Clerk's expenses

John Cross made this Freedom of Information request to House of Commons

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to request information from the House of Commons under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

(1) Please could you provide me with a detailed breakdown of expenses claimed by the Clerk of the House during 2008.

(2) Please could you provide me with a copy the supporting documents for the five largest items of expenditure claimed by the Clerk of the House during 2008.

Supporting documents could include for example:

- purchase invoices

- rail tickets

- receipts

- supplier statements

(3) Please could you provide a copy of the expenses policies and procedures applicable to expenses claims by the Clerk of the House

I would be grateful if this information could be provided by email. Under the Act I am required to provide an address. The Information Commissioner's Guidance states that providing an email address is sufficient to meet this requirement. The email address I am providing to you is the only address I have made available to you in respect of this request. You must therefore direct all correspondence to this address.

Please send me documents in PDF, Excel format or CSV format.

Yours faithfully,

John Cross

FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

Dear Mr Cross,

Thank you for your email of 21 January 2009 which was received on 22
January 2009.

Your request will be dealt with promptly and you should receive a
response by 19 January 2009.

If you have any queries about your request, please contact me.

Mandy Kelly
Freedom of Information Assistant

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Dear Mandy,
Thanks for your email. I assume you mean '19 February' rather than '19 January'.

thanks,

John Cross

FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

Yes, I do apologise. It should have read 19 February!

Mandy Kelly
Freedom of Information Assistant

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FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Cross

Thank you for your request. The information you asked for is attached.

You may, if dissatisfied with the treatment of your request, ask the
House of Commons to conduct an internal review of this decision.
Requests for internal review should be addressed to: Freedom of
Information Officer, Department of Resources, House of Commons London
SW1 OAA or [House of Commons request email]. Please ensure that you specify the
nature of your complaint and any arguments or points that you wish to
make.

If you remain dissatisfied, you may appeal to the Information
Commissioner at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely

Bob Castle

Bob Castle
Head of Information Rights and Information Security

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Alex Skene left an annotation ()

The .mdi file is a proprietary Microsoft Office raster-image format, only availble with Office 2007 (and not installed by default either!). I've been able to OCR the text in the attachment (apologies for the formatting):

=================================

(1) Please could you proide me with a detailed breakdown of expenses claimed by the Clerk of the House during 2008.
The Clerk of the House did not, claim the reimbursement of any expenses in 2008. Please see table for expenditure which waas met out of House budgets.

------------------------------------------
Category | Description | Date | Travel | Hotel & Subsistence | TOTAL
------------------------------------------
Overseas Travel | Visit to State and National Legislatures (Ottawa and Toronto) | Apr-08 | £4,667.50 | £1,165.95 | £5,833.45
Overseas Travel | Attendance at G8 Speakers’ Conference and visit to National Legislatures (Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore) | Sep-08 | £5,871.00 | £2,537.45 | £8.408.45
Overseas Travel | Attendance at Commonwealth Speakers’ Standing Committee (Maputo) | Dec-08 | £4959.70 | £540.19 £5,499.89
------------------------------------------
UK Travel | Visit to Ashridge Management College | Oct-08 | £16.80 | - | £16.80
------------------------------------------
Official Entertainment | Hospitality for official Commonwealth Parliamentary visitors, Departmental launch events and other official functions | Jan to Dec 08 | - | - | £8,366.09
------------------------------------------
GRAND TOTAL £28,124.68
------------------------------------------

(2) Please could you provide me with a copy the supporting documents for the five largest items of expenditure claimed by the Clerk of the
House during 2008. Supporting documents could include for example: purchase invoices, rail tickets, receipts, supplier statements.

The entitlement under the Act is access to information held by a public authority — this information is provided above. The five largest items of expenditure met out of House budgets were the travel for the three official visits listed in the table above, and the refreshments for two official entertainment events (launch events for Department of Chamber and Committee Services £3891.00 and a reception for delegates to the commonwealth Parliamentary Association Seminar £1680.18).

(3) Please could you provide a copy of the expenses policies and procedures applicable to expenses claims by the Clerk of the House.

Please refer go paragraphs 9-12 to 9-20 of the linked House of Commons Staff Handbook and the attached Resource Framework for details of policies and procedures.

You may, if dissatisfied with the treatment of your request, ask the House of Commons to conduct an internal review of this decision. Requests
for internal review should be addressed to: Freedom of Information Officer, Department of Resources, House of Commons London SW I OAA
or foicommons@parliament.uk Please ensure that you specify the nature of your complaint and any arguments or points that you wish to make.
If you rcmain dissatisfied, you may appeal to th Information Commissioner at Wyclifle House, Water Lane. Wilmslow, Cheshire SKQ 5AF.

