Details of MPs’ contingency applications for maternity cover

Request

You made the following request.

  • Number of applications made for additional funding, for an MP’s office, to help cover an absence caused by an MP’s maternity leave

  • Number of those applications that were successful

  • Number of those applications that were unsuccessful

  • The amount of money granted to each successful applicant

Information broken down to cover these financial years (but please specify if in fact information provided in calendar years)

  • 2014 / 15

  • 2015 / 16

  • 2016 / 17

  • 2017 / 18

  • 2018 / 19


Response

IPSA holds the information that you request.

In relation to contingency applications, we do not publish information relating to an MPs’ health (including maternity applications) as this constitutes sensitive personal data.

We therefore consider the requested information to be exempt from disclosure under s.40 FOIA (Personal Information). Further information on the application of this exemption can be found below.

Exemptions applied

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.

Whilst we acknowledge that you have not requested information about specific named individuals, as the numbers involved are so small, we consider that disclosure would risk the identification of the individuals concerned. This is because the likelihood exists that individuals who are the subject of this information may be identified either from this information alone, or in combination with other available information.

In our view (a) above is therefore satisfied because the information sought by you relates to information about 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 would reasonably expect.

We do not consider it within the reasonable expectations of MPs that details about their health condition (which would include contingency applications for maternity or other health-related issues), would be disclosed in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. In this regard, we do not believe that disclosure would be fair, and 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.

Ref:
CAS-146371
Disclosure:
July 24, 2019
Categories:
CONTINGENCY FUNDING
Exemptions Applied:
Section 40