

David Davis

Nick de Bois

Gloria De Piero

Caroline Dinenage

Jonathan Djanogly

Thomas Docherty

Jack Dromey

Michael Dugher Louise Ellman

Charlie Elphicke

Natascha Engel

Paul Farrelly

Lynne Featherstone

Mark Field

Robert Flello

Don Foster

George Freeman

Barry Gardiner

Mark Garnier

Andrew George

Stephen Gilbert

Sheila Gilmore

Pat Glass

Michael Gove

Richard Graham

Lilian Greenwood

Dominic Grieve

Nia Griffith

Andrew Griffiths

Ben Gummer

Robert Halfon

Duncan Hames

Matthew Hancock

Harriet Harman Mark Harper

Rebecca Harris

Simon Hart

Meg Hillier

Julie Hilling

Margaret Hodge

Sharon Hodgson

Adam Holloway

Martin Horwood

Simon Hughes Jeremy Hunt

Julian Huppert

Nick Hurd

Huw Irranca-Davies

Glenda Jackson

Margot James

Diana Johnson

Andrew Jones

Tessa Jowell

Barbara Keeley

Liz Kendall

Norman Lamb

David Lammy

Pauline Latham

Phillip Lee

Edward Leigh

Christopher Leslie

Brandon Lewis

Ian Liddell-Grainger

Stephen Lloyd

Jonathan Lord

Peter Luff

Mary MacLeod

Fiona Mactaggart

Seema Malhotra

Gordon Marsden Kerry McCarthy

Alison McGovern

Anne McGuire

Catherine McKinnell

Mark Menzies

Patrick Mercer

Maria Miller

Anne Milton

Andrew Mitchell

Michael Moore

Penny Mordaunt

Greg Mulholland

Paul Murphy

Ian Murray

Caroline Nokes

Guy Opperman

James Paice

John Penrose

Toby Perkins

Chris Pincher

Daniel Poulter John Pugh

Dominic Raab

Mark Reckless

Rachel Reeves

Jonathan Reynolds

Dan Rogerson

Frank Roy

Amber Rudd

Joan Ruddock

David Ruffley

David Rutley

Adrian Sanders

Anas Sarwar

Grant Shapps

Alok Sharma

Barry Sheerman

Andy Slaughter

Chloe Smith

Henry Smith

Jack Straw

Mel Stride

Graham Stuart

Gerry Sutcliffe Jo Swinson

Sarah Teather

Stephen Timms

Elizabeth Truss

Andrew Turner

Derek Twigg

Paul Uppal

Edward Vaizey Joan Walley

Robert Walter

David Ward

Chris White

Alan Whitehead

David Willetts

Hywel Williams

Stephen Williams

Jenny Willott

Rob Wilson

Nadhim Zahawi