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Overtime paid to connected parties employed by MPs between 1 April 2015 and 1 July 2016
CAS-51327
Disclosure Date:1 Jul 2016
Categories: MPs' CONNECTED PARTIES MPs' STAFFING
Exemptions Applied: None
Request

could I request updated figures for hours of overtime worked by connected parties of named MPs since April 2015, and figures for how many days/hours were paid to them in lieu of notice/holiday since March 2015.

Response

Staffing Expenditure may only be paid for the salary of one employee who is a connected party, unless an MP employed more than one connected party on 7 May 2010.

At the end of each financial year, we publish information on each MPs’ expenditure over the course of the year. This includes information relating to any connected parties employed during the year, including their name, job title, salary band and whether they were employed full or part time. This information can be found on our website via this link.

Overtime payments

Where a staff member employed by an MP works hours additional to their contracted hours, overtime payments may be paid from the Staffing Expenditure budget.

Overtime is typically paid to part-time members of staff at their standard hourly rate, until their full-time equivalent hours are reached. For full-time staff (and part-time staff who have reached their full-time equivalent hours), the overtime rate is typically paid at 1.5 times the hourly rate. In the figures, below, we have separated additional hours worked by part-time staff members from overtime hours worked by full-time staff (and part-time staff exceeding their full-time equivalent hours).

Overtime may also be paid to existing staff members who are providing cover for staff members who are absent due to long term sick leave or parental leave, for example. In these instances, overtime may be paid through the contingency fund where the MP has notified IPSA of the need to cover staff absence.

Information on overtime paid to employees is ‘personal data’ as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). Whilst this information would otherwise be exempt from disclosure under section 40 of the FOIA, we considered that disclosure would not breach the Data Protection Principles, for the following reasons:

  • it should be in the reasonable expectations of connected parties that there is an increased scrutiny of their working arrangements;
  • given the information we already publish, any consequences on disclosure would be minimal, and
  • the legitimate interests in disclosure outweighed the rights and freedoms of the individuals.

In making this consideration, we distinguished connected parties from other employees, and distinguished overtime details (which, on balance, relate to an individual’s working arrangements) from redundancy or annual leave details (which, on balance, relate to an individual’s private life).

Overtime claimed during the 2010-2015 Parliament

As such, on 17 May 2016 we responded to another request under the FOIA, reference CAS-47630, in which we provided information on overtime paid to connected parties during the 2010-2015 Parliament. You can find a copy of that response on our website via this link.

Overtime claimed since 1 April 2015

Please find updated figures below, representing overtime paid to connected parties between 1 April 2015 and the date of your request.

Alongside the total number of hours paid, we have broken down this figure by those hours paid as regular overtime from Staffing Expenditure and those paid as contingency payments to cover staff absence.

MP Name

Number of hours paid to connected parties

Staffing Expenditure

Grand Total

Additional Hours[1]

Overtime

Christopher Chope

 

81

81

Corri Wilson

 

118

118

Gareth Johnson

5.5

 

5.5

Jim Dowd

 

42

42

Julian Brazier

7

 

7

Paul Monaghan

 

255.75

255.75

[1] ‘Additional Hours’ are overtime hours worked by part-time members of staff in excess of their normal working hours and up to the normal working hours of full-time staff.

The total sum of these overtime payments is £9,725.92.

Payments in lieu of notice or leave not taken

As noted above, information relating to connected parties’ working arrangements are ‘personal data’, as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA).

We consider that, on balance, information relating to the cessation of an individual’s working contract and the associated payments, or information relating to annual leave payments are of a more private nature than overtime hours worked. As such, we believe that it would not be in the reasonable expectations of individuals that such information would be disclosed.

As such, we have withheld this information in accordance with section 40 of the FOIA. For reference, 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.