Expenditure on the Government Procurement card

The request was partially successful.

Dear Electoral Commission,

I wish to request the following information:

The (a) date of purchase, (b) amount, (c) supplier, and (d) Level 3/Line Item Detail, in respect of each transaction undertaken by the Electoral Commission using the Government Procurement Card in (i) 2008-09, (ii) 2009-10 and (iii) 2010-11.

Where the individual making the transaction was a senior civil servant or senior public official please indicate their name for each relevant transaction, as in much as the information is held.

Disclosure will be in the public interest as it will facilitate scrutiny on the spending of taxpayers' money. Other public bodies have also recently published their GPC data in this regard, and the appropriate use of the GPC card has attracted debate in the media.

I wish to receive the information electronically in Word or Excel format.

If this request exceeds the cost threshold, please contact me to discuss how it can be narrowed to bring it under the threshold.

Yours faithfully,

Mark Holliday

Stephanie Payne, Electoral Commission

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Our ref: FOI 26/11

Dear Mark Holliday,

Thank you for your request under the Freedom of Information Act dated 26 April 2011.

Your request is shown in bold below:

I wish to request the following information:

The (a) date of purchase, (b) amount, (c) supplier, and (d) Level 3/Line Item Detail, in respect of each transaction undertaken by the Electoral Commission using the Government Procurement Card in (i) 2008-09, (ii) 2009-10 and (iii) 2010-11.

Where the individual making the transaction was a senior civil servant or senior public official please indicate their name for each relevant transaction, as in much as the information is held.

Disclosure will be in the public interest as it will facilitate scrutiny on the spending of taxpayers' money. Other public bodies have also recently published their GPC data in this regard, and the appropriate use of the GPC card has attracted debate in the media.

I wish to receive the information electronically in Word or Excel format. If this request exceeds the cost threshold, please contact me to discuss how it can be narrowed to bring it under the threshold.

The Commission aims to respond to requests for information promptly and within the statutory timeframe of twenty working days. You may expect to receive a reply sent from the Commission by 26 May 2011.

We are currently reviewing the work that would be involved in locating and preparing the information you have requested, and will get back to you as soon as possible if we need to discuss with you how to narrow the request to bring it under the cost threshold.

Yours sincerely,
Stephanie

Stephanie Payne
Information Adviser
The Electoral Commission
3 Bunhill Row
London EC1Y 8YZ
Tel: 020 7271 0653
Fax: 020 7271 0505
www.electoralcommission.org.uk<http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/>

Make sure you are registered to vote<http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/>
Follow us on Twitter<http://twitter.com/ElectoralCommUK>

Democracy matters

[cid:image009.png@01CBF3C1.F43039B0] <http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/5_may.aspx>

Stephanie Payne, Electoral Commission

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Our ref: FOI 26/11

Dear Mark Holliday,

I am writing to apologise for the fact that the Electoral Commission has been unable to provide a response to your request within twenty working days of receiving your request.

The delay is because of the volume of material, and because the Commission's Government Procurement Card records for the years in question are stored in several different finance systems, which has caused some technical difficulties in extracting and presenting the information.

The Commission aims to respond to requests for information promptly, and we regret that we haven't been able to do so in this instance. We will send our response to your request as soon as possible, but in the meantime it might be helpful for you to be aware that the Electoral Commission routinely publishes the travel and expenses of Commissioners and senior staff on our website (see links below), so some of the expenditure covered by your request will already have been made publicly available.

Commissioners' expenses (at the bottom of the page. Expenses for quarter 4 of 2010-11 are to be published shortly.):
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/ab...

Expenses for senior staff:
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/ab...<http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/ab...>un/executive-team<http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/ab...>

Please get back to me with any questions.

Yours sincerely,
Stephanie Payne

Stephanie Payne
Information Adviser
The Electoral Commission
3 Bunhill Row
London EC1Y 8YZ
Tel: 020 7271 0653
Fax: 020 7271 0505
www.electoralcommission.org.uk<http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/>

Make sure you are registered to vote<http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/>
Follow us on Twitter<http://twitter.com/ElectoralCommUK>

Democracy matters
_____________________________________________
From: Stephanie Payne
Sent: 28 April 2011 13:47
To: '[FOI #69715 email]'
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Expenditure on the Government Procurement card (FOI 26/11)

Our ref: FOI 26/11

Dear Mark Holliday,

Thank you for your request under the Freedom of Information Act dated 26 April 2011.

Your request is shown in bold below:

I wish to request the following information:

The (a) date of purchase, (b) amount, (c) supplier, and (d) Level 3/Line Item Detail, in respect of each transaction undertaken by the Electoral Commission using the Government Procurement Card in (i) 2008-09, (ii) 2009-10 and (iii) 2010-11.

Where the individual making the transaction was a senior civil servant or senior public official please indicate their name for each relevant transaction, as in much as the information is held.

Disclosure will be in the public interest as it will facilitate scrutiny on the spending of taxpayers' money. Other public bodies have also recently published their GPC data in this regard, and the appropriate use of the GPC card has attracted debate in the media.

I wish to receive the information electronically in Word or Excel format. If this request exceeds the cost threshold, please contact me to discuss how it can be narrowed to bring it under the threshold.

The Commission aims to respond to requests for information promptly and within the statutory timeframe of twenty working days. You may expect to receive a reply sent from the Commission by 26 May 2011.