Ganesh Sittampalam left an annotation ()

I've always been a bit confused by the distinction between "information" and "documents". Surely if you request a specific document they have to tell you everything it says on the document?

Alex Skene left an annotation ()

According to this decision notice (http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/d... para 18), the IC uses the following as its basis for saying that documents can be requested:

Explanatory Notes to FOI Act (para 6)
"[...] The Act will permit people to apply for access to documents, or copies of documents, as well as to the information itself."
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/en/...

*All* the information requested has to be provided. If they prefer to summarise this, they must use S17 to refuse to provide the full information using an exemption.

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of House of Commons's handling of my FOI request 'Clerk's expenses'.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/cl...

Please be aware that the Explanatory Notes to Freedom of Information Act (para 6) state that:
"[...] The Act will permit people to apply for access to documents, or copies of documents, as well as to the information itself."

Paragraph 18 of the ICO Decision notice FS50076355 states that:

"Defra has advised the Commissioner that public authorities are only required to release information, not documents. Consequently, it believes that to provide a summary is adequate. The Commissioner does not accept this view. The Act provides a right of access to recorded information held by a public authority. This will normally be fulfilled through access to existing documents or electronic
media, though in some cases the information can, or should, be disclosed through other means. The Commissioner’s approach is consistent with paragraph
6 of the Explanatory Notes to the Act which states that the Act provides access to documents, or copies of documents as well as to information."

Yours sincerely,

John Cross

FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

Dear Mr Cross

Thank you for your request dated 6th March 2009 and received 9th March
2009 for an internal review.

Our target for dealing with internal reviews is thirty working days. We
will endeavour to let you know the outcome of the review by 21^st April
2009.

If you have any queries about your request, please contact me.

Mrs Rosalind Bolt

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FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

Dear Mr Cross,

The deadline for completion of your request for an internal review
should have been 22 April 2009 and not 21 April as communicated to you
yesterday.

Apologies for this error.

Mandy Kelly
Freedom of Information Assistant

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Dear FOICOMMONS,

Please could respond to my internal review request. In your email of 10 March 2009 you wrote that:

"The deadline for completion of your request for an internal review should have been 22 April 2009 and not 21 April as communicated to you yesterday."

That deadline has now passed.

Yours sincerely,

John Cross

CASTLE, Bob, House of Commons

Dear Mr Cross
I am sorry that we have not met our internal target for responding to your
request for a review. We will provide a response as soon as possible.
Yours sincerely
Bob Castle

Bob Castle
Head of Information Rights and Information Security
House of Commons

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From: FOICOMMONS
Sent: 09 March 2009 14:37
To: John Cross
Subject: RE: Internal review of Freedom of Information request - F09-011

Dear Mr Cross

Thank you for your request dated 6th March 2009 and received 9th March
2009 for an internal review.

Our target for dealing with internal reviews is thirty working days. We
will endeavour to let you know the outcome of the review by 21^st April
2009.

If you have any queries about your request, please contact me.

Mrs Rosalind Bolt

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Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank you for your email in which you wrote: "I am sorry that we have not met our internal target for responding to your request for a review. We will provide a response as soon as possible."

ICO Good Practice Note 5 states that:

"In view of all the above the Commissioner considers that a reasonable time for completing an internal review is 20 working days from the date of the request for review. There may be a small number of cases which involve exceptional circumstances where it may be reasonable to take longer. In those circumstances, the
public authority should, as a matter of good practice, notify the requester and explain why more time is needed. In our view, in no case should the total time taken exceed 40 working days."

Please can you confirm that I will receive a full response to my request for an internal review within 48 hours. If you cannot confirm that I will have to consider contacting the ICO.

regards,

John

Dear Bob,

If I do not receive a full and final response to my request for an internal review and also to my Freedom of Information Act request on or before Tuesday I will be appealing to the Information Commissioner.

The original refusal to fully comply with my request was based on a misunderstanding of the law on the part of Parliament. You can request copies of documents under FOI.

I think that Parliament's handling of my request has been poor and I think this is part of a wider problem that Parliament as an institution just does not get Freedom of Information.

Yours sincerely,

John Cross

FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cross,

Please find attached the result of the internal review of your FOI
request (F09-011)

<<20090520 AJW signed Internal review response F09-011.pdf>>

Mandy Kelly
Freedom of Information Assistant
Information Rights and Information Security (IRIS) Service - Department
of Resources

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Francis Irving left an annotation ()

Blog post about this request:

http://confirm-or-deny.blogspot.com/2009...

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