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Employment arrangements of Simon Danczuk's connected party
CAS-29756
Disclosure Date:28 Oct 2015
Categories: MPs' CONNECTED PARTIES
Exemptions Applied: Section 21 Section 22 Section 40
Request

In relation to the connected party to the Member of Parliament for Rochdale Simon Danczuk (Karen Danczuk nee Burke), under the Freedom of Information Act, please confirm for the years 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15 the following:

  1. Job title
  2. Salary (or salary bracket)
  3. Number of hours if not full time
  4. 4) Number of hours of overtime 
    1. claimed and
    2. paid
  5. In relation to question 4, please advise whether the rate for overtime would have been an hourly rate based upon the salary or at an enhanced rate
  6. The date employment commenced and concluded (if applicable)
  7. Any expenses claimed relating solely to the connected party's employment i.e. travel, subsistence, accommodation etc. 
Response

IPSA holds the information that you request.

For background reference, under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’), Staffing Expenditure may only be claimed for the salary of one employee who is a connected party, unless an MP employed more than one connected party on 7 May 2010. You can find a full copy of the Scheme on our website, by following this link.

For the purposes of the Scheme, a connected party is defined as:

  1. a spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner of the member;
  2. parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece of the member or of a spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner of the member; or
  3. a body corporate, a firm or a trust with which the MP is connected as defined in section 252 of the Companies Act 2006.

I will take your requests for information in turn.

  • Job title
  • Salary (or salary bracket) 

As you will be aware, we publish the names of all connected parties on our publication website at the following address: http://www.parliamentary-standards.org.uk/AnnualisedData.aspx. This is in line with our stated publication policy, which was put in place following a public consultation.

To access this information, select a financial year and then click the link for ‘other data’ for that financial year. This will provide you with the names of all connected parties, the MP they are employed by during that financial year, their job title and salary band. The FOIA states that information that is accessible by other means is not subject to release. Therefore, as the information you have requested is already available on our website, it is exempt from disclosure under section 21 of the FOIA (information accessible to applicant by other means).

This information is published on an annual basis, following the end of the financial year. As such, information relating to the current financial year will be published as part of next year’s annual publication. Section 22(1) of the FOIA states that information intended for future publication is exempt from release. We have considered whether the public interest in releasing the information outweighs the application of the exemption. It is our opinion that the public interest is best served by publishing a full list relating to a whole financial year rather than on an ad hoc basis, as in this way a clear, complete and comparable set of information is published, avoiding any potential confusion. It is for this reason that the application of the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure at this stage.

  • Number of hours of overtime I) claimed and ii) paid
  • please advise whether the rate for overtime would have been an hourly rate based upon the salary or at an enhanced rate

For members of staff employed on a part time basis, the rate for overtime is typically established within MPs’ staff contracts at the standard hourly rate up until the full-time equivalent (FTE), followed by 1.5x the hourly salary rate for any hours exceeding the FTE. During her employment with Mr Danczuk, Ms Burke claimed, and was paid 621 hours of overtime.

  • Number of hours if not full time
  • The date employment commenced and concluded (if applicable)

Specific information regarding an individual’s employment (such as dates of employment and contracted hours) is their personal data, as defined by the Data Protection Act (DPA). Section 40(2) provides that personal information about third parties is exempt information if one of the conditions set out in section 40(3) is satisfied. Under the FOIA, disclosure of this information would breach the fair processing principle (Principle 1) of the DPA, where it would be unfair to those persons or is confidential. For further information, you may wish to visit the UK Legislation website.

  • Any expenses claimed relating solely to the connected party's employment i.e. travel, subsistence, accommodation etc. 

Under the terms of the Scheme, MPs’ staff can claim the costs of travel and subsistence incurred in the performance of parliamentary duties. Further details regarding claims that are permitted can be found at Chapter Nine of the Scheme, a link to which is provided above.

Further, where MPs have caring responsibilities (as defined by paragraph 4.24 of the Scheme), they may claim for the dependant in question. Where MPs share responsibility for caring with a spouse or partner, MPs may also claim for journeys by their spouse or partner made in exercising that responsibility. Further details regarding these rules can be found at paragraphs 9.21 to 9.25 of the Scheme.

Claims made by MPs’ staff and by dependants are published on our publication website. You can use the search function to identify such claims, via the following link: http://www.parliamentary-standards.org.uk/SearchFunction.aspx

Our publication policy states that we will not publish personal information relating to MPs’ staff members, nor will be publish certain personal data where it would contravene any of the data protection principles in the DPA. Claims relating to MPs’ staff and dependants are published on our website anonymously, and do not identify the staff member in question. Whilst you will be able to view details of these claims, it is not possible to separately identify those made by Ms Burke from those made by other individuals. We believe that separately identifying such claims would contravene the fair processing principle of the DPA, and is therefore exempt from disclosure under section 40 of the FOIA.