Information relating to Volunteer Intern Agreements

Request

1. Any legal advice received by IPSA regarding the “Volunteer Intern Agreement” and its compatibility with the National Minimum Wage Act.2. Whether any legal advice was received by IPSA regarding the “Volunteer Intern Agreement” and its compatibility with the National Minimum Wage Act.3. The number of MPs using “Volunteer Intern Agreements” in 2012.4. The names of MPs using “Volunteer Intern Agreements” in 2012.5. The maximum length of “Volunteer Intern Agreements” allowed by IPSA6. Any advice provided by IPSA to MPs regarding the National Minimum Wage Act7. Any provision or steps that IPSA takes to avoid MPs exploiting interns under these agreements


Response

IPSA holds some of the information that you request.

Taking your requests in turn:

  • Any legal advice received by IPSA regarding the “Volunteer Intern Agreement” and its compatibility with the National Minimum Wage Act.

  • Whether any legal advice was received by IPSA regarding the “Volunteer Intern Agreement” and its compatibility with the National Minimum Wage Act.

IPSA received legal advice in 2010.

We are withholding this information under Section 42 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act which states that:

“Information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege or, in Scotland, to confidentiality of communications could be maintained in legal proceedings is exempt information.”

Section 42 of the FOIA provides an exemption for information that is protected by Legal Professional Privilege (LPP). For the purposes of the exemption, this covers communications between professional legal advisers and their clients, specifically for the purpose of obtaining legal advice, or documents created specifically for the purpose of litigation.

We have considered the public interest arguments, for and against release of the information you request.

After carefully considering the opposing public interest arguments in favour of engaging the exemption and in favour of releasing the information, there is, we believe, a strong and overriding public interest in maintaining the principle of legal professional privilege and, in turn, ensuring that the openness in communications between lawyers and clients is preserved and that the administration of justice is assured. We are, therefore, refusing this part of your request under section 42 of the FOIA.

  • The number of MPs using “Volunteer Intern Agreements” in 2012.

  • The names of MPs using “Volunteer Intern Agreements” in 2012.

Members of Parliament may register volunteers with IPSA for the purpose of claiming for incidental expenses such as lunch and travel to and from work. This may also include individuals undertaking work experience or student placements. Each of these individuals must complete a registration via the online expenses system and complete and send to IPSA a model volunteer intern agreement. That a volunteer is registered with IPSA does indicate that claims for incidental expenses have been submitted to IPSA.

In 2012, 183 MPs registered individuals using the Volunteer Intern Agreement. The names of those MPs are attached in Annex A.

  • The maximum length of “Volunteer Intern Agreements” allowed by IPSA

IPSA does not currently impose any maximum length on such agreements.

  • Any advice provided by IPSA to MPs regarding the National Minimum Wage Act

IPSA does not provide advice to MPs on their responsibilities as employers or engagers of volunteers. MPs are advised in the guidance to the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (under paragraph 7.12) that volunteer agreements are only suitable for those who are not workers and so not entitled to the National Minimum Wage.

  • Any provision or steps that IPSA takes to avoid MPs exploiting interns under these agreements

IPSA does not monitor or control MPs’ use of volunteers. If a volunteer becomes a worker, he or she is entitled to the National Minimum Wage. This wage would be paid from the MP’s Staffing Expenditure budget, which is £137,200/year for non-London Area MPs and £144,000/year for London Area MPs.

