Claims for office rent and pooled staffing by Nick Clegg MP

Request

I am writing to make a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

My interest is in expense claims made by Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg, specifically:

  • Office rent

  • Pooled staffing

For all such claims held by IPSA, please provide me with:

1: The name of the supplier

2: Full copies of the scanned paperwork (including claim forms and invoices)


Response

IPSA holds the information that you request.

IPSA does not, as a matter of course, publish images of receipts or invoices supporting claims. We believe that the information we proactively publish on IPSA’s Publication website 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.

Please find at Annex A (office rent) and Annex B (pooled staffing) the information released on IPSA’s publication website relating to these claims, as well as any additional information contained on invoices and any supporting documentation. Please note that in line with our stated publication policy, we have withheld a small number of details from the invoices.  These include the invoice number, and payment details. 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.

We have also withheld information contained in invoices relating to third parties, such as the signatures of individuals, under Section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act.  Section 40(2) provides that personal data about third parties is exempt information if one of the conditions set out in section 40(3) is satisfied. Under the FOI Act disclosure of this information would breach the fair processing principle (Principle 1) of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), where it would be unfair to those persons or is confidential. For further information, you may wish to visit the UK Legislation website.

Ref:
F1314-161
Disclosure:
December 13, 2013
Categories:
MPs' OFFICE COSTS
Exemptions Applied:
Section 31