Turnover of employees in MPs' Westminster offices

Request

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I am writing to request the following information about the turnover of employees in MP's Westminster offices:

  1. The total number of people employed by each MP in their Westminster office since the 2010 general election, and the length of time each employee has worked there (or worked there until their contract was terminated).

  2. An indication of the IPSA pay scale for each employee, or an indication that the employee was an unpaid intern.

  3. The reason given by the employer for any terminations of employment between the 2010 general election now, i.e. voluntary redundancy, forced redundancy, dismissal, completion of contract, maternity leave, etc.

  4. The annual employment/staff budgets of each MP.


Response

IPSA is responsible for managing the payroll for MPs and their staff and for setting the staffing budgets.  The staffing budgets relate to London and non-London MPs.  However, in order to respond to your request, we would need to be able to identify which members of staff are employed specifically in the MP’s Westminster Office.  For London MPs, this information would only be apparent from the original contract, not from the data held on our systems.  We undertook a test to estimate the amount of time it would take to locate, retrieve and extract this information for all staff employed since 2010 and we estimate that it would take us considerably over the appropriate cost limit of £450 (part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Freedom of Information Act).   Consequently, IPSA is not obliged to respond to your requests (see section 12(1), FOIA).

The second and third parts of your request are subsidiary to the first part of your request and therefore fall within the same cost limit application. However, in relation to the third part of your request, IPSA does not require MPs to provide the reason why a member of staff leaves employment and we can therefore confirm that we do not therefore hold the information you request.

Given the application of the cost list, we have not on this occasion considered the potential application of other exemptions - for example Section 40 of the FOIA relating to the release of personal data – in relation to your requests.  However, you may wish to be aware that, in relation to earlier FOI requests we have carefully considered, on a case by case basis, whether the release of requested information might lead to the identification of the salary of members of staff, particularly junior members of staff and have withheld information on that basis.

Turning to the last part of your request, while we are not able to provide the information in relation to staff employed at a Westminster Officer, the annual staffing budgets for all MPs are published on our website.  This annualised data can be found via this link to our publication website.  The annualised data for 2010/11 and 2011/12 is already available on our website and the annualised data for 2012/13 will be published later this year, following the end of the current financial year.

Ref:
FOI2013-A179
Disclosure:
March 12, 2013
Categories:
MPs' STAFFING
Exemptions Applied:
Cost limit