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Invoices for claims made by Carolyn Harris for professional services
CAS-84171
Disclosure Date:1 Sep 2017
Categories: MPs' STAFFING MPs' OFFICE COSTS COPIES OF RECEIPTS/INVOICES
Exemptions Applied: Section 43 Section 40
Request

I request copies of time-sheets identifying hours worked, hourly rate charged and more importantly a breakdown of the work undertaken by White Rock on behalf of former MP for Swansea East Sian James and current MP for Swansea East Caroline Harris between 2013 & 2017.

I also request information on the following two (2) payments.

First, claim reference 561532 attached.

The above expense claim is for £4,842,16. However, all other relevant detail has been redacted.  Therefore, I would ask for the name of the company in receipt of this expense claim, time-sheets identifying hours worked, hourly rate charged and more importantly a breakdown of the work undertaken by the said company. 

Second, claim reference 559599 attached.

The above expense claim states that it was a staffing invoice submitted by White Rock Consulting for services in January 2017. I am requesting specific information relating to the actual date stamped on the above invoice submitted by White Rock Consulting.

Response

IPSA holds the information that you request.

MPs are permitted, under the Scheme of MPs’ Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’), to claim staffing expenditure to meet the cost incurred in the provision of staff to assist with the performance of parliamentary functions. This includes the costs of payments for bought-in services - staffing services provided by companies, self-employed individuals or others not on the payroll, such as self-employed individuals providing staffing cover or individuals contracted to work on specific research projects (amongst other examples).

Timesheets relating to work undertaken by Whiterock

In relation to claims made by Carolyn Harris and Sian James for professional services provided by Whiterock Consulting, we hold copies of invoices and timesheets which were submitted by the respective MPs in support of their claims for reimbursement. These timesheets have been disclosed under a previous request, reference CAS-44825. In our original response, information which would reveal the hourly or daily rate charged was withheld, as disclosure of this information would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of the supplier. As in our previous response, we are again withholding information which would reveal the hourly rate charged by Whiterock Consulting, as disclosure of this information would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of the supplier. This is in accordance with section 43(2) of the FOIA; please see below for further information.

You may wish to contact the company directly for further information relating to fees charged and services provided.

Invoice and timesheet for claim reference 561532

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

Date

Category

Expense Type

Notes

Status

Reimbursed

25/01/2017

Staffing

Professional Services (Staff.)

LHS Invoice for [***] [***] [***] Hearing

Allowed

4842.16

09/08/2016

Staffing

Professional Services (Staff.)

Notetaking Invoice for [***] [***] [***] Hearing

Allowed

150.00

Please find attached invoices submitted in support of these claims. As above, we have withheld any information identifying the hourly or daily rate charged, in accordance with section 43(2) of the FOIA. Please see below for further information.

We have also withheld any ‘personal data’ (including sensitive personal data), as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), 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.

Invoice for claim reference 559599

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

Date

Category

Expense Type

Notes

Status

Reimbursed

01/02/2017

Staffing

Professional Services (Staff.)

Invoice for Whiterock Services January 2017

Allowed

1550.00

Please find attached invoices and timesheets submitted in support of this claim. As above, we have withheld any information identifying the hourly or daily rate charged, in accordance with section 43(2) of the FOIA. Please see below for further information.

Exemptions applied

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). You can find out more about this exemption from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), who have produced guidance which can be found on their website via this link.

In considering this exemption, we have again balanced the competing public interest arguments for and against disclosure. In addition, we have received specific representations from the supplier which we are bound to consider as part of our judgement as to whether the exemption should be applied.

IPSA believes in transparency, and publishes details of all claims made by MPs on our publication website. In this instance, we believe that the public interest in assuring the public has already been fulfilled by:

  1. the active publication of amounts paid to the supplier on a monthly basis on our publication website;
  2. images of the invoices associated with these claims, which have already been disclosed under a previous FOIA request, available on our website, which also provide the monthly amount paid to the company; and
  3. images of the timesheets disclosed under the previous request, which provide assurance that IPSA has been provided with sufficient information to effectively validate the claim(s) in question. We do not believe that the disclosure of information revealing the hourly rate charged by the supplier, which would have the effect of prejudicing the commercial interests of the supplier, contributes in a significantly meaningful manner to the public interest. As such, we do not consider that the public interest in disclosure outweighs the application of the exemption and we are therefore applying the exemption at Section 43 (2) of the FOIA to withhold the information requested.