Details of Detachment of Earning Orders issued against MPs' salaries

Request

Please could you advise for the period 2014 - now, how many Detachment of Earning Orders issued by the Child Maintenance Service there are against MP's salaries.

Please could you break the numbers down by:

a) how many new orders issued(received) each year

b) the length of time the orders stood/stand for

c) the value of the orders (no personal details, just the values)


Response

I can confirm that we do hold information relevant to your request.

Unfortunately it is subject to a Refusal Notice under sections 40(2) and 40(3A)(a) of FOIA.

This exemption applies to information which IPSA considers to be personal data within the meaning of Article 4(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation 2016 (GDPR) which states,

‘personal data’ means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person;

Having considered the data, without any obvious personal identifiers, I believe that the numbers involved are still smaller enough that they fall within the definition of personal data above. I therefore had to consider whether disclosure of this personal data would breach any of the Principles relating to the processing of personal data in the GDPR.

The relevant principle falls at Article 5(1)(a)

Personal data shall be:

(a)  Processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to the data subject

I then considered whether there was a lawful basis within Article 6 of GDPR, in particular whether disclosure could be justified under Article 6(1)(a) which relates to the legitimate interests of IPSA and the person making the request.

I can see that disclosure of the information would assist in transparency and accountability by allowing the public to understand use of public money. However as the request is concerned with expenditure relating to child maintenance I had to weigh not only the interests, rights and fundamental freedoms of the MPs concerned, but also of their children. Due to the sensitive nature of issues involving children I believe that by providing the information there is a high likelihood of the individuals being identified and potentially put at risk of harm.

In conclusion I find that the information is personal data and exempt under sections 40(2) and 40(3A)(a) of FOIA.

Ref:
CAS-150322
Disclosure:
June 8, 2020
Categories:
MPs' PAY AND PENSIONS
Exemptions Applied:
Section 40