‘Clause 6.12 of the IPSA scheme states that:
"Where the constituency office is to be rented from a political party or constituency association ... the MP must provide a valuation of the market rate for the contract prepared by a valuer regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors"
My interest is in the arrangements of Mr. E. Davey and his office at 21 Berrylands Road. Please provide me:
1: Copies of all rental contracts for this office in respect of clause 6.12
2: Copies of all valuations from surveyors for this office in respect of clause 6.12’
IPSA holds the information that you request.
Please find attached in Annex A a copy of the lease for the property requested. We have redacted some information under Section 31(1)(a) (Law enforcement) of the FOI Act. This section 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.
Further, please find attached in Annex B a redacted copy of the valuation for the property requested. We have redacted the clauses detailing the specific layout and arrangement of the building, as well as individuals’ signatures. We have withheld this information under Section 31(1)(a) (Law enforcement) of the FOI Act. This section 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 service users 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.
We have also withheld information contained in the valuation relating to third parties, as well as personal mobile phone numbers, under Section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information 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. Under the FOI Act disclosure of this information would breach the fair processing principle (Principle 1) of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), where it would be unfair to those persons or is confidential. For further information, you may wish to visit the UK Legislation website.
Lastly, in IPSA’s view, some information you have requested relating to valuation details of the property as a whole, or relating to third parties, is exempt under Section 43 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act which states that:
“Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person (including the public authority holding it).”
Section 43 provides an exemption for information which is commercially sensitive. We have considered whether the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure and concluded that the balance is in favour of withholding the information.