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Staffing arrangements of Stephen Pound and Virenda Sharma
CAS-45431
Disclosure Date:22 Apr 2016
Categories: MPs' STAFFING
Exemptions Applied: Section 40
Request

re Stephen Pound MP

  • Can you please advise me what duties M Pound conducts in their capacity as a ‘caseworker’ which is a role publicly funded?
  • Can you provide their job description?
  • Can you advise whether he/she conducts those duties in a parliamentary office or constituency office, or elsewhere? 
  • Can you advise what the nature of the casework he/she undertakes for Stephen Pound is please and which public organisations (if any) he/she communicates with in that role?
  • Can you advise how many hours he/she works per week for Stephen Pound?

Re Virendra Sharma MP

  • Can you forward a copy of Julian Bell’s job description please?
  • Can you also advise how many hours per week he works for Virendra Sharma MP?
  • On which days per week does he carry out these duties?
  • where does he carry out this work?
  • Can you also explain why Virendra Sharma’s staff/payroll salaries increased by circa 250% between 2010/11 and 2013/14?
  • How many staff were on his payroll for each year from 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14 and what was each staff member’s job description?

 

Response

Under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’), Staffing Expenditure may be claimed to meet the cost incurred in the provision of staff to assist with the performance of an MP’s parliamentary functions. It may only be claimed for the salary of one employee who is a connected party (unless an MP employed more than one connected party prior to 7 May 2010).

Following the end of each financial year, we publish information on each MP’s annual expenditure, which includes information on the employment of any connected parties. You can find this information on our website at the following address: http://www.parliamentary-standards.org.uk/AnnualisedData.aspx.

Stephen Pound MP

  • Can you please advise me what duties M Pound conducts in their capacity as a ‘caseworker’ which is a role publicly funded? Can you provide their job description?

You can find responsibilities for different roles, including that of a Caseworker and Parliamentary Assistant, on our website at the following address: http://parliamentarystandards.org.uk/Job%20Description/Documents/MP%20staff%20JDs%20spreadsheet%2015%20-%2016.pdf/.

Please click here to view the job description held by IPSA in relation to the role of Caseworker for Stephen Pound MP.

  • Can you advise what the nature of the casework he/she undertakes for Stephen Pound is please and which public organisations (if any) he/she communicates with in that role?

Although the salaries of staff members are paid by IPSA, MPs remain the legal employer of their staff members, and are responsible for most employment arrangements and the day-to-day activities of their staff. As such, IPSA does not hold this information.

  • Can you advise whether he/she conducts those duties in a parliamentary office or constituency office, or elsewhere?  Can you advise how many hours he/she works per week for Stephen Pound?

The information that we hold relating to a staff member’s working location indicates whether they are based primarily in the London Area or outside the London Area. According to our records, M Pound is based in London and is contracted to work 20 hours per week.

Virendra Sharma MP

  • Can you forward a copy of Julian Bell’s job description please? Can you also advise how many hours per week he works for Virendra Sharma MP? where does he carry out this work? On which days per week does he carry out these duties?

Specific information relating to the working arrangements of staff members is ‘personal data’, as defined by the Data Protection Act. When considering whether or not it is appropriate to disclose personal data under the Freedom of Information Act, we must consider whether or not it would be ‘fair’ and ‘lawful’. It is unlikely to be in the reasonable expectations of staff members, especially those in comparatively junior roles, that personal information relating to their employment (such as their personal job descriptions) will be put into the public domain.

We believe there is a higher expectation of disclosure when the information relates to MPs and their connected parties, as there is a higher public interest in such information. However, as this information relates to a junior staff member who is not a connected party, we do not believe there is a reasonable expectation of disclosure and as such, this information is being withheld from disclosure under section 40 of the FOIA. Section 40(2) provides that personal information about third parties is exempt information if disclosure would breach the fair processing principle (Principle 1) of the DPA, where it would be unfair to those persons or is confidential. You can find out more information about personal data and FOI via guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on their website: http://ico.org.uk.

  • Can you also explain why Virendra Sharma’s staff/payroll salaries increased by circa 250% between 2010/11 and 2013/14?

IPSA does not hold this information. You may wish to contact the MP directly, although you should be aware that MPs are not subject to the terms of the Freedom of Information Act.
 

  • How many staff were on his payroll for each year from 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14 and what was each staff member’s job description?

Please find below the job titles for individuals employed by Mr Sharma at any point during each financial year. The number of staff employed each financial year does not indicate the number of staff active at any one point in time during the year. For example, if an individual left a role and was replaced during a financial year, that role appears twice in the table below.

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

Caseworker

Caseworker

Caseworker

Caseworker

Caseworker

Caseworker

Caseworker

Caseworker

Office Manager

Office Manager

Office Manager

Office Manager

Caseworker

Caseworker

Caseworker

Parliamentary Assistant

Job Title not held

Parliamentary Assistant

Parliamentary Assistant

Caseworker

Parliamentary Assistant

 

Intern

Intern

   

Parliamentary Assistant

 
   

Caseworker

 

Using the link provided above, you can view the job responsibilities for each role. As above, we are withholding the personal job descriptions of each individual in Mr Sharma’s office under section 40 of the FOIA.