Dear House of Lords,

Lord Lipsey has just made the following statement

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There, officials sit with lists of peers ticking those who come in and these lists are used to check claims.
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I would like a summary of the attendance records for the period 1 April 2008 - 31 March 2009, broken down by Peer and the number of days they appeared on the lists.

In addition, can you please tell the the names of any Peers who claimed for more days than there were ticks against their names.

Yours faithfully,

Nick Leaton

House Of Lords Information Office, House of Lords

Thank you for your email.

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Dear House Of Lords Information Office,

No, it doesn't answer my question.

Either the computerised records of the 'attendance register' if available, or photocopies will suffice.

The records of expenses claimed are not the same thing either, just in case you hope to palm me off with those.

Yours sincerely,

Nick Leaton

House Of Lords Information Office, House of Lords

Thank you for your email.

The House of Lords Information Office receives large numbers of e-mails and we aim to reply within 10 working days. If you need the information sooner please telephone the House of Lords Information Office on 020 7219 3107.

The following information may answer many of your enquiries.

House of Lords
If you have access to the internet you may find the answers to most of your queries on the House of Lords pages of the Parliament website: http://www.parliament.uk/lords

House of Lords Press Office
If you are a member of the press and wish to contact the House of Lords Press Office please call 020 7219 8550.

Judicial Questions
For information about appeal cases, please contact the Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Parliament Square
London SW1P 3BD
Tel: 020 7960 1991/1992
Fax: 020 7960 1901
http://www.supremecourt.gov.uk

Appointments to the House of Lords
For queries about appointments to the House of Lords, contact the House of Lords Appointments Commission, which is a separate independent body and NOT part of the House of Lords:
The House of Lords Appointments Commission
35 Great Smith Street
London
SW1P 3BQ
Tel: 020 7276 2005 (020 7276 2315 for an Information Pack)
www.lordsappointments.gov.uk<http://www.lordsappointments.gov.uk>

Please be aware that blind copied emails will not be received.

Thank you.

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FOI LORDS, House of Lords

Dear Mr. Leaton

The response you received was the standard Information Office auto response. I can confirm that work is ongoing on the answer to your request. You should expect to hear from us on 11 July.

Yours sincerely,

Alex Daybank
Information Compliance Manager
House of Lords
[email address]

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FOI LORDS, House of Lords

1 Attachment

Dear Mr. Leaton

I am writing in response to your request for information received by the House of Lords on 13 June.

You have requested a summary of the attendance records ("tick lists") for the financial year 2008/09. It may be helpful if I explain how attendance is recorded. The lists referred to by Lord Lipsey relate only to attendance in the chamber, a Member may also take part in divisions of the House or attend a committee, each of which is recorded separately. The tick list information is therefore not a definitive record of a Member's attendance on a particular day.

Please find attached an excel spreadsheet detailing each Members attendance in the chamber on sitting days in the 2008/09 financial year. It is not possible to run a summary report from the database which shows the total number of days each Member was in the chamber, hence the different format of the attached report. Please note that this does not include Members who did not attend at all in the period

In addition you requested information relating to Members who "claimed for more days than there were ticks against their names." As stated above 'the ticks' referred to by Lord Lipsey are not a definitive record of attendance and consequently they are not the only information used by the Finance department when calculating Members' claims for financial support. A Member attending a committee will not have 'a tick' against their name but can legitimately claim financial support.

The Finance Department use all of the attendance information available when verifying claims, and if following reference to this they are unable to confirm a Member's attendance on a particular day they will raise a query with that Member. A claim containing a queried date is held until the query has been resolved.

Claims are only processed once any date query has been resolved. The attendance database itself is updated to reflect the outcome of any queries and therefore only displays confirmed attendance information. Due to these factors in order to answer your request the Finance Department, in the first instance, would be required to locate any relevant correspondence with a Member. We have identified over 400 pieces of correspondence that might contain relevant information. The correspondence would need to be reviewed to see if it related to a date for which a Member claimed but for which there was no record of attendance. In the cases identified as potentially relevant to your request the individual claim forms submitted by the Members in question would need to be retrieved and then to be manually compared to the individual attendance sheets used to record attendance in the chamber. As a result of the manual process required we estimate that the provision of a response to your request in its current form would exceed the appropriate costs limit set under section 12 of the Freedom of information Act 2000. For the House of Lords this has been set at £600 or 24 hours for one member of staff at a fixed cost of £25 per hour.

As I am sure you will appreciate the resources required to provide this response would be significant, however we will consider any amended request you may wish to submit.

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 [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
[email address]

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Dear Mr Daybank,

Thank you for your reply.

Can you please supply all internal emails on how the 600 pounds was calculated, or if it was a meeting, the meeting minutes.

Yours sincerely,

Nick Leaton

FOI LORDS, House of Lords

1 Attachment

Dear Mr. Leaton

I am writing in response to your request for information received by the House of Lords on 11 July.

Please find attached an email between the Information Compliance Manager and the Head of Finance which relates to the cost limit calculation. We have also included the emails previous to this one within the chain for additional background. We hold no further recorded information relevant your request as the Head of Finance met with colleagues to discuss the time it would take to locate the information needed to respond to your request and discussions of this nature are not minuted. However it may be helpful if I explain the calculations made in reaching the determination that the £600 cost limit would be exceeded.

As stated previously, in order to provide a response to this aspect of your request, the Finance department was required to locate all correspondence with a Member from the period in question which related to attendance. In total 422 letters were identified and it was established that this took one member of staff one working day which equates to 7 and a quarter hours. The subsequent step would require the Finance department to review each of the 422 pieces of correspondence referred to above in order to ascertain whether or not they relate to a date for which a Member claimed but for which there was no record of attendance, an entirely manual process. It has been calculated that this would take approximately 4 minutes for each case, this equates to another 28 hours in addition to the existing 7 and a quarter hours giving a total of over 35 hours. This is before the final stage of checking potentially relevant cases against the claim forms and attendance sheets used to record attendance in the chamber has been carried out. As you will see the resources required to satisfy this part of your original request would therefore far exceed the 24 hour appropriate limit.

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 [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,

Frances Grey
Freedom of Information Officer
House of Lords

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Dear Frances Grey,

<i>From: SMITH, Jonathan P
Sent: 08 July 2011 13:07
To: FOI LORDS
Subject: RE: Freedom of Information request - Attendance Records

Spoke with Richard & Sue about this. In 2008/09 which raised queries with 215 Members but
there were actually 422 queries.

I think we need to go down the cost limit on this - it took Sue a lot of time to establish the
422 figure never mind going to the next step.

I'm in meetings this afternoon but will try and call you.</i>

Please supply all the correspondence relating to this.

The above email is a reply to an email. I would like to see all the emails, not a selected set.

Thanks

Yours sincerely,

Nick Leaton

FOI LORDS, House of Lords

Dear Mr. Leaton,

Thank-you for your e-mail of 30th August with the subject line "Internal review of Freedom of Information request -Attendance Records".

In the light of further correspondence relating to your request "212 Peers" which appears to address the issue raised in your e-mail of 30th August please could you clarify which aspects of the handling of your request you wish to be reviewed.

Yours sincerely,

Frances Grey
Freedom of Information Officer
House of Lords

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