Details of Jess Phillips MP's claims for 'professional services'

Request

I would be grateful for disclosure of all invoices relating to all Jess Phillips' claims for 'professional services'.


Response

IPSA holds the information that you request.

Under the Scheme of MPs’ Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’), claims for reimbursement must be supported by evidence. As such, we hold all supporting documentation provided in support of claims made by MPs.

Under the Scheme, Staffing or Office Costs can be claimed for payments for bought-in services (‘professional services’), where staffing services are provided by companies, self-employed individuals or others not on the payroll.

As you will be aware, details of all claims made by MPs are published on our website. The following details relating to claims by Jess Phillips for professional services have already been published.

Form No.DateExpense TypeDetailsReimbursedStatus
000046835005/10/2015Professional Services (Staff.)Digital consultancy£1,666.00Allowed
000046835205/10/2015Professional Services (Staff.)recruitment and office systems£5,000.00Allowed
000047630704/01/2016Professional Services (Staff.)Digital consultancy and systems for 3 months£2,499.00Allowed
000049299810/03/2016Professional Services (Staff.)Independant research for Yardley District£6,000.00Allowed
000049289708/03/2016Professional Services (Staff.)Constituency communications and Managment of Digital Systems£10,000.00Allowed
000056913107/03/2017Professional Services (Staff.)Back Office Management£2,499.00Allowed
000064232206/03/2018Professional Services (Staff.)Back Office Management£4,896.00Allowed
000066029601/05/2018Professional Services (Staff.)Back Office Management£2,448.00Allowed
000067877501/07/2018Professional Services (Staff.)Back Office Management£1,224.00Allowed
000069169401/09/2018Professional Services (Staff.)Back Office Management£1,224.00Allowed
000069169401/10/2018Professional Services (Staff.)Back Office Management£1,224.00Allowed
000069169401/11/2018Professional Services (Staff.)Back Office Management£1,224.00Allowed
000069342130/11/2018Professional Services (Staff.)Back Office Management£1,224.00Allowed
000070382302/01/2019Professional Services (Staff.)Research Project£2,000.00Allowed
000070382301/01/2019Professional Services (Staff.)Back Office Management£1,224.00Allowed
000071215201/02/2019Professional Services (Staff.)Back Office Management£1,224.00Allowed

The associated invoices accompany this response. Please note that we have withheld some information in accordance with s.31 FOIA (Law enforcement) and s.40 (Personal Information).

Further information on the application of both these exemptions can be found below.

Exemptions applied

Section 31 – Law enforcement

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 or third parties engaged by 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) 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 third parties engaged by MPs, that personal information such as bank account details, personal addresses or email addresses, or telephone numbers, 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-147492
Disclosure:
July 31, 2019
Categories:
MPs' STAFFINGMPs' OFFICE COSTS
Exemptions Applied:
Section 31, Section 40