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Interns working for MPs
CAS-57670
Disclosure Date:20 Sep 2016
Categories: MPs' STAFFING
Exemptions Applied: None
Request

Under the freedom of information act 2000, I would like to request the following information.

The number of interns working for MPs that were:

  1. paid during their internships
  2. received expense costs

in each of the last 3 calendar years?

 

Response

MPs are entitled to claim Staffing Expenditure under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses for costs incurred in the provision of staff to assist with the performance of an MP’s parliamentary functions. This includes the salaries of employed interns, and incidental expenses of volunteers.

Employed interns

Employed internships are typically understood to be a period of workplace learning usually lasting between 3-12 months in a position which generally requires a higher-level of qualification than other forms of work experience. Employed interns receive a salary (the costs of which are met from the MP’s Staffing Expenditure budget). They do not have to be paid within the salary ranges published by IPSA, but their employment conditions must comply with the requirements of National Minimum Wage legislation.

Please find below the number of individuals that are employed by MPs and paid through IPSA’s payroll as ‘employed interns’ in each of the last 3 calendar years.

Calendar year

Number of employed interns paid through IPSA’s payroll

2013

191

2014

183

2015

162

Employed interns are entitled to claim the same expenses as any other staff member. However, as they are not separately identified (by their job title) on our expenses system from any other paid member of staff, we would be required to conduct a manual search of all MPs’ staff expenses in order to identify those relating to employed interns. We estimate that undertaking this exercise would takes us over the appropriate cost limit of £450 (part 1 of Schedule 1 of the FOIA). Consequently, IPSA is not obliged to provide this information (see section 12(1), FOIA).

Volunteers

MPs may also choose to engage volunteers, who must submit a signed model volunteer arrangement to IPSA before being entitled to claim incidental expenses: reasonable travel and food, and non-alcoholic drinks. Volunteers are not required to carry out specific duties for the MP, and they are assisting the MP with his or her duties on a voluntary basis.

Expenses claimed by volunteers are often paid to the MP who then reimburses the volunteer themselves. The information we hold does not indicate the recipient of the claims, and as such, we are not able to provide figures on the number of volunteers who received expense costs.

However, although not requested, we are able to confirm the number of MPs who made claims for incidental expenses incurred by volunteers during each of the last 3 calendar years.

Calendar year

Number of MPs who made claims for incidental volunteer expenses

2013

174

2014

159

2015

140

Further, details of all claims made by MPs for staff and volunteers’ expenses can be found on our publication website, which you can access via this link.