Invoices and receipts relating to Rob Flello MP

Request

Under the FOI Act please provide me with the following information, or tell me where I can find it, relating to any claims, allowances or expenses for Rob Flello MP for Stoke-on-Trent South Consituency:

  1. A breakdown of all claims regarding his consituency office - in Travers Court, Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent for the financial year 2010/11

  2. Copies of any invoices/ receipts submitted by the said MP in terms of his claims for the financial year 2010/11 in which Stoke-on-Trent City Council was the service provider or landlord


Response

In respect of the breakdown of all claims made by Mr Flello regarding his constituency office, you will wish to be aware that IPSA publishes these details, along with details of other expenses incurred by MPs, once every two months on our publication website. A user guide can also be found on the website to assist you with your search. The information you have requested is therefore exempt from disclosure under section 21 of the FOIA (information accessible to applicant by other means) because the information can be found on IPSA’s website.

You also specifically requested receipt information regarding expenses paid to Mr Rob Flello MP in 2010/11 in which Stoke-on-Trent City Council was the service provider or landlord.

IPSA will not, as a matter of course, publish images of receipts or invoices supporting claims. We believe that the information we publish proactively on IPSA’s Publication website provides a significant amount of detail and gives a clear picture of what MPs are claiming for and affords reassurance that claims are both appropriate for MPs to carry out their parliamentary functions and in accordance with the rules set out in the MPs’ Expenses Scheme.

The following tables at Annex A provide the information released on IPSA’s publication website relating to these claims, as well as all additional information contained on each invoice/receipt. Please note that we have withheld account numbers, invoice numbers and authorisation codes. 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 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 invoice information there is also a strong public interest in ensuring that as an organisation we are able to protect our service users from the threat of being subjected to criminal activity, which is achieved through our capacity to withhold certain information from disclosure. It is for this reason that we have decided that the application of the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

We have also withheld information regarding name and contact details of an employee at Stoke-on-Trent City Council under section 40 (personal information) of the FOI Act as the information constitutes third party data. Section 40(2) provides that personal data about third parties is exempt information if one of the conditions set out in section 40(3) is satisfied. (Please see http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/36/contents). Under the FOI Act disclosure of this information would breach the fair processing principle contained in the Data Protection Act (DPA), where it would be unfair to those persons or is confidential.

Annex A

Ref:
FOI2011-080
Disclosure:
September 4, 2011
Categories:
COPIES OF RECEIPTS/INVOICES
Exemptions Applied:
Section 21