Dear Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority,

This is a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act.

I understand that as part of IPSA’s assurance review, it scrutinised examples of materials produced by each of the pooled staffing services, including the European Research Group.

In light of this, I would like to request all materials produced by the European Research group that was scrutinised by IPSA as part of its assurance review.

I would like to receive this information in an electronic format. If you feel that a substantive response to this request is not possible within a reasonable time frame, I would be grateful if you could contact me and provide assistance as to how I can refine the request. If you need any clarification, please contact me. I look forward to receiving a response in 20 working days. Many thanks.

Yours faithfully,

Jenna Corderoy

FOI, Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority

Dear Jenna,

 

Thank you for your email, reference CAS-103847.

 

We received a similar request in October 2017 for ‘all examples of
research done for the European Research Group held by IPSA’. In our
response, [1]which can be viewed here, this information was withheld from
disclosure under [2]section 43 of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
This exemption relates to information which, if disclosed, would be likely
to prejudice the commercial interests of any person.

 

Materials are produced by the ERG for paying subscribers, and the
commercial viability of the organisation relies upon these paid
subscriptions. Disclosure of this material would directly prejudice the
commercial interests of the ERG (as the content can only otherwise be
obtained via a paid subscription), and as such the information is exempt
from disclosure under the terms of the FOIA.

 

However, you can view a copy of our assurance report on pooled staffing
services, which includes our review of the ERG materials, which is
available on our website at the following address:
[3]http://www.theipsa.org.uk/publications/a....

 

Kind regards,

 

Chris Veck

Policy & FOI Adviser

 

Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA)

4th Floor

30 Millbank

London, SW1P 4DU

 

Tel: 020 7811 6400

Email: [4][IPSA request email]

[5]www.theipsa.org.uk

Follow us on Twitter: [6]@ipsauk

 

If you have a Parliamentary account, you can now access all our services
in one place at [7]www.IPSAOnline.org.uk

 

 

 

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Dear Chris,

Many thanks for your email.

I was wondering whether you could possibly explain to me why Section 43(2) of the FOI Act has been applied in my case?

According to the ICO guidelines, Section 43(2) “exempts information whose disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person (an individual, a company, the public authority itself or any other legal entity).”

I think it has been previously stated that the European Research Group is an unincorporated association. I believe unincorporated associations are not legal entities, and so does not fit in with the Section 43(2) categories?

Any help would be gratefully received.

Jenna

FOI, Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority

Dear Jenna,

 

Thank you for your email.

 

As noted in our most recent assurance report, the ERG is governed by a
Board of two current Conservative MPs, one who acts as Chair, and one who
acts as Treasurer. The ERG itself comprises one member of staff, a Senior
Researcher who is solely responsible for conducting and producing all
subscriber material. The organisation charges an annual subscription fee
of £2,000, which is used exclusively to pay the salary of the ERG’s single
member of staff. Disclosure of the material produced by this member of
staff would undermine the need for customers to subscribe and would we
therefore consider that this individual's commercial interests would thus
be prejudiced.

 

I hope this clarifies. Please do let me know if I can be of any further
assistance.

 

Kind regards,

 

Chris Veck

Policy & FOI Adviser

 

Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA)

4th Floor

30 Millbank

London, SW1P 4DU

 

Tel: 020 7811 6400

Email: [1][IPSA request email]

[2]www.theipsa.org.uk

Follow us on Twitter: [3]@ipsauk

 

Year-end is 31 March. The year-end process is vital for ensuring that your
costs are allocated to the correct financial year. You can access guidance
at: [4]www.IPSAOnline.org.uk

 

 

 

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Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

An ICO decision notice upholding this refusal is available at:
https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...

On appeal this decision was overturned:
http://informationrights.decisions.tribu...

A mySociety blog post on this case is at:
https://www.mysociety.org/2019/07/05/wha...

and there is an article at:
https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/dark-mo...

Presumably we can expect to see the requested material released on this thread shortly.

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