Mr Will Quince, MP's expense claims

Request

Please could you provide all details (including documents submitted to make the claim) of the following expenses claims by William Quince MP for Colchester:

29/03/2018     Office Costs     NEWSQUEST MEDIA     £3,000.00

29/08/2018     Office Costs     NEWSQUEST MEDIA     £147.68

29/08/2018     Office Costs     NEWSQUEST MEDIA     £147.68

27/03/2017     Office Costs     12 Months Advertising £6,000.00


Response

IPSA holds the information you request.

Under the Scheme of MPs’ Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’), the Office Costs budget is provided to meet the costs of renting, equipping and running MPs’ constituency offices, surgeries and other activities which support their parliamentary functions. This includes the cost of advertising the MPs’ surgery times and contact details. MPs are entitled to exercise reasonable discretion over claims for items that meet the purposes of the office costs budget, provided that the claims adhere to the fundamental principles and general conditions of the Scheme, the most relevant of which is that no claims will be paid which are party-political in nature or whose purpose is to give MPs a campaigning advantage in general elections and referendums.

Details of all claims made by MPs under the Scheme are published on our website. Costs incurred by Will Quince MP are published on our website.

Most claims for reimbursement under the Scheme must be supported by evidence. As such, we hold copies of invoices submitted by Mr Quince for claims for advertising costs which are attached.

We have redacted a small amount of information from these invoices, including the names and details of junior staff or third parties (under section 40 of the FOIA) and financial information such as bank account details and invoice numbers, which if disclosed could threaten the financial security of individuals (under section 31 of the FOIA). More information on these exemptions can be found below.

Section 31

Section 31(1)(a) (Law enforcement) of the FOIA 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 information relating to MPs’ expenses there is also a strong public interest in ensuring that we are able to protect our service users from the threat of being subjected to criminal activity. In our opinion the public interest in protecting the financial security of MPs outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

Section 40

Information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person is ‘personal data’, as defined by the General Data Protection Principle (GDPR). Section 40(2) of the FOIA provides that personal information about third parties is exempt information if disclosure would breach any of the data protection principles, defined in the GDPR. The most relevant of these principles is that personal data can only be disclosed where it would be fair and lawful. In this instance, we do not consider that it would be fair to disclose the personal data of junior staff members. As such, this information is exempt from disclosure under section 40(2) of the FOIA.

This concludes our response to your request.

Ref:
CAS-133021
Disclosure:
March 11, 2019
Categories:
COPIES OF RECEIPTS/INVOICES
Exemptions Applied:
Section 31