We are currently reviewing the work that would be involved in locating and preparing the information you have requested, and will get back to you as soon as possible if we need to discuss with you how to narrow the request to bring it under the cost threshold.

Yours sincerely,
Stephanie

Stephanie Payne
Information Adviser
The Electoral Commission
3 Bunhill Row
London EC1Y 8YZ
Tel: 020 7271 0653
Fax: 020 7271 0505
www.electoralcommission.org.uk<http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/>

Make sure you are registered to vote<http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/>
Follow us on Twitter<http://twitter.com/ElectoralCommUK>

Democracy matters

[cid:image009.png@01CBF3C1.F43039B0] <http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/5_may.aspx>

Stephanie Payne, Electoral Commission

3 Attachments

Our ref: FOI 26/11

Dear Mark Holliday,

Thank you for your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 dated 26 April 2011.

The Commission aims to respond to requests for information promptly and we regret that on this occasion we have not done so.

Your request is in bold below followed by our response.

You have requested:

I wish to request the following information:

The (a) date of purchase, (b) amount, (c) supplier, and (d) Level 3/Line Item Detail, in respect of each transaction undertaken by the Electoral Commission using the Government Procurement Card in (i) 2008-09, (ii) 2009-10 and (iii) 2010-11.

Where the individual making the transaction was a senior civil servant or senior public official please indicate their name for each relevant transaction, as in much as the information is held.

Disclosure will be in the public interest as it will facilitate scrutiny on the spending of taxpayers' money. Other public bodies have also recently published their GPC data in this regard, and the appropriate use of the GPC card has attracted debate in the media.

I wish to receive the information electronically in Word or Excel format. If this request exceeds the cost threshold, please contact me to discuss how it can be narrowed to bring it under the threshold.

Our response is as follows:

The Electoral Commission holds information in respect of Government Procurement Card transactions undertaken by the Commission in (i) 2008-09, (ii) 2009-10 and (iii) 2010-11,

The Commission uses the Government Procurement Card to pay a wide range of bills, including for office supplies and equipment, telephone lines, training, and professional subscriptions. It is also used to pay for some travel, accommodation and meals of staff and Commissioners and it might be helpful for you to be aware that the Electoral Commission routinely publishes the travel and expenses of Commissioners and senior staff on our website, see links below:

a) Commissioners' expenses are at the bottom the page. Expenses for quarter 4 of 2010-11 are to be published shortly:
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/ab...

b) Expenses for senior staff:
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/ab...

The information we have available on GPC payments is provided in the form of two worksheets for each financial year. To try and analyse this data further in order to provide the information that you have requested and to the level of detail you have requested would take a considerable amount of time. Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act allows public authorities to refuse to answer requests for information if the cost of complying would exceed the 'appropriate limit' prescribed in the Fees Regulations (SI 2004/3244). The relevant limit for the Commission is £450, which at the standard rate of £25 per hour equates to 18 hours of work. It would take the Commission in excess of 18 hours to analyse this data and try to provide the information that you have requested.

We understand 'Level 3/Line item data' to mean a detailed, line by line description provided by Barclaycard for each transaction, as explained on this Office of Government Commerce website:
http://www.ogc.gov.uk/government_procure...<http://www.ogc.gov.uk/government_procure...>

You will see from the spreadsheets that information provided by Barclaycard to the Commission (worksheet 1 for each financial year) does not show transactions to that level of detail. We can, however, provide the 'description' field from our own internal records (worksheet 2 for each financial year), to be read in conjunction with the information from Barclaycard. If there are particular transactions for which you would like to see more information, please let me know and we can make additional enquiries of Barclaycard to find out whether they could provide Level 3 data on request for a limited number of transactions. To help you interpret worksheet 2 for each financial year (the information generated from Commission internal records) we have provided a key to initials used for senior members of staff, and a legend for the detailed description of the transaction. For the purposes of this request, we have interpreted 'senior public official' as a member of the Commission's Executive Team, or the Commission's Chair.

For the financial year 2009-10, due to technical difficulties, Barclaycard was unable to retrieve information relating to transactions between 9 July 2009 and 2 November 2009, which means that for transactions during that period we cannot at this stage provide the supplier name. If there are particular transactions from that period shown in worksheet 2 (internal records), for which you would like to know the supplier, please let me know and we may be able to identify the supplier from other internal records.

For the financial year 2008-09 a different method of recording GPC transactions was used within the Commission, which means that the amounts shown in worksheet 2 (internal records), show the total spend per cardholder for a monthly period, and not individual transactions. Again, if there are particular figures for which you would like to see further information, please let me know and we may be able to provide additional information on individual transactions.

I trust that this information satisfies your request. If you are not satisfied with this response, please note that the Commission operates a review procedure, details of which can be found on the Commission website at:
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/ab...

Please also note that if you have exhausted all internal Commission review procedures and you are still not satisfied you have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner. Details of this procedure can be found on the ICO website:
http://www.ico.gov.uk

Yours sincerely

Stephanie Payne

Stephanie Payne
Information Adviser
The Electoral Commission
3 Bunhill Row
London EC1Y 8YZ
Tel: 020 7271 0653
Fax: 020 7271 0505
www.electoralcommission.org.uk<http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/>

Make sure you are registered to vote<http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/>
Follow us on Twitter<http://twitter.com/ElectoralCommUK>

Democracy matters

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