IPSA’s approach to retroactive validation of MPs’ expense claims

Request

Could you please provide the following information, under the Freedom of Information Act, regarding IPSA’s practice of “retroactive validation” of expense claims submitted by or on behalf of Members of Parliament.

For each financial year 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19, the administrative cost of carrying out these validations (if the financial cost is not known, please provide the number of staff hours).

Details of all expense lines referred back to MPs following retroactive validation in each of the above financial years; information requested for each line is Budget Heading, Expense Type, Findings, Action Required, Financial Value, and amount (if any) repaid to IPSA as a result. Please note I am not asking for details of claim reference numbers or other information that could be used to identify MPs.

For each of the above financial years, the total value of claims referred back to MPs following retroactive validation, the total amount subsequently repaid to IPSA, and the number of MPS who were required to make such repayments.


Response

IPSA holds the information that you request.

We have given careful consideration to your request and have determined that the cost of complying would exceed the appropriate limit set out in The Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 and we are therefore unable to comply with your information request under section 12(1) of the Act.

The appropriate limit for Public Authorities, such as IPSA, is currently set at £450 which represents the cost of one person spending more than 18 hours identifying, locating, retrieving and extracting information falling within the scope of your request.

This is because we have identified over 7565 lines of information, which would need to be analysed to retrieve the requested information. Once retrieved, the information would then need to be combined with information from IPSA’s legacy IT systems. We estimate that this alone would take us over the appropriate cost/time limit. Whilst not factored into the exemption, it would take us additional time to review the data to redact any security-related or other sensitive information.

This concludes our response to your request.

Ref:
CAS-139109
Disclosure:
May 14, 2019
Categories:
IPSA - POLICYIPSA - OPERATIONS
Exemptions Applied:
Section 12(1)