Annex A

  • Diane Abbott

  • Peter Aldous

  • Rushanara Ali David Amess

  • Stuart Andrew

  • Ian Austin

  • Adrian Bailey

  • Norman Baker

  • Steve Baker

  • Harriett Baldwin

  • Gordon Banks

  • Gregory Barker

  • John Baron

  • Guto Bebb

  • Alan Beith

  • Henry Bellingham

  • Hilary Benn Jake Berry

  • Brian Binley

  • Bob Blackman

  • Roberta BlackmanWoods

  • Hazel Blears

  • David Blunkett

  • Nick Boles

  • Peter Bone

  • Ben Bradshaw

  • Graham Brady

  • Tom Brake

  • Julian Brazier

  • Kevin Brennan

  • Gordon Brown

  • Richard Burden Aidan Burley

  • Andy Burnham

  • Conor Burns

  • Paul Burstow

  • Lorely Burt

  • David Cameron

  • Jenny Chapman

  • Rehman Chishti

  • Geoffrey Clifton-Brown

  • Therese Coffey

  • Jeremy Corbyn

  • Stephen Crabb

  • Mary Creagh

  • Stella Creasy

  • Mike Crockart

  • Nick Dakin

  • Simon Danczuk

  • Geraint Davies

  • David Davis

  • Nick de Bois

  • Gloria De Piero

  • Caroline Dinenage

  • Jonathan Djanogly

  • Thomas Docherty

  • Jack Dromey

  • Michael Dugher Louise Ellman

  • Charlie Elphicke

  • Natascha Engel

  • Paul Farrelly

  • Lynne Featherstone

  • Mark Field

  • Robert Flello

  • Don Foster

  • George Freeman

  • Barry Gardiner

  • Mark Garnier

  • Andrew George

  • Stephen Gilbert

  • Sheila Gilmore

  • Pat Glass

  • Michael Gove

  • Richard Graham

  • Lilian Greenwood

  • Dominic Grieve

  • Nia Griffith

  • Andrew Griffiths

  • Ben Gummer

  • Robert Halfon

  • Duncan Hames

  • Matthew Hancock

  • Harriet Harman Mark Harper

  • Rebecca Harris

  • Simon Hart

  • Meg Hillier

  • Julie Hilling

  • Margaret Hodge

  • Sharon Hodgson

  • Adam Holloway

  • Martin Horwood

  • Simon Hughes Jeremy Hunt

  • Julian Huppert

  • Nick Hurd

  • Huw Irranca-Davies

  • Glenda Jackson

  • Margot James

  • Diana Johnson

  • Andrew Jones

  • Tessa Jowell

  • Barbara Keeley

  • Liz Kendall

  • Norman Lamb

  • David Lammy

  • Pauline Latham

  • Phillip Lee

  • Edward Leigh

  • Christopher Leslie

  • Brandon Lewis

  • Ian Liddell-Grainger

  • Stephen Lloyd

  • Jonathan Lord

  • Peter Luff

  • Mary MacLeod

  • Fiona Mactaggart

  • Seema Malhotra

  • Gordon Marsden Kerry McCarthy

  • Alison McGovern

  • Anne McGuire

  • Catherine McKinnell

  • Mark Menzies

  • Patrick Mercer

  • Maria Miller

  • Anne Milton

  • Andrew Mitchell

  • Michael Moore

  • Penny Mordaunt

  • Greg Mulholland

  • Paul Murphy

  • Ian Murray

  • Caroline Nokes

  • Guy Opperman

  • James Paice

  • John Penrose

  • Toby Perkins

  • Chris Pincher

  • Daniel Poulter John Pugh

  • Dominic Raab

  • Mark Reckless

  • Rachel Reeves

  • Jonathan Reynolds

  • Dan Rogerson

  • Frank Roy

  • Amber Rudd

  • Joan Ruddock

  • David Ruffley

  • David Rutley

  • Adrian Sanders

  • Anas Sarwar

  • Grant Shapps

  • Alok Sharma

  • Barry Sheerman

  • Andy Slaughter

  • Chloe Smith

  • Henry Smith

  • Jack Straw

  • Mel Stride

  • Graham Stuart

  • Gerry Sutcliffe Jo Swinson

  • Sarah Teather

  • Stephen Timms

  • Elizabeth Truss

  • Andrew Turner

  • Derek Twigg

  • Paul Uppal

  • Edward Vaizey Joan Walley

  • Robert Walter

  • David Ward

  • Chris White

  • Alan Whitehead

  • David Willetts

  • Hywel Williams

  • Stephen Williams

  • Jenny Willott

  • Rob Wilson

  • Nadhim Zahawi

Ref:
F1314-024
Disclosure:
June 4, 2013
Categories:
MPs' STAFFING
Exemptions Applied:
Section 42