Copies of MPs’ invoices related to their expense claims
IPSA holds the information that you request.
As you will be aware, we publish details of all claims made by MPs for business costs and expenses on our website.
Details of the claims requested can be found at Annex A of this response. Please find attached copies of the invoices submitted in support of these claims. Some information has been redacted from these invoices. Further information on information which is exempt from disclosure can be found below.
Section 38 – health and safety
We have withheld some information under Section 38(1)(b) (Health and safety) 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, endanger the safety of any individual. This includes: any information which may identify the private residence or overnight accommodation of the MP, and any details relating to MPs’ landlords.
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 likely that this information could be used to endanger the safety of the individuals who rely upon these locations for accommodation. Although we recognise the public interest in transparency surrounding the publishing of this information there is also a strong public interest in ensuring that as an organisation we are able to protect our service users from threats to their safety. In our opinion the public interest in protecting the personal safety of MPs’ outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.
Section 40 – personal information
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 is exempt information if:
(a) it constitutes personal data; and
(b) the condition set out in s. 40(3A)(a) of FOIA is satisfied, namely that disclosure to a member of the public would contravene any of the data protection principles in the GDPR.
In our view (a) is satisfied because the information sought by you relates to an identifiable, living individual, and (b) is also satisfied because disclosure would breach the first data protection principle in Article 5(1)(a) of the GDPR, which requires that personal information is processed fairly, lawfully and in a transparent manner; processing includes disclosure. In relation to fairness, IPSA is required to process personal data in a manner in which people, including MPs and their staff or volunteers, would reasonably expect.
We further consider that MPs’ staff members and volunteers in particular would have a considerably higher expectation of privacy. As such, we are obliged to withhold it from disclosure under section 40(2) of the FOIA.
This part of the section 40 exemption is an absolute exemption and so no consideration of public interest arguments for and against disclosure is required.
This concludes our response to your request.
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- July 4, 2019
- COPIES OF RECEIPTS/INVOICES
- Exemptions Applied:
- Section 40, Section 38