Invoices or receipts relating to payments falling under constituency office rental costs for Ed Balls MP 2010-2013

Request

Could I ask for please any invoices or receipts relating to payments falling under constituency office rental costs for Ed Balls MP please? I would like to request receipts and invoices for the period 2010 to 2013.


Response

IPSA holds the information that you request.

In responding to your request, we searched our systems for reimbursement claims made by Ed Balls MP for constituency office rent between 2010 and 2013, in order to locate the accompanying invoices or receipts requested.

As you may be aware, we proactively publish details of claims on IPSA’s Publication website, which provides a significant amount of detail and gives a clear picture of what MPs are claiming for and affords reassurance that claims are both appropriate for MPs to carry out their parliamentary functions, and in accordance with the rules set out in the MPs’ Expenses Scheme.

In our search, we located one invoice submitted by Mr Balls in support of a reimbursement claim for constituency office rent since 2010.  The following table, located in Annex A, provide the information released on IPSA’s publication website relating to this reimbursement claim, as well as all additional information contained on the invoice we located on our systems. Please note that in line with our stated publication policy, we have withheld the invoice number, bank account details and personal addresses. We have withheld this information under Section 31(1)(a) (Law enforcement) of the FOI Act. This section of the Act states that information is exempt if its disclosure under the FOI Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice the prevention (or detection) or crime.

After considering the nature of the withheld information it is our opinion that were a disclosure to be made into the public domain it is probable that this information could be traced back to sensitive personal or commercial information which could be used for criminal activity. Although we recognise the public interest in transparency surrounding the publishing of invoice information there is also a strong public interest in ensuring that as an organisation we are able to protect our service users from the threat of being subjected to criminal activity, which is achieved through our capacity to withhold certain information from disclosure. It is for this reason that we have decided that the application of the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

For your reference, Members of Parliament can choose to either claim their office rental costs via reimbursement, or request IPSA instead make direct payments to their landlord.  Mr Balls requested IPSA make direct payments to his office landlord from January 2011 under the same rental terms and at the same cost.  These direct payments require supporting evidence when they are set up, but unlike reimbursement claims, do not require the frequent submission of invoices or receipts.  You can find details of all payments on our publication website, the address of which is provided above.

Ref:
F1314-138
Disclosure:
November 1, 2013
Categories:
COPIES OF RECEIPTS/INVOICES
Exemptions Applied:
Section 31