During the Ipsa board meeting on 18 November, 2015 the director of regulation introduced a report as part of the Board's comprehensive review of the scheme of MPs' Business Costs and Expenses.
The minutes state: "IPSA’s Director of Regulation introduced the report which covered, as part of the Board’s comprehensive review of the Scheme of MPs’ Business Costs and Expenses (“the Scheme”) , another of the key themes – “Business vs Personal Costs”."
I would like to request a copy of this report.
I would also like to request the minutes from an Ipsa workshop held on 22nd October, 2015, as well as copies of any presentations or reports which were presented to members at he meeting. The minutes from the 18 November meeting state: "A number of other themes – support for MPs’ families (including connected parties), parliamentary vs pa rty political costs, and MPs’ staffing expenditure
- had already been examined at the Board’s workshop on 22 October."
In processing your request for a copy of the report presented to IPSA’s Board regarding business vs personal costs, we have considered whether disclosure of this information would, or would be likely to, prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs. Section 36(2) of the FOIA states that such information is exempt from disclosure.
As you may be aware, the exemption at section 36 can only be engaged if, in the reasonable opinion of a ‘qualified person’, disclosure would result in any of the effect set out in section 36(2) of the Act. IPSA’s qualified person, Sir Robert Owen, as designated by the Lord Chancellor under s.36(5)(o)(iii) of the FOIA, considered whether the information requested would, or would be likely to, inhibit the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation, in accordance with section 36(2)(b)(ii) of the FOIA.
Sir Robert considered competing arguments for and against the application of the exemption, before coming to a ‘reasonable opinion’ as to whether the exemption should be engaged. He then undertook a public interest test to assess whether the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosure in relation to the s.36 exemption. He concluded that the exemption should be applied, and that the public interest in disclosure did not outweigh the application of the exemption. As such, the Board paper requested is being withheld in full under section 36(2)(b) of the FOIA.=
No minutes were taken at the Board workshop held on 22 October 2015 and this information is therefore not held by IPSA.