All correspondence from MPs to IPSA, regarding MPs' remuneration, from May 7, 2010

Request

All correspondence (letters and emails) from MPs to IPSA, regarding MP's pay and expenses, from May 7, 2010.


Response

IPSA holds the information that you request.

The information you have requested cannot be easily retrieved.  We have a central system of correspondence between IPSA and MPs, which allows us to filter by MP and by date received, however, we are not able to easily extract emails by the categories you have specified in your request.  In order to do so, we would be required to manually search all 666 sets of records (which relate to current and former MPs), open each email to identify whether it falls into any of the categories you specify in your request and extract any relevant information from each email.

We undertook a test to estimate the amount of time it would take to identify and locate the information you request.  As a result, we estimate that it would take us 1,156 hours of staff time to identify and locate the information you request, which takes us substantially 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 request (see section 12(1), FOIA).  This estimate does not include the additional time that would be required to extract the information you request. 

We publish responses to consultations undertaken by IPSA since it was established in May 2010 on our website, except in cases where respondents have requested anonymity.  These include any letters or emails received from MPs in response to the consultations.  We have already published responses to closed consultations, including in relation to IPSA’s annual review of the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses and to the work IPSA has already carried out on the review of MPs’ pay and pensions.  You can access the published information via this link to the Consultations section of our website.

The FOIA states that information that is accessible by other means is not subject to release. Therefore, as the information you have requested is already available on our website, it is exempt from disclosure under section 21 of the FOIA (information accessible to applicant by other means).

Section 22(1) of the FOIA states that information intended for future publication is exempt from release.  We have considered whether the public interest in releasing the information outweighs the application of the exemption. It is our opinion that the public interest is best served by publishing the conclusions and responses to consultations in a complete form rather than on an ad hoc basis.   It is for this reason that the application of the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure at this stage.

Further, as noted above, in some cases respondents to consultations have specifically requested anonymity.  In IPSA’s view, this information is exempt under Section 41(1) of the FOIA. Section 41(1) provides an exemption to the right of access where disclosure to the public of information that has been provided to IPSA in confidence by another person would constitute an actionable breach of confidence. This is an absolute exemption and therefore not subject to a public interest test.

Ref:
F1314-078
Disclosure:
August 12, 2013
Categories:
MPs' PAY AND PENSIONS
Exemptions Applied:
Cost limit