- Please supply all items of information held in relation to any expense claims for food made by Jim Murphy, MP for East Renfrewshire, since 1 November 2014.This should include copies of any original claim forms, the dates of any claims, the value of any claims, the items claimed for, any receipts filed in support of such claims, and any associated correspondence.
- Please supply all items of information held in relation to any expense claims for office or staff costs, of whatever kind, made by Jim Murphy, MP for East Renfrewshire, since 1 November 2014. This should include copies of any original claim forms, the dates of any claims, the value of any claims, the items claimed for, any receipts filed in support of such claims, and any associated correspondence.
IPSA holds the information that you have requested.
The information you have requested is wide-ranging in nature and is not specifically defined. It could include, although is not limited to, letters, emails, extracts from receipts, bills and invoices, administrative claim forms, staffing forms and contracts.
A large proportion of this information would need to be manually extracted from the form in which it is currently held in order to protect sensitive personal data, commercially sensitive information and information which, if disclosed, could prejudice an MP’s security.
Under section 12 of the FOIA, a public authority is not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit. Under the relevant Fees Regulations, the appropriate limit is £450.
When estimating whether the appropriate cost limit is likely to be exceeded, the Fees Regulations specify that a public authority can include the costs of complying with two or more requests, if the conditions laid out in the Regulations are met. They require the requests to be:
- made by one person, or by different persons who appear to the public authority to be acting in concert or in pursuance of a campaign;
- made for the same or similar information; and
- received by the public authority within any period of 60 consecutive working days.
As such, we undertook a test to estimate the amount of time it would take to locate, retrieve and extract this information from our systems. We estimate that complying with your requests would take us over the appropriate cost limit of £450 (part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Freedom of Information Act). Consequently, IPSA is not obliged to respond to your requests (see section 12(1), FOIA).
You may be aware that IPSA publishes details of all MPs’ claims for business costs and expenses, at the following address: http://www.parliamentary-standards.org.uk/SearchFunction.aspx. Using the search function, you can search for, and extract, details of all claims made by Mr Murphy for food, office and staffing costs.
By way of advice, requests which employ a so-called ‘scattergun approach’, (described as such by the ICO as those which “seem to have been designed for the purpose of ‘fishing’ for information without any idea of what might be revealed”), and which have the effect of creating an unreasonable burden on public authorities, are less likely to fall within the definition of a legitimate request for information under the FOIA. If you are interested in a specific claims that have been made by Mr Murphy (and have been published on our website), and would like a specific piece of information held by IPSA relating to that claim, it is more likely that the request would fall within the terms of the FOIA.