Access and Temporary Passes

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Dear House of Lords,

I recently made an FOI request submitted on the 12 February 2011 on the Use of Passes, about access by Lords to the Parliamentary estate.

It's not clear from the reply, or in fact from my request, whether to not the figures supplied in the response include temporary passes, which when issued are recorded in the security system.

Can you confirm if the temporary pass usage was included in your reply?

If the answer is no, then I would like to submit a further FOI request.

Between the dates of 1 April 2008 - 31 March 2009, can you please supply the number of sitting days that each Lord used a temporary pass, and didn't use they other pass to access the houses of Parliament.

Alternatively, if it is easier, between the dates of 1 April 2008 - 31 March 2009, can you please supply the number of sitting days that each Lord used a normal pass or a temporary pass to access the parliamentary estate.

I also notice that several Lords who accessed the estate have not got any expenses recorded on your website for the period in question. Can you please tell me why this is the case?

Yours faithfully,

Nick Leaton

House Of Lords Information Office, House of Lords

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Thank you.

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FOI LORDS, House of Lords

Dear Mr. Leaton

I am writing in response to your query and request for information
received by the House of Lords on 10 May.

If a pass holder forgets their pass, a day pass is issued, this contains a
proximity card that enables them to temporarily gain access to those areas
of the Estate protected by an electronic pass reader. This process cancels
their own pass and transfers all access rights and details of that person
onto the temporary card, the reason being that only one valid pass can be
issued at any one time. Use of the temporary pass is then logged in
exactly the same way as the original “forgotten” pass on the
individuals record in the database.

The report that we previously disclosed to you identified all valid passes
that were used on the sitting days covered by your request. If a temporary
pass was issued, this is a valid pass and would be included in the report.
These records would not identify whether a passholder was using their
normal pass or whether they had been issued with a temporary day pass.

As I stated previously the pass system’s sole purpose is to maintain the
security of the Parliamentary Estate, it is not used to record the
attendance of Members and it would not reliably serve this purpose as
Members may enter the Estate at one of the entrances staffed by security
personnel and have their pass checked manually. A pass checked in this
way does not result in an electronic record being created against that
Member’s name in the database and yet they would obviously still be on
the Estate and may attend the House. In addition Members may enter the
Parliamentary Estate, place their pass on a proximity reader and therefore
be recorded in the database but choose not to attend a sitting of the
House or a committee.

Members may also formally attend the House but opt not to claim financial
assistance, they would therefore not be listed in the information
published on the Parliamentary website.

You may, if dissatisfied with the treatment of your request for
information, ask the House of Lords to conduct an internal review.
Requests for an internal review should be addressed to
[1][email address] or to the Freedom of Information Officer, House
of Lords, London SW1A 0PW. Arrangements will be made for someone who has
not been involved in dealing with your request to conduct an internal
review. Our aim is to complete internal reviews within 20 working days.

If, following this review, you remain dissatisfied with the House’s
treatment of your request for information then you may take your complaint
to the Information Commissioner at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire. SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely,

Alex Daybank

Information Compliance Manager

House of Lords

[2][email address]

------------------- Original Message

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Dear Alex,

Thank you for your reply, including lots of detail I didn't request. I wonder why.

Interesting too about the bits where you contradict other FOI requests, but I guess you've been tasked with that. :-)

Yours sincerely,

Nick Leaton