Skip to the content

Details of security assistance claimed in 2015-16 and 2016-17
CAS-80609
Disclosure Date:9 May 2017
Categories: SECURITY ASSISTANCE
Exemptions Applied: Section 22 Section 31
Request
  1. Please disclose the number of applications by MPs for security assistance approved in 2015-16 and in 2016-17. Please disclose the number of MPs involved in these applications.
  2. Please disclose the total amount paid in relation to successful applications in each of these financial years.
  3. Please disclose the highest amount paid in security assistance to an individual MP in 2015-16 and in 2016-17.
Response

IPSA holds the information that you request.

Security Assistance may be claimed under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’) for additional security measures that are necessary to enable the MP’s parliamentary functions to be undertaken.

IPSA takes the security of MPs very seriously. We wrote to all MPs in January 2016 to inform them of the security support available, which includes security at their home and at constituency offices.

Claims for Security Assistance do not follow the same claims validation process utilised for most other claims made under the Scheme. Instead there is an application process outlined in the security options package issued by IPSA, which were prepared by security experts in the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) and the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI).

Due to the sensitive nature of claims for Security Assistance, details of individual claims are not published. However, at the end of each financial year we publish the total figure for claims made during the year. You can find this information on our website at the following address: https://www.theipsa.org.uk/mp-costs/other-published-data/.

MPs may still choose to claim routine security costs from their standard budgets (eg. Office Costs Expenditure) as a standard claim. Details of such claims would be published on our website under the relevant expense type.

Taking your requests for information in turn:

  • Please disclose the number of applications by MPs for security assistance approved in 2015-16 and in 2016-17. Please disclose the number of MPs involved in these applications.

Changes to the system of security support available to MPs were made in January 2016. As such, the information that were hold relating to the 2015-16 financial year only dates from January 2016. Between January 2016 and 31 March 2016, 31 applications were made for security assistance by 25 MPs.

Between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017, 530 applications were made for security assistance by 306 MPs.

  • Please disclose the total amount paid in relation to successful applications in each of these financial years.

As noted above, at the end of each financial year we publish the total figure for claims made during the year. You can find this information on our website at the following address: https://www.theipsa.org.uk/mp-costs/other-published-data/.

 

The most recently published data relates to the 2015-16 financial year. As you will note, £170,576.24 was spent on security assistance during the year.

Figures relating to the 2016-17 financial year will be published in autumn 2017 in line with our publication policy[1], along with full details of expenditure incurred by all MPs during the year. Section 22(1) of the FOIA states that information intended for future publication is exempt from release. We have considered whether the public interest in releasing the information outweighs the application of the exemption. It is our opinion that the public interest is best served by publishing a full list rather than on an ad hoc basis, as in this way a clear and complete set of information is published, avoiding any potential confusion. It is for this reason that the application of the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure at this stage.

  • Please disclose the highest amount paid in security assistance to an individual MP in 2015-16 and in 2016-17.

As noted above, due to the sensitive nature of claims for Security Assistance, details of individual claims are not published. This is in line with our publication policy, which was last publicly consulted on at the end of 2016.

Having considered the nature of the information requested, we have withheld this information 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 possible that the information could indirectly prejudice the security of MPs, and therefore the prevention of crime. 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 threats which have been made against them. In our opinion the public interest in protecting the security of MPs outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

[1] A copy of our publication policy can be found at the following address: http://www.theipsa.org.uk/publications/consultations/publication-policy/