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Timesheets submitted for Whiterock Consulting by Sian James and Carolyn Harris
CAS-44825
Disclosure Date:26 Apr 2016
Categories: COPIES OF RECEIPTS/INVOICES MPs' STAFFING
Exemptions Applied: Section 43
Request

Copies of timesheets submitted by Sian James and Carolyn Harris MP in relation to work undertaken by Whiterock Consulting

 

Response

IPSA holds the information that you request.

MPs are permitted, under chapter seven of the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’), to claim staffing expenditure to meet the cost incurred in the provision of staff to assist with the performance of parliamentary functions. This includes the costs of payments for bought-in services - staffing services provided by companies, self-employed individuals or others not on the payroll, such as self-employed individuals providing staffing cover or individuals contracted to work on specific research projects (amongst other examples). You can view a copy of the Scheme on our website via this link.

Under the Scheme, all claims for reimbursement must be supported by evidence. As such, we hold all supporting documentation provided in support of claims made by MPs.

Please click here to download the timesheets submitted by Ms James and Mrs Harris in support of the claims specified in your request. All such claims were reimbursed in full by IPSA.

Exemptions applied

Section 43 – Commercial interests

Under section 43(2) of the FOIA, we have withheld information contained within the timesheets which would reveal the hourly rate charged by the supplier, as disclosure of this information would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of the supplier.

Section 43 of the FOIA provides an exemption for information which is commercially sensitive, where disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person (including the public authority holding it).

In considering this exemption, we have balanced the competing public interest arguments for and against disclosure. IPSA believes in transparency, and publishes details of all claims made by MPs on our publication website. In this instance, we believe that the public interest in assuring the public has already been fulfilled by:

  1. the active publication of amounts paid to the supplier on a monthly basis on our publication website;
  2. images of the invoices associated with these claims, which have already been disclosed under a previous FOIA request, available on our website, which also provide the monthly amount paid to the company; and
  3. images of the timesheets disclosed under this request, which provide assurance that IPSA has been provided with sufficient information to effectively validate the claim(s) in question.

We do not believe that the disclosure of information revealing reveal the hourly rate charged by the supplier, which would have the effect of prejudicing the commercial interests of the supplier, contributes in a significantly meaningful manner to the public interest. As such, we do not consider that the public interest in disclosure outweighs the application of the exemption and we are therefore applying the exemption at Section 43 (2) of the FOIA to withhold the information requested.

You may wish to contact the company directly for further information relating to fees charged and services provided.