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Details of claims made by Damian Collins for accommodation rent, professional services and removal costs
CAS-65531
Disclosure Date:14 Dec 2016
Categories: MPs' ACCOMMODATION GENERAL EXPENSES ENQUIRY COPIES OF RECEIPTS/INVOICES
Exemptions Applied: Section 31 Section 40
Request

Please can you provide full copies of documentation relating to Mr Collins's claims:

  • Reference 474093 dated December 17, 2015. I would like this to include the full reasons for the expense claim by the MP and the explanation for why it was rejected by IPSA.
  • Can you also provide the expenses claims for all accommodation rent claims for 2015/16 on the house in Lambeth.
  • Plus two more claims with reference numbers 501924 dated April 2 and April 6, 2016.

 

Response

I will take your requests for information in turn.

Claim for professional services

IPSA holds the information that you have requested.

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. This includes payments for 'bought-in services'; staffing services provided by companies, self-employed individuals or others not on the payroll.

The following information has already been published on our publication website relating to this claim:

Form No.

Short Description

Date

Expense Type

Details

Reimbursed

Status

0000474093

Dungeness Review

17/12/2015

Professional Services (Staff.)

Fees for Noble Purpose

6000.00

NOT PAID Not Under Scheme

Under the Scheme, no costs may be claimed relating to the purchase of goods or services, where the MP or a connected party is the provider of the goods or services in question. As such, this claim was not paid.

Please click here to view the invoice submitted by the MP in support of this claim.

Claim for accommodation rent

Under the Scheme, Accommodation Expenditure is provided to meet the costs necessarily incurred on overnight accommodation which is required for the performance of an MP's parliamentary functions. This includes rental payments and associated expenditure for a property in either London or the constituency.

IPSA is able to make payments direct to MPs' landlords for accommodation rent once the property has been registered with IPSA. In the case of Mr Collins, rental payments are made directly to the landlord by IPSA and do not require individual reimbursement claims. As such, we do not hold any documentation relating to regular rental payments for the property rented by Mr Collins.

Details of all claims made by MPs are published on our publication website. Details of all claims made by Mr Collins for accommodation rent for each financial year can be found via this link.

Claims for removal costs

Under the Scheme, removal costs can be claimed from the contingency fund to cover expenditure associated with moving items from one property to another. 

The following information has already been published on our publication website relating to these claims:

Form No.

Short Description

Date

Expense Type

Details

Reimbursed

Status

0000501924

MP payment card

02/04/2016

Removal Costs - Contingency

AUSSIE MAN & VAN L - Motor Freight Carriers, and Trucking

354.06

Allowed

0000501924

MP payment card

06/04/2016

Removal Costs - Contingency

AUSSIE MAN & VAN L - Motor Freight Carriers, and Trucking

909.06

Allowed

Please click here to view the invoice submitted by the MP in support of these claims.

Exemptions applied

Section 31 – law enforcement

We have withheld the invoice number and bank account details of the company, contained within the invoice, under Section 31(1)(a) (Law enforcement) of the FOI Act. This section of the Act states that information is exempt if its disclosure under the FOI Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice the prevention (or detection) or crime.

After considering the nature of the withheld information it is our opinion that were a disclosure to be made into the public domain it is probable that this information could be traced back to sensitive personal or commercial information which could be used for criminal activity. Although we recognise the public interest in transparency surrounding the publishing of information relating to MPs’ expenses, there is also a strong public interest in ensuring that we are able to protect our service users from the threat of being subjected to criminal activity. In our opinion the public interest in protecting the financial security of MPs and their suppliers outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

Section 40 - personal information

We have withheld personal details relating to third parties contained within the information requested. This information is ‘personal data’, as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). As such, we have withheld such 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.

Section 43 – commercial sensitivity

In relation to the request for documentation associated with the claim for professional services, we have withheld information relating to the work undertaken by Noble Purpose for the MP. 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).  We have considered whether the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure and concluded that the balance is in favour of withholding the information. As such, we are applying the exemption at Section 43 (2) of the FOIA to withhold the information requested.