Information relating to Volunteer Intern Agreements
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.
Rushanara Ali David Amess
Hilary Benn Jake Berry
Richard Burden Aidan Burley
Nick de Bois
Gloria De Piero
Michael Dugher Louise Ellman
Harriet Harman Mark Harper
Simon Hughes Jeremy Hunt
Gordon Marsden Kerry McCarthy
Daniel Poulter John Pugh
Gerry Sutcliffe Jo Swinson
Edward Vaizey Joan Walley
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- June 4, 2013
- MPs' STAFFING
- Exemptions Applied:
- Section 42