Information relating to MPs' staffing arrangements

Request

  • A breakdown of the bonuses given to family members in MP parliamentary and local constituency offices

  • A breakdown of the cleaner contracts for all MPs constituency offices in the Yorkshire and Humber area.

  • How many workers in MP constituency offices paid by the taxpayer are registered as working in a voluntary capacity as Secretaries, Treasurers, Chairperson and Campaign coordinators for their respective political parties. ie work as a caseworker for a MP of a political party but are also secretary of the same political party

  • The Selection procedures, processes  and assessment criteria for employing staff in MP parliamentary and constitituency offices in line with government legislation. i.e advertising, Equality Act. Recruitment, etc

  • The staff handbook that is used for MPs, Office staff and Managers, Research Assistants and caseworkers in constituency and parliamentary offices i.e Time off, Leave entitlement, Hours of work

  • Where Time sheets for hours already worked are available or can be located on MPs, Office staff, Managers, Caseworkers, Research Assistants.

  • The criteria for attending conferences, speeches, lectures, think tank appearances, campaigning, elections, ministerial work, media work and all other functions not associated with the tax payer funded work of  MPs, Office staff, Managers and Caseworkers.


Response

Many of your questions relate to functions that are outside IPSAs statutory remit.  To clarify, IPSA’s statutory remit is to regulate and administer the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses and to pay MPs’ salaries.  I can, therefore, confirm that IPSA holds some of the information that you request.

Taking your questions in turn:

  1. IPSA does not permit MPs to make bonus payments to their staff. The MP’s Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (the ‘Scheme’) does, however, give scope for modest reward and recognition payments to be made to staff for outstanding work.  Within the terms of the Scheme, however, these payments cannot be paid to connected parties.  The definition of a connected party can be found at section 3.13 of the Scheme and includes family members.

  2. We are not involved in procuring or administering cleaner contracts for MPs and, therefore, we do not hold breakdowns of any cleaner contracts for MPs’ constituency offices, including those in the Yorkshire and Humber area.

  3. Specifically, IPSA’s role is to administer the payment of salaries to MPs and their staff. IPSA does not hold any information relating to the voluntary activities of individuals within MPs’ offices.  You may wish to view the Register of Interests of Members’ Secretaries and Research Assistants, provided by the House of Commons, by visiting the following website: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmsecret/120316/contents.htm.  You may also wish to contact the respective political party for that information. 

  4. IPSA only offers a limited HR resource function. MPs, as the employer, are responsible for their own process for employment of staff.  Therefore, we do not hold information on the selection procedures, processes and assessment criteria for employing MPs’ staff.

  5. IPSA do not issue any staff handbooks to MPs. We do provide model contracts of employment for MPs to use when employing staff members – these can be viewed by visiting the following link to our website: http://goo.gl/2Cyjx.

  6. Timesheets for staff members are not releasable under section 40 (personal information) of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 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 visit the following link for more information: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/36/contents. Under the FOIA, disclosure of 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.

  7. Following our third annual consultation of the Scheme, we expanded our guidance on the activities we do not regard as necessary for the performance of Parliamentary functions (Chapter 3 of the Scheme). These include:

    • attendance at party conferences or meetings

    • work which is conducted for or at the behest of a political party

    • producing or distributing any material which could be construed as campaign expenditure within the scope of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000

    • work relating to delegations to an international assembly

    • work relating to the performance of Ministerial functions

Please visit the following link to the Scheme for more information: http://goo.gl/B7C2e

Ref:
FOI2012-A031
Disclosure:
April 26, 2012
Categories:
MPs' STAFFING
Exemptions Applied:
Section 40